Surgeons sue Nebraska children's hospital for retaliation after reporting care concerns  

Two surgeons filed a lawsuit Jan. 4 against Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., claiming they were wrongly suspended after reporting concerns about the competency of a colleague, WOWT News, an NBC affiliate, first reported. 

The lawsuit was filed by Mark Puccioni, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon, and Jason Miller, MD, a plastic surgeon, who both had practicing privileges at Children's Hospital & Medical Center. 

According to the lawsuit, Dr. Puccioni was encouraged by the hospital CEO to hire pediatric neurosurgeon Adam Conley, MD. After hiring Dr. Conley in 2017, Dr. Puccioni reported concerns about Dr. Conley's ability as a surgeon. The lawsuit alleges Dr. Conley subsequently spread rumors that Dr. Puccioni was abusing drugs. Dr. Puccioni had to undergo drug testing and a psychological evaluation.

After one of Dr. Conley's patients died during surgery last fall, Drs. Puccioni and Miller again reported their concerns to hospital administration. The lawsuit alleges Drs. Puccioni and Miller were suspended days after reporting their concerns. It also alleges hospital President and CEO Richard Azizkhan, MD, and Dr. Conley intentionally tried to destroy their reputations and practices. 

The hospital stood by its CEO and Dr. Conley. In a statement to WOWT, it said: "Children's Hospital & Medical Center does not comment on pending litigation other than to say we strongly disagree with these allegations. We stand behind our executive leadership, medical team and our processes, and are confident that these claims against our hospital, Dr. Azizkhan and Dr. Conley will be proven to be without merit."

Shortly before filing the lawsuit, 10 surgeons resigned from Children's, including Dr. Miller, according to WOWT.

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