MEDICAL MADNESS: Democrat politician and doctor from Maryland left patients on operating table while attempting to simultaneously legislate via a Zoom call
By Ethan Huff // Nov 08, 2021

Maryland state Sen. Terri Hill, a Democrat, has been fined $15,000 and slapped with a reprimand by the Maryland Board of Physicians for participating in two separate virtual legislative meetings, one of which was a voting session, while working in an operating room with patients.


Hill is both a doctor and a politician, and in order to maintain her private career she apparently also tries to do her public servant work at the same time. This was only made possible thanks to the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19), which shifted all of Maryland's legislative committee meetings to videoconferencing.

A board-certified plastic surgeon, Hill is being accused of leaving patients on the operating table while she meanders off to deal with legislative business. Earlier in the month, she signed a consent order that found her guilty of "unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine."

Hill's multitasking endeavors first came to light back in March when the Baltimore Sun ran an exposé on her. While working on a patient, Hill reportedly stepped away mid-surgery to participate in a Zoom call. (RELATED: Remember when the Wisconsin government told employees they had to wear a mask during Zoom calls?)

During the meeting, which lasted about an hour, Hill's feed "showed multiple gowned and masked figures moving about, with sets of operating room lights visible on the screen," the Sun reported at the time.

The feed in question was broadcast live on both YouTube and the General Assembly's website.

"She was positioned under the surgical lights, focused downward, and would occasionally shift, reach for surgical instruments, or adjust the lights," the report explained about Hill, adding that she and her staff "occasionally moved surgical equipment and blood-stained towels so that they were briefly visible on the video feed."

Juggling politics while trying to perform surgery might not be the best idea

In her own defense, Hill later told the media that she was not required to participate in either of the two digital sessions but chose to do so anyway. Hill's district covers the areas of Baltimore and Howard counties.

"Had there been any safety or privacy concerns, then I wouldn't have done it," Hill is quoted as saying, claiming that her participation in the calls did not put any patients at risk.

"I'm a little surprised that this is becoming a big deal because there are no privacy issues. There are no attention-to-duty issues and there's no dereliction-of-duty issues. So, the only issue is people's perception of what could or could not or must or must not have been going on."

The Maryland Board of Physicians, however, disagrees. While Hill claims that both of the affected patients "gave permission" for her to participate in the calls, it was later discovered that both surgeries were considered to be major. There are also claims that the patients in question did not give permission to Hill to step away.

"In its findings of fact published on its website, the board cited records that show Hill performed major abdominal surgery on one of the patients in February – and that the patient's preoperative consent forms do not document consent or notice about Hill participating in a legislative committee during surgery," the Associated Press (AP) reported.

"The patient did not recall being asked about participating in a legislative committee meeting by videoconference, according to the board's report."

Later on, Hill admitted that she may have just informed her patients that she might have to "take a call" during their surgeries, and did not actually get their permission.

"There was a lot going on, getting the patient to the hospital, getting them to the OR," the board's report stated. "I'm sure she was nervous."

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