When I clicked my way to Syracuse.com this morning to check out the Syracuse Post Standard news, I was both surprised, and not surprised, to read that Dr. Holsapple, a former Upstate University Hospital neurosurgeon, had sued the Hospital for retaliating against him after he voiced concerns about dangerous medical practices there. I’ll tell you why I was both surprised, and not, but first let me summarize the allegations.
In the lawsuit, Holsapple claims that, at Upstate University Hospital, safety took a second seat to profit concerns, and that the Hospital regularly covered up their mistakes and bad medical practices by doctoring the medical records. For example, the suit contends that a neurosurgeon was allowed to oversee spine surgeries in two different operating rooms at the same time, which Holsapple says was way too dangerous. Statistics seem to support the Doctor’s allegations; at the time, five times more patients were dying from spine surgery at Upstate compared to the national average.
Holsapple also alleges that when he complained about the dangerous, unethical practices, the Hospital responded by demoting him and cutting his pay. For these reasons, he claims, he resigned from Upstate in early 2009, and that’s why he is suing, too.
Now here’s why I am not surprised: Everything Holsapple says rings true. Not just for Syracuse’s Upstate Hospital, but for hospitals across the nation. In our experience as Syracuse New York medical malpractice attorneys who have successfully sued several New York State hospitals, including Upstate Hospital, for millions of dollars, hospitals regularly shortchange safety, make bone-headed errors as a result, and then, rather than accept responsibility for their negligent practices, they pass the blame to medical malpractice lawyers and their clients for their problems. They try to paint us as “greedy”, and our claims as “frivolous”, and blame us for causing their medical malpractice insurance premiums to skyrocket. What they do NOT generally do is say, “gee, sorry about that, we’ll make every effort to improve so this won’t happen again”. As the old Saturday Night Live skit put it, “they think denial is a river in Africa”.
Now here’s why I am surprised by Dr. Holsapple’s suit. I am surprised that Dr. Holsapple would blow the whistle on his former employer, the Hospital. In our experience as Syracuse New York medical malpractice attorneys, there appears to be an unwritten oath that doctors swear to when they graduate from medical school, which goes something like this: “I hearby swear that I will do no harm, except that I shall never report the medical errors of my brothers-in-medicine no matter how much harm my silence causes, and no matter how egregious, how wrong, and how bone-headed, or careless, their errors are, so help me God”. Dr. Holsapple appears to have broken this unwritten code of conduct.
And for that, I say, “thank you Dr. Holsapple”!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.