New York-Presbyterian Hospital accuses doc of removing object from patient's rectum and sharing pics

New York-Presbyterian Hospital accuses doc of removing object from patient's rectum and sharing pics
Deborah Keller was grilled by hospital administrators on her sex life for helping save a man with a 'large foreign object' stuck in his rectum (Columbia University Department of Surgery/YouTube)

A female surgeon working at New York-Presbyterian Hospital was grilled by the administrators on her sex life for helping save a man with a “large foreign object” stuck in his rectum. Deborah Keller, the colorectal surgeon, claimed that she was called in after doctors struggled to help the man. Keller was finally able to extract the unidentified object from the body of the patient. 

However, the 41-year-old surgeon claimed that instead of appreciating her efforts, hospital administrators grilled her calling the object a 'dildo', and questioned her on whether she was having sex with the male surgeon in charge of the patient’s care. The hospital administrators allegedly accused Keller of violating the man’s privacy by circulating an image of the object as well, said Keller  in a Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.


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Keller said that the inquisition by the hospital’s internal hearing committee was “demeaning and embarrassing". “They kept using inappropriate terms for the foreign [object], it was just getting contentious and questions that just didn’t have anything to do with the practice of medicine or patient care or colorectal surgery, making what I do seem like a joke,” said Keller.

Keller claimed in court papers that Mark Kiely, the male doctor who was in charge of the patient’s case, took the patient's permission to take photos and videos of the incident for educational purposes. She added that Kiely called her to help “due to her recognized expertise". 

Keily, who was initially suspended, was later reinstated. Keller claimed in the legal filing that she did not have a sexual relationship with her colleague. Keller did admit that she indeed sent a picture of the unidentified anal object to a surgical resident, but only to convince her that it was too large to be removed without going to the operating room.

Keller claimed that she believed she was targeted in the incident because she had previously filed eight prior complaints of gender discrimination against her boss, New York-Presbyterian Chief of Colorectal Surgery Pokala Ravi Kiran. Keller said that Kiran commented on her body, took away her office, diverted patients to fellow male colleagues, and sabotaged a prestigious National Institutes of Health research grant Keller had won. Kiran allegedly also claimed that Keller was “a problem, emotional, not someone to work with".

Keller alleged that the hospital refused to renew her contract before the issue with the patient, and then allegedly submitted false reports about the episode to the National Practitioner Data Bank. She claimed that the 'black mark' left on her reputation made it nearly impossible for her to get another job as a surgeon. They are literally trying to ruin my career,” said Keller, who now works as a researcher and assistant professor in California. “It’s vicious in a way that we very rarely see,” said Keller’s attorney George Vallas.

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