Crime

Paducah surgeon arrested after alleged threat to bring assault weapon to hospital

Paducah Sun

A Paducah orthopedic surgeon was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and terroristic threatening Wednesday after he allegedly became unruly while performing surgery at Baptist Health Paducah and made threatening remarks mentioning a firearm.

According to a Paducah police report, Dr. Ted Jefferson was performing surgery Tuesday evening when the hospital’s chief nursing operator reported to administrators that Jefferson was having a “meltdown” and using profane language.

The nurse also stated that Jefferson remarked, “I guess administration will be happy if I come in here with an assault rifle,” according to the report.

Police said Bonnie Schrock, the hospital’s chief operating officer, and Brad Housman, the chief medical officer, confronted Jefferson and tried to defuse the situation, allowing him to “cool down for around 30 minutes.”

The administrators then determined that Jefferson could continue working, and he was allowed to return to the operating room, the report states.

However, Housman told police, Jefferson returned to surgery and immediately berated the surgical staff, demanding to know who had complained about him.

Jefferson was again confronted by administrators, according to the report, and they said he became belligerent, making another reference to an assault rifle and saying something about “not knowing when.”

Jefferson was suspended for 72 hours and was escorted from the building by hospital security. The hospital administration then informed police and requested extra patrols around the hospital.

The hospital informed police that Jefferson has a history of “getting upset” and that administrators were concerned.

On Wednesday, officers said they encountered Jefferson in the hospital parking lot, where the doctor stated that he was returning to his office to write an email to the hospital’s administration.

The officers stated in the report that they heard Jefferson say, “The only way to get anything done is to go home and get a pistol or a rifle.”

Police said Jefferson stated that he was angry and upset that the medical supplies were unsanitary.

Baptist Health officials declined to comment, referring questions to the Paducah Police Department.

According to his website, Jefferson earned his medical degree in Pennsylvania before coming to Paducah. He has been in practice for 15 years and specializes in “the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the bone, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves in adults and children.”

Jefferson is not a Baptist Health employee, police said, but has surgical privileges at the hospital.

Jefferson was arrested Wednesday and taken to McCracken County Jail on a $500 bond. He was released on bond a short time later.

Contact Kat Russell, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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