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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXI

A surgeon at a South Florida hospital leaves a sponge in a patient. So the anesthesiologist reports what happened. Guess who got fired? The anesthesiologist of course! Now that doctor is suing this hospital which is five minutes from my home. Such wonderful and caring medicine(Oh and let me add the patient was never told!). Don't you just love Florida?

Linked to- Perri Nelson, Right Wing Nation, The World According to Carl,

A North Palm Beach anesthesiologist, who said he was fired after he reported that a sponge had been left inside a patient during surgery, is asking for $30 million in damages from JFK Medical Center and Sheridan Healthcare.

Dr. John Sitarik, 46, who was administering anesthesia during a heart surgery in November 2005, told risk-management officials at the hospital in Atlantis about the incident. The next day, he was told he would no longer be able to give anesthesia for Dr. Malcolm Dorman, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, also names as defendants Dorman, a prominent cardiac surgeon; JFK parent company HCA Inc.; the hospital's chief executive, Gina Melby; and Dr. Gilbert Drozdow, a senior vice president at Sheridan Healthcare, which provides anesthesiologists to various hospitals including JFK.

Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration confirmed Sitarik's allegations about the sponge being left in the patient and issued citations for failing to comply with federal and state regulations. The hospital submitted a corrective plan, which was accepted by the agency. No sanctions were imposed.

During the surgery a radiologist was summoned to determine whether a missing sponge was inside the patient. An X-ray showed the sponge had been left inside the woman's chest cavity, said Sitarik's attorney, Kara Skorupa.

According to the suit, Dorman decided not to remove the sponge because he already had closed up the patient, and he altered the patient's operative notes to show that the sponge had been left inside on purpose. Another operation was successfully performed several days later to remove the sponge, Skorupa said.

"They didn't even tell the patient there was an adverse outcome," Skorupa said.

JFK spokeswoman Nicole Baxter issued a written statement about the allegations in the lawsuit, saying that proper clinical procedures were followed at all times. Dorman has an outstanding clinical record and has been in practice in South Florida for more than 30 years, Baxter said.

"JFK Medical Center did correct an administrative issue identified by AHCA, but to be clear, their findings were about administrative procedures, not clinical issues," the statement said.

Dorman has no disciplinary record with the Florida Department of Health. Officials there said they have found 27 instances of foreign objects left in patients since they began tracking such incidents in August 2003.

The lawsuit also alleges that Dorman maliciously coerced Melby to end Sitarik's employment at JFK Medical Center. Sitarik is seeking punitive as well as actual damages, Skorupa said.

"That's probably the biggest part of the lawsuit," she said. "You have to send a message to hospitals and health care workers that this kind of thing should be applauded, not punished."

In January, about 10 months after the hospital's risk management department ended its investigation and dismissed Sitarik's complaint, Sitarik was barred from returning to work at JFK and fired by Sheridan, according to the lawsuit.

Sitarik is now working on a per diem basis at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He said his options for work are limited, however, because Sheridan is one of the top anesthesiologist providers in the nation.

Senior officials at Sheridan told Sitarik to drop his complaint with the Agency for Health Care Administration or suffer "dire consequences," Sitarik said. They also told him that he should accept a transfer to another facility and that "no employee was worth the hospital contract," he said.

Sheridan officials could not be reached for comment, despite phone calls to their Sunrise office.

JFK officials said their contract with Sheridan allows the hospital to make decisions concerning which staff members are best suited to work at JFK based on a number of factors including quality of care and harmony in the cardiovascular team.

"JFK Medical Center asked Sheridan to assign him elsewhere and it is our understanding that Sheridan has offered him opportunities to practice at other area hospitals in Palm Beach County on the same terms," the statement said.

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