Massachusetts health officials have cited "deficiencies" at 182-bed Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Mass., related to a nationally publicized case in which surgeon David Arndt, M.D., left his patient on an operating room table for 35 minutes to cash his paycheck at a local bank. The Department of Public Health, in a report made public by a Boston newspaper, said the hospital violated patient Charles Algeri's rights by failing to inform him for almost a month that Arndt had been suspended and a physician had been assigned to replace him. Arndt continued to visit Algeri's bedside and direct his medical care after the July 10 incident. Algeri learned about the incident only after the state medical board suspended Arndt's license on Aug. 6. He has threatened a medical malpractice lawsuit. Michael O'Connell, spokesman for Mount Auburn, said the hospital conducted its own internal audit and has developed a new policy on transfer of care in cases when a physician is suspended.
The threat of a lawsuit is only one of Arndt's legal problems. Earlier this month, Arndt pleaded innocent in Middlesex Superior Court to child-rape charges in connection with an alleged Sept. 5 assault on a 15-year-old boy he picked up in Cambridge. The charges include four counts of rape of a child, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, drugging of a person for sexual intercourse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. -- by Michael Romano