An Albuquerque Obstetrician/Gynecologist, filed a pro-se lawsuit in Federal District Court in New Mexico claiming that a hospital which permanently suspended his privileges deprived him of his civil rights overcame the hospital’s defense of immunity under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (“HCQIA”). In Chinonyerem Osuagwu v. Gila Regional Medical Center, (No. 1:11 -cv-1 3/27/12), Dr. Osuagwu presented evidence that Gila Regional failed to follow its own bylaws and failed to provide him due process in permanently suspending his privileges without meeting the requirements of HCQIA for immunity. One of the defendants, Dr. Romillard, a non -practicing gynecologist advised the hospital’s peer review committee as to why Dr. O’s privileges should be suspended.
He also was a member of the “fair hearing panel” which eventually heard Dr. O’s case. He also served as the prosecutor bringing the case before the panel and the closest thing to a medical expert on the case. Non of the practicing OB/GYN doctors who reviewed the cases were called and Dr. O had no opportunity to cross examine or confront them. Dr. Romillard also reported Dr. O to the New Mexico Medical Board, which reviewed the cases submitted to it by Dr. Romillard and concluded that while the documentation in the cases might have been improved upon, his care was not careless, bad or unreasonable in the circumstances. What is unusual in this case was the willingness of the judge to take a hard look at a travesty of fair process and a physician to manage the case to effectively present it to the co