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Judge Tosses Radiologist’s ‘Bogus’ Lawsuit

April 7, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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A  judge has dismissed a radiologist’s wrongful-termination lawsuit against Northern Inyo Hospital in Bishop, California. The hospital administrator had called it “the most bogus complaint” he had ever seen in his 35-year career.

John Nesson, MD, sued in January 2010. At that time, his attorneys issued a press release that said:

Dr. John Nesson believes his contract to provide radiology services was terminated because he complained about improper safety and privacy practices and other problems at the hospital.

The release said Dr. Nesson’s hospital privileges were suspended and his contract was terminated in early 2009 after he made a number of “complaints, reports and grievances to the District and its medical staff about the care, services and conditions at the District’s Radiology Department facilities.”

Specifically, Dr. Nesson said the hospital district failed to observe proper patient privacy practices, had inaccurate transcription procedures, failed to efficiently credential radiologists working on a temporary basis, and needed to upgrade outdated and inefficient equipment. He made the latter claim despite the fact that the hospital had built and equipped a new radiology building during his tenure.

Northern Inyo is a 25-bed, critical-access, not-for profit hospital in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of eastern California. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Hospital Administrator John Halfen made his “most bogus” remark, according to the Sierra Wave news Web site.

Inyo County Superior Court Judge Dean Stout apparently agreed with Halfen. He dismissed all of Dr. Nesson’s claims, ruling that they arose from the radiologist’s alleged conduct during medical peer review meetings during which his hospital privileges were suspended. The judge agreed with the hospital that the purpose of Dr. Nesson’s lawsuit was to “chill the hospital’s exercise of First Amendment rights.”

The judge also ruled that Dr. Nesson had not exhausted all administrative remedies he could have pursued before filing the lawsuit.

Related seminar: The Business of Radiology

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