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Surgeon accused of slapping sleeping patients

Syracuse, N.Y. (AP) -- Federal investigators say a Syracuse surgeon often slapped anesthetized patients on the buttocks and insulted them before surgery.
The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that the doctor slapped patients so hard he sometimes left red marks or hand prints.

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center faces sanctions over the issue, including a possible termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

A complaint filed in January with the state Health Department identifies the doctor as Michael Clarke, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip replacement. The state health department's findings are the basis of the federal report.

Clarke's lawyer told the newspaper his client denies wrongdoing but won't comment on the investigation.

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Washington Times