Physician who raised concerns about concurrent surgeries at NY hospital wins retaliation lawsuit

A New York Supreme Court judge ruled this week that a neurosurgeon was retaliated against by his former employer for objecting to a policy that allowed another surgeon to oversee two spine surgeries at the same time, according to The Boston Globe.

The judge ruled that University Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., illegally forced James Holsapple, MD, out of his job after he objected to a policy that allowed Ross Moquin, MD, a specialist in complex spine surgery, to oversee two surgeries simultaneously. Dr. Holsapple raised concerns about the policy because although junior surgeons would assist Dr. Moquin when he was overseeing two surgeries at the same time, they were not qualified to perform the procedures, according to the report.

Dr. Holsapple alleged that on one occasion when Dr. Moquin was double-booked he was delayed in one operating room, which meant two unqualified surgeons had to finish the procedure being performed in the other room. Dr. Holsapple alleged the patient subsequently suffered a serious spinal fluid leak.

After Dr. Holsapple complained about the double-booking policy multiple times, the chairman of the neurosurgery department retaliated by stripping Dr. Holsapple of several positions he held at the hospital, including quality assurance officer, residency coordinator and pediatric neurosurgeon, the judge held, according to the report. 

The judge awarded Dr. Holsapple, who is now chief of neurosurgery at Boston Medical Center, $88,277 in lost wages, according to the report.

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