In the case of Michael T. Vandall, M.D., Plaintiff and Appellant v. Trinity Hospitals, a corporation, and Margaret C. Nordell, M.D., the issue is about retaliatory discharge. It deals with problems with Trinity Hospital in North Dakota, Dr. Margaret Nordell and Dr. Michael Vandall, both physicians working in the OB-GYN department.
Dr. Vandall was hired in 1996 by Trinity Hospital under the Physician Services Agreement. The Physicians Services Act, or PSA is a contract that establishes terms of engagement, such as responsibilities, scheduling, salary and insurance. PSAs are a form of alignment between hospitals and physicians that falls just short of full employment. Hospital contracts ...view middle of the document...
In October of 2001, the hospital informed the doctor that his PSA contract would not be renewed and his employment there would end.
In January 2003, Dr. Vandall sued the hospital and Dr. Nordell, stating that while he worked there, the hospital took a series of retaliatory actions against him, because he had reported Dr. Nordell's unethical medical practices. He said their actions "constituted intentional infliction of emotional distress." The trial court dismissed the claims and awarded the attorney's fees to the hospital.
Dr. Vandall's complaint and arguments were based on a common law claim for retaliatory discharge, not a statutory claim. The case discusses in great detail common law which comes from judicial decisions that have evolved from court cases, statutory law which emanates from legislative bodies, and retaliation, when a worker sues their employer for a wrongdoing. Through much legal talk, the awarding of the attorney's fee ended up being reversed.
Although I'm not very familiar laws and court proceedings, I find it interesting to see the legal system in action. What I took from this briefing was that a person was trying to do the right thing by reporting unethical behavior at his workplace and ended up in a long, complicated, legal battle. There seemed to be a misinterpretation of the the codes and laws, and how and what he was filing a claim for, but in the end it did seem to get corrected in the doctor's favor. Although the wording was difficult to understand at times, it did appear to be very precise. From what I read, the doctor wasn't looking for any kind of compensation or special attention. He was just trying to protect the patients at the hospital. According to the American Medical Association "Physicians have an ethical obligation to report impaired, incompetent, and/or unethical colleagues in accordance with the legal requirements in each state." This is based on the physician's obligation to protect their patients. Initially reports should be handled within the organization, but if that is unsuccessful, it can be brought to a higher authority. This was the case of Dr. Vandall as a Vice Chair at Trinity Hospital.
In my personal life, I have attended the District Attorney's Citizen's Academy. This is a series of weekly...