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MDLinxPhysicians Sue LA County for Mishandling Complaints of an Allegedly Abusive Surgeon

Physicians Allege Retaliation for Reporting Misconduct

In a recent development, three female physicians from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center have taken legal action against Los Angeles County, alleging that the hospital management disregarded their complaints about a senior surgeon’s inappropriate behavior.

HCN Medical Memo
As healthcare professionals, we must take these allegations seriously. They highlight the importance of maintaining a safe and respectful work environment. If these allegations are proven true, it could lead to significant changes in how hospitals handle complaints about staff behavior. It’s crucial for us to stay informed about this case as it could influence policies at our own institutions.

Key Points

  • The lawsuit has been filed by Drs. Haleh Badkoobehi, Jennifer Hsu, and Madonna Fernandez-Frackelton against Los Angeles County.
  • They allege that Dr. Louis Kwong, the former head of the orthopedics department, created a hostile work environment and endangered patient safety.
  • The physicians claim that they faced retaliation when they raised concerns about Dr. Kwong’s behavior.
  • Despite numerous complaints over the years, the hospital administrators allegedly did not take any action.

“Surgeons have been under intense pressure and competition from their pre-medical days through getting into a fellowship. This training model does not lend itself to docile personalities.”
— Christopher Hanifin, EdD, PA-C, a physician assistant who formerly practiced in heart surgery

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