This is a series describing the ten important pro-immunity peer review cases where court have granted immunity to peer reviewers under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 11112 (“HCQIA”).
No. 6: Brader v. Allegheny General Hospital,167 F. 3d 832 (3d Cir. 1999)
Dr. Brader, a surgeon with a history of disruptive conduct within Allegheny hospital, tried to attack the dismissal of his lawsuit against the hospital on the by attacking the validity data and conclusions set forth in several reports undertaken by outside and inside hospital reviewers concerning his preoperative and intraoperative judgments as a means of establishing bias on the part of the hospital decision makers. The Court again warned that the standard under immunity has nothing to do with getting the facts right or wrong, it simply comes down to whether the defendants were operating in a reasonable belief that they were furthering quality health care and making reasonable efforts to gather the relevant facts.
We are unwilling to conclude that a failure to include absolutely every AAA patient in a quality assurance review, or one mistaken attribution in a host of records, undermines an otherwise thorough report. In addition, the ultimate decisions made. . .were not based exclusively on Diamond's or Ochsner's report, nor were the decisions based exclusively on an evaluation of Brader's surgical skills. Instead, these entities had before them ample evidence that Brader was a disruptive force at AGH and that he exercised poor judgment repeatedly in his surgical, teaching, and personal interactions. Brader has failed to produce sufficient evidence that AGH's various review panels could not reasonably have concluded that suspending Brader's privileges would be in the best interests of AGH's patients. . .