Court upholds dismissal of doctor's lawsuit against Tulsa hospital
BY AP Wire Service
Saturday, September 08, 2012
9/08/12 at 5:21 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the dismissal of a doctor's lawsuit against a Tulsa hospital that suspended his medical privileges.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the decision in a lawsuit filed by Dr. George Cohlmia, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon.
Cohlmia sued St. John Medical Center after the hospital suspended his medical privileges following a pair of surgeries in June 2003 on patients who had been diagnosed with lung cancer. One patient died a week after the surgery and the other was permanently disfigured, according to the appellate court's decision.
Cohlmia's lawyer, Michael Barkett, declined to comment Friday.
After the surgeries, the hospital's vice president of medical affairs, Dr. Howard Allred, conducted a review to determine whether physician error was involved. He interviewed a pathologist, a thoracic surgeon, the medical oncologist who treated one of the patients after the surgery and a pulmonologist and determined that "there was an inadequate workup" before the patients were operated on, the decision states.
Cohlmia requested a formal hearing to respond to the concerns. Then-U.S. District Judge Thomas R. Brett concluded that the hospital was justified in suspending Dr. Cohlmia's medical and surgical privileges, the decision states.
Brett found that Cohlmia's actions with respect to the patient who died demonstrated "a lack of sound medical judgment" and a "marked deviation from the recognized standard of care."
Regarding the disfigured patient, Brett found that Cohlmia's "failure to employ extensive workup and staging" before the surgery "reflected a gross deviation in medical judgment."
Cohlmia and the Tahlequah City Hospital have formed a joint venture in Tahlequah, where Cohlmia continues to practice, according to the appeals court's ruling.
Original Print Headline: Doctor's lawsuit against Tulsa hospital is affirmed by judges