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3 N.J.A.R. 28

State Bd. of Medical Examiners v. Connolly & Guerrero
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Citation: 3 N.J.A.R. 28
Decision Date: 1980
Agency: State Board of Medical Examiners
Synopsis: Based on N.J.S.A. 45:9-16, charges of gross malpractice and/or gross neglect in the practice of medicine were filed against both Drs. Connolly and Guerrero for their treatment of a three year old girl which allegedly contributed to her death. Dr. Connolly was charged with a failure to properly diagnose the patient's condition, a failure to perform an emergency tracheostomy and a failure to take all steps to assure prompt emergency care. Dr. Guerrero was charged with a failure to properly perform an emergency tracheostomy. The administrative law judge found that Dr. Connolly deviated from acceptable medical practice by her failure to immediately diagnose and treat the patient's symptoms; by her failure to immediately ask for and review neck x-rays and her failure to read the entire emergency room chart; by leaving the hospital at a time her patient was in distress; by her failure to properly direct the nurses as to what steps to take; by her failure to attempt a tracheostomy when her patient went into final respiratory arrest and by allowing an unconscionable delay in time between her patient's admission to the hospital when the correct diagnosis should have been made and the making of that diagnosis by which time the child's condition was critical. The judge found that Dr. Guerrero deviated from acceptable medical practice by his failure to perform an immediate bedside tracheostomy rather than waiting for operating room personnel and the room itself and by leaving his patient before ensuring that she was in the hands of a person capable of performing the procedure necessary to establish an emergency airway. Accordingly, the administrative law judge concluded that this conduct constituted gross malpractice within the terms of In re Kerlin, 151 N.J. Super. 179 (App. Div. 1977) and ordered Dr. Connolly's license suspended for 30 months, the first 12 of which were to be an active suspension and the remainder a period of probation and Dr. Guerrero's license suspended for two years, the first six months an active suspension and the remainder probation. Office of Administrative Law 29 for two years, the first six months an active suspension and the remainder probation. Marc Arnold, Deputy Attorney General, for Petitioner (John J. Degnan, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney) Robert P. McDonough, Esq., for Respondent, Genevieve W. Cormoily, M.D. (McDonough, Murray & Korn, Attorneys) Paul X. McMenaman, Esq., for Respondent, Floro G. Guerrero, M.D. (McMenaman, Grasso & Orlovsky, Attorneys)