A former state medical board administrator alleges that making a whistleblower grievance in opposition to her earlier hospital employer prompted her to be fired from the state company, in line with a civil rights lawsuit filed June 2 in Maine’s superior courtroom.
The state, its medical board, and the board’s govt director are named as defendants.
Brenda Gowesky, MD, and her attorneys declare she was unlawfully terminated as medical director of the Maine Board of Licensure in Drugs after being given simply 4 workdays to deal with job efficiency considerations.
The whistleblower studies that Gowesky’s made to directors involved unsafe emergency division layouts, together with “remotely positioned and poorly monitored examination rooms” for psychiatric sufferers that led to at the least one “avoidable” suicide. Gowesky says her complaints weren’t addressed.
The Maine legal professional normal’s workplace, which represents state businesses in litigation issues, didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Courtroom data point out Gowesky had beforehand acquired optimistic suggestions from medical board management, however the suggestions abruptly turned destructive after her earlier employer, Northern Gentle Jap Maine Medical Middle (NL EMMC) and its mother or father firm, Northern Gentle Well being (NLH), mentioned they didn’t need her to be concerned in any of the board’s investigations as a result of she had filed a whistleblower declare in opposition to the healthcare system.
Gowesky served because the chief, lead doctor, and medical director at NL EMMC for a couple of decade earlier than being fired in Might 2017, her legal professional, David G. Webbert, Esq, instructed Medscape Medical Information.
After making the studies, Gowesky skilled office harassment and hostility earlier than being terminated, in line with a subsequent whistleblower retaliation grievance filed with the Maine Human Rights Fee.
Federal legislation provides protections for whistleblowers. It’s unlawful for employers to retaliate by firing, demoting, or making a hostile work atmosphere. Gowesky additionally filed a intercourse and age discrimination grievance with the Equal Employment Alternative Fee.
The matter with NL EMMC is awaiting mediation.
The NLH’s legal professional requested that the board recuse Gowesky from involvement in critiques of any Northern Gentle practitioners, stating they’d “misplaced confidence in Gowesky’s capability to be truthful, goal, and unbiased,” owing to the excellent whistleblower grievance, the lawsuit mentioned.
Regardless of leaders’ reassurance that her job was not in jeopardy, Gowesky alleges that the medical board director, Dennis Smith, grew to become extremely essential of her work, commenting on minor errors and giving a destructive efficiency analysis that contributed to her firing a month later.
In March 2020, Smith fired Gowesky for “not being a crew participant,” in line with the lawsuit. He instructed human sources beforehand that the whistleblower case was consuming “a variety of her consideration and emotional vitality.”
A couple of yr earlier than accepting the medical director position, Gowesky had utilized for a vacant doctor place on the medical board. She alleges that after Smith realized of her authorized claims in opposition to her former employer, he prompt she apply for the medical director place as an alternative, because it didn’t require her to take an oath of workplace. Smith is being sued in a private, not skilled, capability.
Gowesky seeks compensatory and punitive damages, cost of misplaced wages and advantages, and a jury trial. The case was just lately transferred to the federal trial courtroom in Maine, mentioned Webbert.
Steph Weber is a Midwest-based freelance journalist specializing in healthcare and legislation.
For extra information, comply with Medscape on Fb, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.