Former Physician Assistant Awarded $167M From Mercy General, Dignity Health

After an 11-day trial, a former physician's assistant has been awarded more than $167 million from Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., and its parent company, the recently-renamed Dignity Health, for alleged retaliation and wrongful termination, according to a Sacramento Bee report.

Mercy General is a hospital within the San Francisco-based Dignity system, which was still called Catholic Healthcare West at the time of the plaintiff's claims. Both organizations are to pay a combined $125 million in punitive damages for unlawful conduct with another $42.7 million as compensation for Ani Chopourian's lost wages, mental suffering, damage to reputation, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation.

Ms. Chopourian worked as a PA in Mercy General's cardiovascular surgery unit from August 2006 to August 2008. She claims she was subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, which she repeatedly complained about. She also complained about poor patient care by surgeons and a lack of lunch breaks for PAs. Ms. Chopourian claims she was fired for failing to report to work on a day she was on call, but was never notified that she was needed.

The hospital initially denied her unemployment benefits, but an administrative judge ruled in her favor and she received the benefits. Ms. Chopourian claims Mercy General's and CHW's defense attorney made false claims that eventually resulted in the loss of her job at a radiology company following her firing from Mercy General, and she insists she has been unable to get another job.

Mercy has indicated plans for an appeal, according to the report. Hospital President Denny Powell said, "We do not believe that the facts support this verdict or judgment. We stand by the actions we took in ending our relationship with this former employee," according to the report.

More Articles on Hospital Lawsuits:

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New Jersey County Sues Hospital Operator for Withholding Public Documents


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