October 23, 2006
Peer Reviewers: Careful What You Say
A peer review is undertaken by a physician's peers. So who reviews the peers? Answer: A jury.
After Dallas's Presbyterian Hospital suspended a physician's privileges after a negative peer review, he sued, alleging (among other things) breach of contract, and claiming that the physicians who reviewed him were in fact competitors. A jury agreed in 2004, socking the physician who led the review with $142 million in damages and nailing two others who participated with $32 million in damages each. It added another $161 million from the hospital for good measure.
The hospital and the physicians appealed, and a judge has now cut the amount to $22.8 million, with a mere $12.8 million coming from the lead physician.
As your mother told you, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
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