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McAllen doc alleges Houston hospital filed erroneous report

HOUSTON - The Memorial Hermann Hospital System is apparently the target of a McAllen physician's federal lawsuit alleging corporate malfeasance, retaliation and defamation, recent court records show.

In a 20-page original petition filed Oct. 4 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, Dr. Walter Zawislak alleges Memorial Hermann placed him on a National Practitioners Data Bank adverse action report in response to his attempts to address violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act at Houston's Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital.

The emergency medicine physician explains that there were instances when certain patients at Memorial Hermann's southeast Houston facilities required the services of a physician whom the hospital system named to its on-call list, however, "the on-call physician failed or refused to appear within a reasonable period of time" after he notified them, stating the respondent "did not take action."

Zawislak, who has been in practice for more than 30 years, further claims Memorial Hermann wrongfully pinned the alleged wrongdoing on him when it published a written statement pertaining to "adverse action against [his] clinical privileges for substandard or inadequate care" on the NPDB rolls and insists he did not know he was the subject of an investigation until shortly after his resignation.

He adds Memorial Hermann neglected to give review committees and investigative bodies looking into its allegations against him "complete medical records which were exculpatory and they should have known were exculpatory."

The Department of Health and Human Services received correspondence detailing "abuse of process, a cover up of EMTALA violations and whistleblower retaliation for filing EMTALA-protected reports" from the plaintiff with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ordering Memorial Hermann to turn over its records for a comprehensive review.

According to the suit, the respondent provided "extensively blacked out" records from which the issues Sebelius determined "were outside the legal scope of her review" thus could not comment "on whether [Memorial Hermann] followed due process or substitute her judgment for theirs."

Zawislak states the subject ordeal over which he sues made it difficult for him to retain or obtain employment as well as jeopardized medically-related business agreements under his name.

Consequently, he seeks unspecified monetary damages, a jury trial and an injunction removing his name from the adverse outcome report.

The plaintiff is serving as his own counsel.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2970

Source: Sputheast Texas' Legal Journal-Oct. 22, 2012 at

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