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Dr. Santusht Perera



NRI doctor's license was suspended for two years after Removing Wrong Lung

New York, June 27, 2008
Ashok Dhir

NRI Dr. Santusht Perera’s license was suspended from practising for two years in New Jersey and also fined $81,000 fine for removing a portion of the right lung of Richard Flagg, 60, when he should have been operated on a tumour in the left lung during the September 2000 surgery.

The board said:

  • Perera's actions constituted gross negligence.
  • The "tragic error" could have been prevented if Perera had taken "the most basic and minimal of actions that should be taken in advance of surgery."
  • Perera told the patient, Richard Flagg, the right lung tissue, which was wrongfully removed, contained a life-threatening tumor even though he knew it did not.
  • He altered his records to show he intended to operate on the right lung even though he was actually supposed to remove the tumor in the left lung.

After surgery, Flagg woke up and wondered why the right side of his body hurt though he was told that his left lung was affected by tumour. Flagg talked to his surgeon, Perera who lied that an even larger tumour had been detected in his right lung.

A pathology report found no cancer in any of the lung tissue removed. He has been fined $30,000 in penalties and $51,273.10 in reimbursement of costs

A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said no other complaints were pending against the doctor. Perera can appeal for an early restoration of his medical license after six months.