Physician Sues South Carolina's Aiken Regional Medical Center for Conspiring to Stifle Competition

Margo Hein-Muniz, MD, a board-certified OB/GYN, has filed a civil suit against Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Center and its parent Universal Health Services as well as several affiliated physicians and administrators alleging the groups conspired to stifle her business by attempting to revoke her privileges at the hospital among other actions, according to a report by the Aiken Standard.

Aiken's medical staff executive committee revoked Dr. Hein-Muniz's privileges in Oct. 2008, stating that she lacked clinical competence in the treatment of five cases, according to court documents cited by the report. Dr. Hein-Muniz's appealed the decision, and a panel of three peers restored her privileges but cited significant areas of concern, including a failure to recognize the limits of her clinical skills, according to the report.

In Feb. 2010, Dr. Hein-Muniz's privileges were again revoked following a situation where she delivered, via cesarean section, a stillborn fetus. The hospital claimed she "failed to recognize an emergent situation" and gave inappropriate medication that resulted in a "catastrophic adverse outcome (death)," as cited by the report. Following this event, the hospital reported her to the National Practitioner Data Bank. Dr. Hein-Muniz argues that this was unreasonable and could effectively end her medical career.

Dr. Hein-Muniz claims that the fetus was dead before arrival at the hospital. The suit seeks to restore her privileges and seeks unspecified damages.

Read the Aiken Standard's report on Dr. Margo Hein-Muniz.

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