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Hospital suspended Dr. & cut privileges without a hearing.

ORDINARILY, HOSPITALS CAN SUSPEND OR REVOKE PRIVILEGES AFTER NOTICE AND A HEARING One exception, is where allowing a doctor to practice might present an immediate clear and present danger to patients. Thus, there would be grounds for summary suspension pending a hearing.

DR. ATHI NARAYAN, A BOARD CERTIFIED NEONATOLOGIST, HAD STAFF PRIVLIGES AT MOUNT CLEMENS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER On September 5, 2007, the hospital suspended Dr. Narayan's privileges for 14 days, on grounds he violated hospital policy. Dr. Narayan requested a hearing. The hospital denied the request. By letter dated September 17, 2007, Dr. Narayan was notified that his privileges would be reinstated effective September 20, 2007, and that his "privileges as a specialist will be exercised via the consultation policy as outlined in the memorandum of 9/9/07 regarding Pediatricts/Neonatology Physician Coverage." Dr. Narayan construed this as notice that he was not being returned to full-staff privileges; rather, he was being reinstated with improperly limited consultation-only privileges. On April 4, 2008, the doctor filed a complaint against the hospital alleging breach of contract, tortious breach of contract, violation of public policy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with advantageous business relationship or expectancy, and defamation. On February 2, 2009, the trial court denied the hospital's motion for summary disposition with regard to all counts in the doctor's complaint. During that hearing, the trial court noted that the hospital had the right to temporarily suspend Dr. Narayan for not following hospital policy, but that the doctor had the right to have a fair hearing. The trial court noted that the only issue before it was what damages, if any, resulted from the doctor not having the requested hearing. With regard to the issue of damages, the doctor's attorney indicated that the doctor had been working with full privileges before the suspension but, after the suspension, he "was returned on a consultation-only arrangement and was denied the opportunity to provide the same services he had been providing prior" to the suspension. The trial court entered an order which stated that the hospital had the right to temporarily suspend the doctor, but did not have the right to deny his request for a hearing. The order also required the parties to submit "briefs on the measure of damages for the suspension and lack of hearing. A trial-limited to the issue of damages-was scheduled. The hospital appealed.

THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MICHIGAN AFFIRMED THE ORDER OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT DR NARAYAN WAS ENTITLED TO A HEARING The court agreed with the doctor's contention that he was entitled to a fair hearing both as to the suspension and also as to the conditions imposed on his privileges, once the period of the initial suspension had passed. The court ordered that the case be remanded back to the trial court, and that each side present a brief for the court to ensure that the doctor received a fair hearing before any restrictions were placed on his privileges, once a determination as to whether the original suspension was the subject of a fair hearing.

A DISSENTING OPINION WAS FILED. The dissenting judge opined that while he acknowledged, at the outset, that the reasons that precluded his ability, in good conscience, from concurring with the majority opinion were not raised or argued by the parties in the appeal, but in the interest of justice, and his belief that they were worthy of the court's consideration, he felt compelled to dissent. With all due respect to the dissenting judge his opinion ignores the fact that the doctor was entitled to a fair hearing before any action was taken to suspend, revoke or otherwise put any conditions on him upon his return from his suspension. Had the hospital followed the rules that are in effect in virtually every hospital in the nation no action whatsoever should have been taken prior to notice and an opportunity to be heard (all basic and fundamental rights) were afforded to the doctor in this case. The only exception being a case in which a doctor presents an immediate threat of causing serious personal injury or death to patient, in which case summary suspension would be permitted, prior to a hearing. We must keep in mind that Dr. Narayan was not given an appropriate notice and a hearing, either prior to nor subsequent to the suspension. Further upon his return his privileges were subjected to certain conditions. One of the most fundamental rights we have is the right to a notice of any allegations against us and the right to be heard to defend ourselves as to those allegations. Despite his request for a hearing, Dr. Narayan was ignored and the hospital set its own time when he could return from his suspension, albeit with certain conditions imposed on his privileges, without the benefit of a hearing to which he was entitled. This is not the way to run an airline Narayan v. Mount Clemens Regional Medical Ctr., 296319 (6/16/2011)-MI

A. David Tammelleo JD Editor & Publisher
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Author:Tammelleo, A. David
Publication:Hospital Law's Regan Report
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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