One of the types of whistleblowers employment lawyers protect are employees who report unsafe patient care and conditions. The California Legislature has passed some special whistleblower laws for medical professionals and medical staff. In California, it is public policy to encourage doctors and other health care workers to report suspected unsafe patient care and conditions. Ultimately, the California Legislature wants to protect patients.
Unfortunately, medical professionals and medical staff witness poor patient treatment in the workplace all the time. That is why CA Health & Safety Code 1278.5 was enacted. Basically, Health & Safety Code 1278.5 provides that no employer shall discriminate against an employee, member of the medical staff, or other health care worker of the employer for presenting a complaint or report to the employer, or medical staff, or other governmental entity.
Suing On Behalf of Doctors, Surgeons, & Nurses
In Pedowitz, M.D. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., plaintiff was the Chair of UCLA’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. During the first year of employment, plaintiff reported conflicts of interest between UCLA medical professionals and outside medical third parties which plaintiff believed negatively affected patient care and safety. Less than a year into his position as Chair, he was asked to resign. Plaintiff hired an employment lawyer to sue his former employer.
Plaintiff claimed that his removal as Chair was directly due to his reports of various conflicts of interests between doctors and third party medical companies which had the potential to gravely affect patient care and safety. Defendant argued that plaintiff was asked to resign due to his poor leadership skills and his poor communication with colleagues.
The trial lasted two long months. Although there was no jury verdict, there was a $10,000,000 settlement which occurred at trial immediately before closing arguments. The fact that the defendants settled for such a high amount right before closing arguments implies that the case was not boding well for the employer. Defendants must have feared a potential hefty verdict against them in favor of the plaintiff.
Employment Lawyer Against Hospitals and Medical Executives
It never looks good to a jury or any outside observers when an employee is fired for reporting unsafe patient care and conditions, and Pedowitz, M.D. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al. is a testament to that. If you have reported unsafe patient care conditions or care, and believe that your employer has retaliated against you, call an employment attorney immediately.