updated 5/8/2009 2:58:29 PM ET 2009-05-08T18:58:29

A leading brain surgeon is retiring after refusing to take over for an absent colleague as a patient waited under anesthesia in a New York operating room.

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North Shore University Hospital said Friday that 73-year-old Dr. Thomas Milhorat (MIL'-ur-at) is retiring from his clinical practice. He'll continue academic and research activities.

The April 10 surgery was canceled at the last minute when Dr. Paolo Bolognese (boh-loh-NAY'-zee) failed to show up. Both doctors were suspended for two weeks.

They have not commented. Crain's New York says they are among the highest-paid physicians in the New York area.

It isn't clear whether the patient ever had the surgery.

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