Dr. David Newell recently blew the whistle on a case involving neurosurgeons who allegedly double-booked patients for surgeries at a Seattle Swedish Health hospital. He was awarded $17.5 million after an arbitrator agreed with his claim that he was wrongfully terminated for reporting the alleged wrongdoing. Swedish Health is preparing to file an appeal.
The case was so significant that the CEO of Providence St. Joseph, which acquired Swedish Health, took out a full-page ad in the Seattle Times to apologize to all employees and patients of the organization.
The company, however, is preparing to fight the court’s decision. Swedish Health claims it fired Dr. Newell because he failed to immediately disclose he had been arrested in a prostitution sting action, which is required by his employment agreement. The organization also protests the amount of lost earnings he earned ($15.5 million), stating the figure was 10 times his annual compensation in 2014, and he would have had to perform more than 3,000 brain aneurysm procedures in a single year to receive that amount.
Dr. Newell’s attorney, however, maintains the evidence shows Swedish Health’s actions were all a part of a pattern of interfering with the established neurosurgeons’ practices, retaliatory behavior and a general disregard for the safety of patients.
Whistleblowers stand to earn a significant amount of money
When whistleblowers can alert the government to significant cases of fraud, they stand to share in the money that is earned in enforcement actions. This can quickly add up to a large sum. Whistleblowers are protected from retaliation under various federal laws, so any employee who is fired, demoted or otherwise retaliated against after reporting internal wrongdoing could file a retaliation claim.
For more information on filing a retaliation claim or reporting wrongdoing, speak with an experienced Dallas lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers.