The Zoom-ification of our daily lives—i.e., the blending of the private and the personal, enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that jams every aspect of ourselves into a single fuzzily buffered video window—has created some unquestionably strange moments over the last year or so. That’s rarely truer than in the intersection between streaming video and the court system, as the self-seriousness of the American legal apparatus collides head-on with technology that allows participants to dial in from the beach, the bathroom, or the process of being transformed into a giant talking cat.
Still, though, we’ve rarely seen the “Oh, yeah, I can do both!” energy of Zoom court calls weaponized so thoroughly as in a recent video highlighted by Buzzfeed, in which a California plastic surgeon allegedly logged in to a traffic court hearing whilst…in the middle of surgery. Now, we do not know the inner mind of Dr. Scott Green, medical/legal pioneer, but it’s hard not to assume that he was trying to make some kind of point here about his very busy life—and the traffic infractions such tight scheduling might lead him to potentially commit—when he called into his hearing from the surgical theater, assuring court commissioner Gary Link that he was “available for trial” in the middle of a surgery. But, hey: The human mind is a labyrinth of motivations and secrets, and maybe it really was just an emergency.
Anyway, Link wasn’t having it; despite assertions that there was totally another surgeon on hand to help cut up whoever the hapless patient in this case was, the commissioner declared that “I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient if you’re in the process of operating that I would put on a trial,” and moved to set up a new date. Per Buzzfeed, the Medical Board of California is apparently aware of the incident, and will be looking into whether Green violated any of its bylaws by attempting to merge these two particular chores.