The three Yale School of Medicine Doctors who sued after being fired for speaking out about dangerous diagnoses win a $5 million-plus verdict:
The doctors, Morton Burrell, Arthur Rosenfield and Robert Smith, filed the lawsuit in 2000. They claim they were retaliated against with salary cuts and removal from positions of authority after they criticized the treatment of patients in the diagnostic radiology department in the School of Medicine. The six-member Superior Court jury concluded the men spoke out as concerned citizens and Yale intentionally subjected them to discipline because of their comments…
“We’re very pleased the jury has vindicated our clients’ right to speak on matters of concern,” said attorney Jacques Parenteau of New London, who represented Burrell and Smith. “It is my hope that Yale President (Richard C.) Levin will re-examine the decisions that were made and restore them to their positions of respect and influence as distinguished faculty in the department of radiology.”…Rosenfield said the decision shows “you can get justice.” “I hope President Levin reads the decision and acts appropriately to restore positions and correct all the problems that exist,” Rosenfield said. Burrell said Yale’s motto is “Lux et Veritas,” or “Light and Truth.” “Our hope is that the principle of free speech will be upheld at Yale,” he said.
…The lawsuit claims one misdiagnosis caused a patient death that could have been prevented. The doctors claim there were several misdiagnoses, such as a missed liver laceration in a trauma patient and a missed rectal carcinoma, because people with less training were doing work in place of experts. It claimed Dr. Bruce McClennan, chairman of the department of diagnostic imaging, directed radiology residents to do all exams ordered by emergency room personnel for emergency room patients, “without regard to clinical indications or medical necessity.” The plaintiffs claimed this was unethical and potentially illegal under Medicare.