A Maryland state lawmaker who is also a doctor was reprimanded earlier this month for performing surgery while appearing virtually for legislative meetings.
State Del. Terri Hill (D) was fined $15,000 by the Maryland Board of Physicians in a consent order issued on Oct. 19 for “unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine.”
Hill, who was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014, is also a board-certified plastic surgeon.
The state lawmaker told The Associated Press that she worked her hard to serve her patients and constituents during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I accept the Board’s decision that I could have done better,” Hill told the AP.
The board received a complaint on March 23 alleging that Hill attended committee meetings via video conference while simultaneously performing surgery. The person who complained cited a newspaper article.
According to the consent order, Hill attended two legislative committee meetings via video conference on Feb. 19 and March 12.
Hill attended the February meeting to introduce a bill she was sponsoring. She appeared on the stream in a “surgical gown, facemask, and surgical cap.”
A physician’s assistant said that Hill stepped back from the operating table “for a few minutes,” and then returned to the table. The patient she was operating on said they did not recall Hill asking to participate in the hearing.
Hill also attended a March 12 committee meeting while performing “major abdominal and back surgery,” the consent decree states. She voted on 14 bills being considered by the panel.
The patient consented to Hill attending the meeting just 10 minutes before surgery started, the Board wrote. She was seen on video shifting lights, moving surgical equipment and moving blood-stained towels during the meeting.
Hill acknowledged to the panel that her participation in the committee meetings was not required.
After news reports emerged detailing her conduct, Hill told the Board that she contacted the surgery center’s medical director, who told her that it “was to never happen again.”
“She did not appreciate the ‘sanctity’ of the operating room to the public and now understands ‘the idea of ... don't invite the public into ... the operating room,’” the board wrote.