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Sterling Employment Law

Whistleblower let go from hospital

A nurse anesthetist, who was allegedly on contract with Sparrow Carson Hospital, complained to the State of Michigan in October about an orthopedic surgeon on staff by the hospital. On Nov. 2, an investigation was opened due to his complaint. Shortly after, the anesthetist was let go from his work at the hospital.

The State had received four other complaints about the orthopedist in the past four year according to records obtained by the State Journal. The complaints against the orthopedist were for high infection rates among his patients.

The anesthetist filed a whistleblower lawsuit in February against the hospital. The lawsuit claims that 18 infections related to the orthopedist's procedures had occurred between May 8, 2017 and Sept. 6, 2017. He stated that he had met with the hospital's chief executive officer back in May and relayed his concerns, but they were ignored. The State is investigating both the hospital and the orthopedist.

Interesting as well, less than a week after the anesthetist filed his lawsuit, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a warning letter to the hospital that their partnership with them may be terminated "due to infection control issues."

The anesthetist believed that the hospital, for whatever reason, "knowingly and willfully" concealed the surgeon's "dangerous surgical activity." He also claimed that the doctor's behavior had become bizarre in recent months, doing things such as leaving surgical sponges intentionally inside a wound before closing it.

The anesthetist had been working with the hospital for nine years. Coming forward was an act of bravery. He believes his employment contract was ended due to retaliation. His lawsuit is requesting $25,000 in damages plus attorney fees and costs.

Whistleblowers are protected by law in Michigan. If you know of any immoral activity in your workplace, you should seek an attorney who can explain your rights. You may be saving lives.

Source: Lansing State Journal, "Man who reported infection issues at Sparrow Carson Hospital files whistleblower suit," Beth LeBlanc, Feb. 15, 2018

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