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Surgeon accused of slapping rear ends of sleeping patients


Dr. Michael T. Clarke is accused of hitting patients so hard there were marks left on their backsides.

He’s also accused of calling the sedated patients dirty names, and talking about “graphic” sex acts with others in the operating room during procedures.

The Syracuse Post-Standard says Clarke isn’t named in a federal report, but other complaints filed at the same time with the New York Health Department match up. Clarke is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip replacement and resurfacing.

It’s possible that action could also be taken against St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse for allegedly ignoring the behavior the doctor is accused of.

Eleven people reported the doctor. One informant reported that the doctor would “almost wind up” before slapping a patient.

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The report refers to Clarke as “Physician #1.”

It states that “'Physician #1" claimed he slapped patients only to check on their spinal anesthesia.

Even so, the report says, “All 11 staff indicated they had never seen another physician use the slap method to check the adequacy of a spinal and that Physician #1 did not slap all hip replacement patients.”

The case may result in legal action. The Onondaga County district attorney's office says it will investigate for any criminal conduct.

Clarke's lawyer said his client denies doing anything wrong but wouldn’t comment further.

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