MGH Whistleblower Case
Massachusetts General Hospital
Burns & Levinson negotiated the settlement of a wrongful termination lawsuit against Massachusetts General Hospital in which our client, Dr. Dennis Burke, M.D., alleged that MGH had terminated his clinical privileges and Medical Staff appointment in retaliation for his having raised concerns about the practice of concurrent surgery. Burke opposed this practice of surgeons scheduling elective and non-emergent surgeries to occur simultaneously in different rooms without the patients’ knowledge, as he believed they involved serious patient safety and disclosure issues. While MGH originally maintained that he was fired for allegedly violating patient confidentiality (Burke had released months of redacted records to refute MGH’s claim that he himself had engaged in double-booking), in the end, both parties negotiated and settled the pending litigation.
The settlement was a negotiated resolution of a lawsuit and not an admission of wrongdoing or liability by any defendant. In the settlement, MGH agreed to pay the orthopedic surgeon $13 million, create a hospital quality and safety educational initiative in his name, and appoint him as a member of their Honorary Staff. Dr. Burke’s criticism of concurrent surgeries not only impacted practices at MGH, but also gained both state and national attention through the reporting from Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team.
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