Pervaiz Chaudhry, a well-established heart surgeon, is the defendant in a somewhat bizarre case of medical malpractice that is currently underway in the Fresno County Superior Court. Silvino Perez underwent surgery at the Community Regional Medical Center and was left comatose from a very significant loss of blood. Chaudhry is accused of leaving the operating room prior to Perez being “sewn up” by the physician's assistant.
According to the lawsuit, Chaudhry allegedly left the hospital for a business meeting as the patient lost blood, which deprived the brain of oxygen. This is said to have been a violation of protocol by leaving surgery before the patient is stable and failing to have a backup cardiac surgeon present within the facility. As the post-surgical blood loss continued, Chaudhry was contacted and returned to the hospital, but it was too late.
The defense challenges the allegation that he had vacated the operating room prematurely and says the series of events were an unfortunate and very rare set of circumstances. Chaudhry asserts that the heart valve procedure was properly completed and that he went to speak to the patient's family while the assistant finished up the closure of the chest.
The attorney for the plaintiff believes that Perez was never truly stable after the operation. Others in the surgical team concurred that excessive bleeding began immediately after the procedure, which ultimately resulted in over a 30% loss of his overall blood supply. The scene in the operating room was described as “chaos”. The physician assistant, while on the phone with Chaudhry, unsuccessfully attempted to help Perez by using a heart-lung device. The defense also explained that the massive bleeding event would have occurred whether the surgeon had remained on the property or not.
Chaudhry is known as one of the busiest in his specialty in the region. The plaintiff suggested that the surgeon had been “spread too thin” by his overwhelming caseload--insinuating that he had become careless. They claimed that he had conducted 749 surgeries over a period of 730 days.
In addition, a department manager who alleged that Chaudhry had left the operating room prematurely filed a complaint saying that she was laid-off as a punishment for her statements. This case has since led the defendant to file a claim of slander, libel, and infliction of emotional distress against James Robillard, a cardiac perfusionist.
Chaudhry says that Robillard has repeatedly made false public statements regarding the allegations he faces in the Perez malpractice claim. Chaudhry contends that Robillard was not even present in the operating room at the time he left and that it is an obvious attempt to defame and tarnish his reputation. The suit filed in the Fresno County Superior Court seeks over $25 million in damages and names Robillard and his company Perfusion Associates of California as the defendants. Plaintiff attorneys explained that Robillard made the false allegations as part of an ongoing feud with Chaudhry regarding a valuable company contract with the hospital.