Heart surgeon whistleblower reinstated at California VA hospital

Robert Cameron, MD, was reinstated as chief of thoracic surgery at West Los Angeles VA Medical Center on July 7 following his involuntary retirement in 2018 for disclosing concerns over anesthesia staffing practices. 

Dr. Cameron disclosed two near deaths of patients during the administration of anesthesia in thoracic surgeries in early 2018, prompting the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to separate him from service, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. He involuntarily retired one day prior to his separation date and subsequently filed a prohibited personnel practice complaint with the OSC.

His settlement with the system included permanent reinstatement to his position, more than $100,000 in back pay and an additional $20,000 in damages.

"The VA terminated Dr. Cameron for courageously blowing the whistle about multiple avoidable injuries he had witnessed during thoracic surgeries," said Henry Kerner, special counsel. "OSC's investigation found that Dr. Cameron faced resentment by some of his colleagues for his whistleblowing and was coerced to retire before his termination date. I am very pleased OSC was able to negotiate a settlement with the VA to have Dr. Cameron reinstated to his previous position, with significant financial compensation."

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