New York hospital retaliated against 2 physicians for reporting dangerous care, lawsuits claim

Two physicians have filed lawsuits against Auburn (N.Y.) Community Hospital, alleging the hospital retaliated against them for raising concerns about another physician's dangerous conduct, according to Syracuse.com.

Five things to know:

1. Karen Odrzywolski, MD, filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in Cayuga County Feb. 6, alleging Auburn Community Hospital officials retaliated against her for blowing the whistle on Jeremy Barnett, MD.

2. Dr. Odrzywolski brought her lawsuit after another former Auburn Community Hospital physician sued the hospital in federal court in December. That lawsuit, filed by Gregory Serfer, DO, alleges Dr. Barnett's subpar care led to one patient's death. Dr. Serfer also alleges the hospital retaliated against him for reporting concerns about Dr. Barnett.

3. Dr. Serfer confirmed to The Citizen that Dr. Barnett is the unnamed physician referred to in a CMS inspection report. The inspection found the hospital improperly responded to complaints about a physician.

4. The inspection found "certain deficiencies related to a lack of oversight and formal documentation when addressing personnel issues," hospital CEO Scott Berlucchi said in a statement to The Citizen. However, he said there were no findings that the quality of care at the hospital was compromised. 

5. Regarding the lawsuits, Mr. Berlucchi issued the following statement to The Citizen: "We believe that these assertions are unproven allegations made by former employees and further, that the hospital denies any allegations of quality of care issues or wrongdoing." 

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Editor's Note: This article was updated Feb. 11 to include Mr. Berlucchi's statement. 

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