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News of the Day ... In Perspective

01/24/2006

Court upholds $1 million award to whistleblowing doctor

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a judgment in favor of Dr. David Springer, who had lost his job at Delaware Psychiatric Center after speaking out on patient-care issues.

“The evidence supports the jury finding that [Renata] Henry [director of the Delaware Division of Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Mental Health] acted at least recklessly or callously, if not intentionally or maliciously, with respect to Dr. Springer’s constitutionally protected rights,” wrote Judge Dolores Sloviter.

Dr. Springer had complained of understaffing, overcrowding, and verbal and physical abuse of patients. “Physicians are essentially being asked to practice medicine at below their own minimum ethical standards on a routine basis,” he wrote. He filed a federal lawsuit in October 2000 when his contract was not renewed (Randall Chase, AP 1/19/06).

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