Monday, April 15, 2013

Pharmacy Texas Emergency Physician Sues Hospital in EMTALA Whistleblower Claim

Robert A. Bitterman, MD, JD, FACEP

A U.S. District Court in Texas allows a physician's retaliation claim against the hospital that allegedly terminated his privileges for reporting violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

The Case of Dr. Walter Zawislak v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System1

Memorial Hermann Hospital suspended the medical staff privileges of Dr. Zawislak, purportedly for substandard care, and reported the adverse action to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Consequently, his employer, Team Health, terminated his contract to work at Memorial Hermann.

Dr. Zawislak claimed that the hospital rescinded his clinical privileges in retaliation for disclosing and reporting EMTALA violations committed by the hospital. He alleged that two unstable emergency department (ED) patients were transferred from Memorial Hermann to another trauma center because Memorial Hermann's trauma surgeon on-call was either unavailable or unqualified to manage the patients' injuries. He reported the trauma surgeon's conduct to the ED medical director and the hospital's "Root Cause Analysis Committee."

Read more about this case at

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