January 15, 2013 Recent Legal News

Peer Review and Employment




Peer Review and Employment

Rao v Goffner

Dr. Addagada Rao has sued the CEO of Wyckoff Heights Hospital, Ramon Rodriguez and the Board President Gary Gooffner for slander during a Board meeting of the hospital where the physician was told to resign from the Board or be forced out.  They thought, without proof, that he did some financial shenanigans.  The District attorney has since said the investigation of the hospital is closed since there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing.  The slanderous statements got back to the medical staff and his referral dropped almost immediately.  It is interesting that the past hospital attorney has also sued the same two for the same thing against him.  Dr. Rao is also suing Stockholm St. Hospital for removing him as chief of surgery after 24 years.  He is suing under age and national origin since he lost a salary of $360,000 per year by losing that job.  Wyckoff Heights is another hospital that potential candidates should potentially steer clear of when they are looking for a practice.  They sound like a hospital that acts and then looks for evidence.

Woodwinds Hospital v Peterson

In a case that has already damaged the hospital legitimately and should make anyone with a lick of sense never want to go there as a patient nor an employee, the employee is suing the hospital for constructive discharge and later the hospital found out Peterson took home a large stash of records on patient's grievances.  The employee did take the information due to the fear that the hospital would destroy it if she did not take it.  According to the employee, she was ordered to go through grievance files and toss out anything that might show the hospital in a bad light if sued for malpractice or might go against them in an upcoming Joint Commission inspection.  The hospital states that Peterson was told just to get rid of duplicate or irrelevant information in the grievance files.  This tampering with medical records or the files is illegal in Minnesota.  A judge states that she could keep the records until after the trial.  

In re Higby
Texas App. Ct.

In an interesting case an OB was accused of medical malpractice and after the case sued the opposing OB expert for defamation.  The expert deposed the OB and wanted him to answer questions regarding his complaint to the OB Board grievance committee.  The trial court ruled five times in favor of the expert and when the case finally came to the court of appeal the trial court was overturned since a grievance committee is about the same as a peer review committee and those statements are privileged.

Murfin v St. Mary's Good Samaritan
SD Ill 

The physician sued the hospital in state court for an injunction against removing him and reporting him to the Bank.  The hospital had the case removed to federal court.  The fed court stated that there was no private right of action under HCQIA nor against the Bank and dismissed both claims.  However, they did allow a hearing on weather the removal was proper.        Top


Patients v Exeter Hospital

Exeter Hospital is in a tough spot.  Multiple patients have been infected with Hepatitis due to their hiring of a drug addict who used the hospital for his habit and injected patients with the same needle as he used.  Exeter then tried to escape the wrath of the state investigation and lost that battle in court.  Now the hospital has hired an attorney to investigate to see where the "ball was dropped."  The attorney is med mal defense attorney so has a natural bias toward hospitals.  He is not only doing the investigation but he is leading the hospital's defense.  How does anybody believe him with his conflicts of interest?  

Delia v E.M.A.
US Supreme Court

Delia, the North Carolina former head of HHS is suing the plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit for recovery of funds from her win against a hospital and physician.  She is on Medicaid and the state is suing to take 1/3 of her judgment under a North Carolina law.  The child claims this is against federal law that bans liens on Medicaid property.  A judgment is property but the high court has previously ruled that the ban is only against non-economic damages.  Here, the trial did not separate economic versus non-economic damages.  The Supreme Court has heard the case and will enter a verdict later.        Top


US v EMH Regional Medical Ctr.

The hospital paid $3.9 million and North Ohio Heart Center added another $564,000 to settle charges of over utilization of cardiac procedures. Nobody at the hospital nor was any physician ever disciplined for the doing the "unneeded" procedures.

US v Rios

Dr. Juan Rios of Peru, Illinois was sentenced to 37 months in prison plus fines and restitution of over $320,000 for false billing and false receipt of disability payments.  He was also at large for 13 years before his capture and conviction.         Top 


Armey v US
US Supreme Court

Armey and others sued the government stating they did not want Medicare.  The Court of Appeals ruled that if one takes Social Security they must take Medicare.  The Supreme Court refused to hear the case so the appellate ruling stands.

Jewish Organizations v New York City

The court ruled that the circumcision rite in which the circumcisor uses his mouth to draw blood from the infant may require informed consent due to the potential for fatal infections.  The health took precedent over religion.

SEIU v New Hampshire

The state has asked a judge to dismiss a law suit against it by a union.  The state Department of Health mandated that all health care workers must during flu season either be given the flu shot or wear a mask.  The union states there is no medical evidence that flu shots are helpful against patients contacting the flu.          Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.