Syracuse surgeon fined $10K for slapping sleeping patients

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A prominent orthopedic surgeon has been fined $10,000, placed on probation for three years and ordered to get psychiatric therapy after being accused of slapping anesthetized patients on the buttocks and insulting them before surgery.

The Syracuse Post-Standard ( ) reports that 48-year-old Dr. Michael Clarke of Manlius accepted the disciplinary action in a signed agreement with the state Board of Professional Medical Conduct.

In a statement Wednesday, Clarke denied slapping patients' butts or insulting them. He said he slapped patients on their incision site before surgery to check anesthesia levels.

Clarke said the allegations came from a temporary worker with a grudge against him.

Clarke was suspended by St. Joseph's Hospital in February 2014 after the allegations surfaced. Clarke specializes in hip replacements and has been operating at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse since St. Joseph's suspended him.

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