Vanderbilt resident claims he was fired for political activism: 6 notes

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

Eugene Gu, MD, a surgical resident at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center, claimed the institution fired him two and a half years into his five-year residency program, The Hill reports.

Here are six things to know:

1. Dr. Gu, 32, told The Hill the university's decision not to renew his residency contract is "the same as me being fired" and said the dismissal is akin to having not completed residency at all, as residents "don't get credit for partial completion" of a residency program.

2. Dr. Gu, who was placed on leave from the institution for two weeks last November and was on probation until March, claimed the "overarching" reason Vanderbilt officials opted not to renew his contract was because of his public criticism of and litigation against President Donald Trump and his outspokenness on social media.

"[Vanderbilt officials] don't want that out there in the media. It's troublesome to them, and so they punished me for it," Dr. Gu told The Hill.

3. Dr. Gu was one of seven individuals who sued President Trump over his decision to block them from his Twitter account. A federal judge ruled in May the president's move to block certain individuals constituted viewpoint discrimination, which violates the First Amendment, according to the report. Dr. Gu's access to President Trump's account was restored June 7.

4. The 32-year-old physician also garnered criticism on social media for posting a picture of himself on Twitter last September kneeling in medical scrubs to fight discrimination. Dr. Gu said after the tweet, one of his patients' family members refused to let him treat the patient. He also claimed his residency program director told him to take down a second post detailing how a different patient refused to let Dr. Gu treat him on account of his race, according to the report. Dr. Gu eventually deleted the second tweet.

5. However, in an emailed statement to The Hill June 10, a Vanderbilt spokesperson said the decision not to renew Dr. Gu's contract had nothing to do with his social media activism or his lawsuit against President Trump.

"Dr. Gu's public opposition to President Trump, participation in litigation against President Trump and public advocacy against racism were not the bases for decisions relating to his continued participation in VUMC's surgery residency program," the spokesperson said, adding the disciplinary actions against Dr. Gu were related to his professionalism and work performance.

6. Dr. Gu told The Hill he is considering legal action against Vanderbilt and hopes to continue his work at a more "supportive" hospital.

To access the full report, click here.

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