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. 3: Mathews v. Lancaster General Hospital, 87 F.3d 624 (3rd Cir. 1996)
Dr. Mathews was an orthopedic surgeon with privileges at Lancaster General Hospital in Pennsylvania. He was scheduled as the assistant surgeon on a case that turned out poorly, but he was not present at the operation. The surgeon in charge, Dr. Kent punctured the patient’s esophagus with a high speed drill. He repaired the would but there were later unfortunate sequelae. The hospital peer review investigation of tDr. Kent led to a review of Dr. Mathews cases as well as there was an arrangement for the two surgeons to participate in each others surgeries. There followed an exhaustive review of Dr. Mathews cases by his colleagues at the hospital and by an independent outside reviewer, who found substantial deficiencies in many of Dr. Mathews’ cases.