The former medical director of a Missouri cancer clinic, who is a radiation oncologist, has filed a whistleblower wrongful termination case against the cancer clinic, alleging that she was terminated after bringing her concerns to the attention of her employer in 2011 regarding various alleged violations of medical standards by a cancer doctor (medical oncologist) and another radiation oncologist employed by the clinic that affected patient safety.
The cancer doctor was hired by the cancer clinic in the fall of 2010 and was terminated from the clinic in July 2012, allegedly due to substandard care provided to patients that jeopardized their safety. The whistleblower lawsuit alleges that the cancer doctor and the radiation oncologist engaged in inappropriate concurrent chemo-radiation therapies that resulted in financial gain for the clinic. The lawsuit alleged three instances that the whistleblower considered to be inappropriate treatment:
In one instance, a breast cancer patient treated at the clinic received both radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the same time, provided by the cancer doctor and the radiation oncologist, which resulted in the patient suffering serious side effects that included a severe radiation burn to her chest wall that required an interruption in her cancer treatment for more than two weeks.
In another instance, a patient being treated for lymphoma received both radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the same time from the cancer doctor and the radiation oncologist, when the standard treatment regimen was chemotherapy alone. As a result, the patient allegedly had a less chance of being cured, became susceptible to systemic infection and bleeding, and had difficulty in tolerating chemotherapy due to bone marrow compromise from the unnecessary irradiation to a large volume of pelvic bone marrow.
In the third instance, the cancer doctor and radiation oncologist provided concurrent radiation therapy and chemotherapy to a patient for seven to eight weeks, instead of radiation therapy alone for two to three weeks, which resulted in the patient, who had brain metastasis, staying in the hospital for the final months of life due to a life-threatening event resulting from the concurrent cancer treatments.
The cancer doctor, who has no medical malpractice lawsuits filed against him that could be found in court records, is now practicing in another cancer center. The radiation oncologist is still employed by the defendant clinic.
The wrongful termination lawsuit is scheduled to be tried before a jury in March 2015.
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