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University of Iowa Radiology Turmoil Continues

March 21, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Interventional Radiology, Practice Management
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Eventually, the University of Iowa may be able to move past the turmoil that has plagued its radiology department for the past few years. But not this week.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that former university radiologist Malik Juweid, MD, fired in August 2012 because of disruptive behavior, asked a judge earlier this month to reinstate him—despite the fact that Dr. Juweid reached an agreement in September 2012 with the Iowa Board of Medicine to no longer practice in Iowa.

And a document made public on Monday after a two-year court fight reveals that John Chaloupka, MD, a neuroradiologist who publicly backed Dr. Juweid in 2011, had earlier been demoted and then was allowed to quietly resign from the school. Dr. Chaloupka now heads the interventional radiology program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. In a deposition a year ago in an unrelated medical malpractice case, he explained his departure from Iowa this way:

Mainly, it was time for me to move on. I was presented with a much better opportunity here and had lived in Iowa City for 13 years and was getting worn down by the winters and wanted to live in a warmer climate.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of that deposition last year and also reported on the details of the settlement agreement between Dr. Chaloupka and the university, which the doctor unsuccessfully tried in the courts to keep secret.

The settlement agreement, signed in June 2010, says that Dr. Chaloupka agreed not to make disparaging remarks about the university, that three other university doctors would not make disparaging remarks about him, and that when he left, both he and university officials would say only that he had left to pursue another opportunity.

It does not explain why anybody involved would want to make, or had made, disparaging remarks about anyone else involved. Clearly, however, the university wanted Dr. Chaloupka to leave as quickly as possible. He was moved from being a tenured full professor in radiology and director of the neurointerventional radiology division to being a professor of anatomy and a research professor in radiology. And he was offered a bonus of $100,000 if he resigned before December 31, 2010. He actually departed in June 2011, so he didn’t get the bonus.

Three weeks before he left, he submitted an affidavit in support of a lawsuit Dr. Juweid had filed against the university, as we reported. (The lawsuit has since been dismissed.) In the affidavit, Dr. Chaloupka said Laurie Fajardo, MD, then chair of radiology, had characterized Dr. Juweid as an “academic terrorist,” had frequently referred to a Pakistani doctor who wore a long beard and dressed in traditional Muslim garments as “Osama bin Laden,” and had said she could pay Asian doctors less than others.

“Dr. Fajardo is also known to be frequently untruthful and deliberately misleading,” the affidavit said. After a devastating outside review of the radiology department later that year, Dr. Fajardo stepped down as chair on January 1, 2012. She remains a radiology professor at Iowa.

We’ve been following the saga of Dr. Juweid for more than two years now, starting with a dispute over pay and progressing to, most recently, alleged telephoned death threats. We don’t expect it to end anytime soon.

Related seminar: Radiology Review

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