A California family is suing a number of medical authorities in the state after it was revealed that a surgeon went to lunch during the middle of an open-heart surgery on their father. The patient, 72-year-old Silvino Perez, has now been left in a vegetative state.
The surgeon who walked out mid-surgery is Dr. Parvaiz Chaudhry. According to ABC News, Chaudhry left the operating room to attend a luncheon before closing up Perez’s chest cavity. Chaudhry left that responsibility to a physician’s assistant who is not qualified to do the procedure.
When the physician’s assistant tried to close Perez’s chest, something went terribly wrong: Perez's heart stopped. The assistant called Chaudhry and told him the terrible news. Chaudhry rushed back from his lunch event, but he was 20 minutes away. By the time he arrived at the operating room, Perez was already in a vegetative state. Doctors confirmed soon after that he’d suffered extensive brain damage.
The family, as you can imagine, was put on an emotional rollercoaster. How could a man they trusted their father’s life with just walk out in the middle of a procedure? And why had Dr. Chaudhry greeted them in the waiting room earlier that day and told them the surgery was a success? An attorney representing the family now says Chaudhry likely told the family about the allegedly successful surgery on his way out the door to the luncheon.
“I can’t put it into words,” Perez’s stepson Cristobal Arteaga said. “What kind of monster is that? That would just walk out? You trust this individual with your life.”
Just hours after being told their father was safely recovering, officials at the hospital told the family their father might not even make it through the day alive.
“It was somewhat of a whirlwind,” Arteaga said. “At one point in time, they told us to round up the whole family, because they didn't think he was going to pull through.”
Although he didn’t pass away, Perez has never regained consciousness. He remains at an acute care facility. The family is now suing Chaudhry, the Fresno Community Regional Medical Center, and the Valley Cardiac Surgeons Medical Group for unspecified damages.
“The fact that he would do this to an individual – one individual – is too much,” Ateaga said.
Chaudhry is still a practicing surgeon at the Fresno Community Regional Medical Center. His only punishment after walking out on Perez was a two week suspension and two months of supervised surgeries.