On December 19, 2002, Dr. Granger was summarily suspended following an adverse outcome in a cardiac surgery case. His privileges were restored on January 10, 2003.
Granger sued the hospital in February 2003. The case went through a nine day trial resulting in a $3.9 million verdict for Granger. The verdict was upheld on appeal but damages were reduced to $2,994,000.
In June 2013, the Louisiana State Supreme Court affirmed the decision that the hospital was not entitled to federal or state peer review immunity and reduced the damage award to $100,000.
The decision is somewhat confusing in its handling of federal peer review immunity but is instructive on a number of points nonetheless. After the twenty-one day suspension was lifted, Granger requested a hearing to challenge the suspension which the hospital refused. Granger’s lawsuit challenged this refusal and ultimately sought damages for it on breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation theories.
Following reinstatement of his privileges in 2003, the hospital continued its investigation of, and peer review actions regarding, Granger until his medical staff appointment and privileges expired. Highlights of this extended period of peer review activity and action included:
- A letter from the medical staff president misstating/overstating a Board resolution approving a six month probationary period with a requirement for self-referred evaluation. (Be precisely accurate in these communications)
- A telephone conversation between Granger and the chief of staff, secretly recorded by Granger, in which the chief of staff agreed that improper motives could have been behind the suspension. (There is no off-the-record)
- Recommendation by the MEC, with subsequent Board approval, that Granger’s privileges terminate if he fails to self-refer for evaluation. (An adverse recommendation with no notice or hearing process afforded Granger.)
Ultimately no further action was taken. Granger did not apply for reappointment and his medical staff membership and privileges expired on July 31, 2003. Based on his failure to reapply, the Court vacated the lost income component of the damage award leaving only $100,000 for general breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation damages.
For more information on this case and peer review generally please contact Greg Montgomery.