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TX hospital retaliates after a doctor complained about poor care

It would seem advantageous for medical professionals to discuss concerns about the quality of care provided to patients. One would hope hospital executives would appreciate updates from physicians about concerns.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Texas hospital officials notified of patient care problem, allegedly threaten physician making notification

A local physician accused a Texas hospital of retaliation after he complained about poor patient care within the facility. The physician voiced concern that peers within the hospital were providing patients with unneeded medical treatments while in intensive care units. The doctor sent the physicians he believed were providing poor care to patients with an email explaining his concerns. Shortly after sending these communications, he was called into a meeting with hospital executives and received a warning for poor behavior.

The meeting was just the beginning. According to a piece in the Houston Chronicle, hospital officials contacted a member of the hospital’s medical executive committee and stated they were working to “develop the evidence” to take punitive action against the physician who was pointing out problems with patient care within the hospital. The physician’s immediate superior recommended he resign to avoid “potentially career-ending discipline” from the hospital.  

Physician accuses hospital of abusing peer review process to punish outspoken doctors

The physician remained in his position within the hospital. Ultimately, the physician states the hospital attempted to use its peer review process to terminate his position as the review process resulted in a finding that he was “in serious violation of patient care standards.” He states the hospital’s finding was seriously flawed. The physician has filed a breach of contract suit against the hospital.

There are often minimal protections to avoid hospitals from abusing the peer review process. As such, physicians that find themselves the subject of a peer review are wise to take action to better ensure fair representation. An attorney experienced in medical peer review and credentialing matters can help.