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UC settles with former surgical director for $10M
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The University of California will pay $10 million to a former surgical chairman who said he was the victim of retaliation after pointing out conflicts of interest at the medical school on the Los Angeles campus.
In 2012 he sued the school, the regents, fellow surgeons and university officials, saying they failed to act on his complaints that doctors were allowed to take payments from device makers and other companies that may have compromised patient care. He said he was later victimized for speaking out.
UCLA denied Pedowitz’s allegations, and officials said they found no wrongdoing by faculty and no evidence that patient care was jeopardized. But the UC system paid him anyway, saying it wanted to avoid the “substantial expense and inconvenience” of further litigation.
As department chairman, Pedowitz testified, he became concerned about colleagues who had financial ties to medical-device makers or other companies that could unduly influence their care of patients or taint important medical research.
One of the orthopedic surgeons that Pedowitz complained about testified at trial about receiving $250,000 in consulting fees in 2008 from device maker Medtronic, the Times reported. In memos to university officials, Pedowitz raised concerns about the financial dealings of other doctors as well.
Pedowitz said he felt vindicated by the outcome Tuesday.
“These are serious issues that patients should be worried about,” Pedowitz said in an interview with the newspaper. “These problems exist in the broader medical system and they are not restricted to UCLA.”
He filed the whistleblower retaliation complaint in March 2011.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com
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