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Iowa Radiologist’s Messy Lawsuit Gets Messier

September 13, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Medical Ethics, Pediatric Radiology, Practice Management
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A radiologist who until recently worked at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City has accused the head of the school’s radiology department of making racist and derogatory remarks about foreign-born physicians in the department.

The claims are made in an affidavit associated with a lawsuit against the university by a radiologist fighting the school’s attempt to discipline and perhaps dismiss him. The lawsuit also contends that, in a different case, university officials paid “a very large settlement”—which the suit described as “hush money”—to a physician who had identified “defective practices in the neurosurgery department.”

All of these charges were made in court documents filed Friday as part of a civil rights lawsuit, originally filed in May, by Malik Juweid, MD, against the university. Dr. Juweid, a 50-year-old Jordanian-born U.S. citizen, contends that he is a victim of discrimination and that the university is retaliating for his accusing the university of unethical behavior.

Dr. Juweid and the university have been feuding for some time, over pay and over his allegations that university-affiliated physicians have, for financial reasons, engaged in excessive scanning of both children and adults.

University officials have said that Dr. Juweid has violated the university’s rules governing workplace behavior by, among other things, sending harassing and unprofessional e-mails to colleagues. In January, it put him on paid administrative leave and banned him from visiting the campus without a police escort. In February, it initiated action that could lead to his dismissal. The Des Moines Register reported that the school had scheduled disciplinary proceedings to begin in October.

Dr. Juweid’s attorney, Rockne Cole, on Friday asked for an injunction to stop those proceedings, contending that the radiologist is being targeted in retaliation for exposing the school’s overuse of scanning and thus is protected by the state’s whistle-blower law.

Cole’s filings included an affidavit from John Chaloupka, MD, a former university professor of radiology and neurosurgery who is now section chief of interventional radiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida.

Dr. Chaloupka accused Laurie Fajardo, MD, head of the University of Iowa radiology department, of calling Dr. Juweid an “academic terrorist,” of repeatedly calling a bearded Pakistani physician “Osama,” and of repeatedly bragging about exploiting Asians in the department.

The affidavit was dated June 8, when Dr. Chaloupka was still a University of Iowa faculty member. It said of Dr. Fajardo:

She has lied to me and other faculty on numerous occasions, which has led to serious intra- and interdepartmental problems as well as overall highly toxic and dysfunctional work environment.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported that the “hush money” accusation was also part of Friday’s filings.

University officials declined to comment on any of this.

Our only comment: it’s hard to see how this could turn out well for any of the parties involved. Except perhaps for the lawyer.

Related seminar: Pediatric Radiology—Clinical and Radiology Perspectives

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2 Responses to “Iowa Radiologist’s Messy Lawsuit Gets Messier”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » New Report Rips Iowa Radiology Department on October 26th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    […] And of course there’s the challenge of dealing with the lawsuit that Dr Juweid has filed against her and other university officials. Dr. Juweid has been on paid leave since January, accused of disruptive behavior. Proceedings that might have led to his firing are on hold while his lawsuit plays out. (We’ve reported on this previously, most recently in September.) […]

  2. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » University of Iowa Radiology Turmoil Continues on March 21st, 2013 at 10:04 am

    […] 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, […]