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Anesthesiologist fined for error

Published 3:34 pm, Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Dr. Brian Connolly, an anesthesiologist at New Milford Hospital, has agreed to pay $5,000 to the state after numbing the wrong knee during a knee replacement surgery at the hospital in July 2011.

The state Medical Examining Board was scheduled to study Dr. Connolly's case.

The board's agenda for the meeting states Dr. Connolly, 61, performed a femoral block on a patient's right knee during knee replacement surgery at the hospital on July 12, 2011.

However, the patient's left knee was the one being replaced.

A femoral block involves injecting an anesthetic drug to the femoral nerve in the leg to kill pain during and after an operation.

William Gerrish, spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, said Nov. 16 the department cannot release any further information about the incident until after both parties sign the consent order.

The agenda said that in agreeing to the consent order, Dr. Connolly admits no wrongdoing.

However, he does waive his right to a hearing on the incident.

Such an order, the board's agenda says, "shall have the same effect as if proven and ordered after a full hearing."

Dr. Connolly also agrees by signing the consent order that it is a public document.

And while it resolves the state administrative investigation into Dr. Connolly's actions, it does not absolve him of any potential civil or criminal liability.

Andrea Rynn, spokeswoman for Western Connecticut Health Network -- which oversees both Danbury and New Milford hospitals and which responded to a request for comment from Dr. Connolly -- said in a email statement, "We deeply regret the unfortunate case when an adverse event occurs."

"When we have such events, we work closely with the patient and their family to quickly determine what happened, and take all appropriate action to meet their needs," she said. "As an organization committed to high quality care, our care team thoroughly and thoughtfully investigates each circumstance."

"Out of respect for these relationships, and our commitment to protect the privacy of our patients, we do not share the details of any patient's personal health issues in a public forum," Ms. Rynn said.

This is the second time this year a doctor at New Milford Hospital has been punished by the state Medical Examining Board.

In April, the board sanctioned New Milford Hospital radiologist Dr. Michael Waldman and placed him on a year's probation after finding Dr. Waldman had accidently punctured the spleen of Thomas D'Amato, of New Milford, during surgery at the hospital in April 2010.

The board found, while Dr. Waldman was aware he had punctured Mr. D'Amato's spleen, he sent him home without telling him or consulting with another doctor.

Mr. D'Amato died three days later. His widow, Diane D'Amato, is suing Dr. Waldman and Radiological Associates of New Milford LLC in a wrongful death action.

bmiller@newstimes.com; 203-731-3345