About Chelyen Davis:
Chelyen Davis is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Medical board reprimands surgeon
A Fredericksburg doctor has been reprimanded by the Virginia Board of Medicine for performing surgery on the wrong spot on a patient’s shoulder.
Dr. Michael Snedden, an orthopedic surgeon, was reprimanded by the board in Richmond on Dec. 9. Snedden waived an informal hearing before a committee of the board. Instead, he signed a consent order and admitted the facts as described by the board.
“Dr. Snedden and the Board of Medicine reached an agreement with regard to the consent order. It was to the satisfaction of both Dr. Snedden and the board,” said Kathleen McCauley, Snedden’s attorney.
According to that order, a patient, described as Patient A, visited Snedden’s office in May 2008, complaining about a lump on the back of her shoulder.
Snedden’s notes described the lump as a lipoma, or benign lesion, 5 centimeters by 2 centimeters, in the deltoid muscle on the back of the right shoulder.
Snedden admitted to the board that when he operated on the patient he could not find the lipoma. He checked an MRI, then removed a lipoma from the front of the shoulder.
The patient had to have a second surgery about two months later, when a general surgeon removed the correct lipoma.
The patient, Lexie Fincher, is a Stafford County resident. Following the surgery, she filed a malpractice lawsuit against Snedden in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. Her suit alleges negligence and battery and asks for $150,000 in damages. Snedden has denied the allegations. The trial is scheduled for June.
On Dec. 16, Central Virginia Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, where Snedden worked, published an advertisement in the Free Lance-Star, saying that Snedden was retiring, effective immediately.
“He will be taking care of his own orthopaedic health,” the notice said.
McCauley, his attorney, said that Snedden’s retirement was not related to the Board of Medicine’s action or the lawsuit.