Cardiologists claim DMC retaliated for citing problems, including needless patient deaths | Michigan Radio
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Cardiologists claim DMC retaliated for citing problems, including needless patient deaths

Mar 26, 2019

A pair of cardiologists who were fired from their leadership positions at the Detroit Medical Center are suing the health system.

In a court filing, Drs. Amir Kaki and Mahir Elder say they were fired for raising concerns about problems affecting patient care, including dirty instruments, unnecessary procedures, and improper billing of Medicare and Medicaid. They claim some patients died because of incompetent staff and efforts to trim costs.

“They’ve given voice to what is clearly going on there,” the doctors’ attorney Deborah Gordon said.

Read more: Two DMC hospitals cited for health and safety violations, could lose federal funds

DMC spokesman Jason Barczy declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, but sent this written statement:

Dr. Amir Kaki (left) and Dr. Mahir Elder (right)
Credit Heart and Vascular Institute

“As we’ve said previously, we asked Drs. Elder and Kaki to step down from their administrative leadership roles in the DMC cardiovascular service line in October 2018 due to violations of our Standards of Conduct. Any suggestion that these leadership transitions were made for reasons other than violations of our Standards of Conduct is false.”

“They have never given us a single reason for the termination,” Gordon said, “They bandy about terms like they violated our standards of conduct. Okay great. Why don’t you tell us what standard of conduct that is?”

Gordon says her client haven’t been able to get copies of their personnel records or the results of an internal investigation that the health system had conducted last summer that they believe led to their termination.

Mahir and Kaki are still allowed to see patients from their private practice in DMC hospitals. But Gordon says they’ve faced ongoing retaliation for raising concerns “because as long as Drs. Kaki and Elder are at the DMC they are observing things that they believe to be illegal and they are letting others know.”

Gordon says DMC owes the two tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. She says they want to be reinstated to their leadership roles at DMC’s Heart Hospital as well.