Health Law

Surgeon Who Kept Bullet from Suspect Gets Probation

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The trauma center chief at Tampa General Hospital in Florida pleaded no contest today to two misdemeanor charges concerning a bullet he removed from a suspect during surgery in April.

Dr. David Ciesla, 42, will get two years of probation and be required to perform 100 hours of community service under the plea deal. Plus, adjudication will be withheld, so he will not have a conviction on his record if he successfully completes his probation, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Ciesla was charged with providing false information to law enforcement during an investigation and obstructing or opposing an officer without violence after he allegedly removed a bullet from a suspect in a homicide case, palmed it and then told law enforcement officers waiting to collect it that he had been unable to remove it.

Ciesla reportedly went to authorities with the bullet a week later, after another doctor who assisted in the surgery told hospital officials about the incident. Court documents show that the assisting physician said both he and Ciesla saw the bullet, but Ciesla then told his colleague they hadn’t seen a bullet, the Times recounts.

Then, as Ciesla was about to leave the operating room, he took the bullet out of the suspect’s abdomen and put it inside his rubber glove, telling the assisting doctor “This is what we do with bullets,” according to the newspaper.

It isn’t clear what Ciesla’s motive was in initially concealing the existence of the bullet from law enforcement officers.

Earlier coverage: “Doc Charged With Obstruction Allegedly Kept Bullet from Suspect’s Surgery”

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