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News of the Day ... in Perspective

4/4/2004

Psychiatrist wins nearly $1 million in whistleblower suit

David Springer, M.D., who lost his job after speaking out about problems at the state-run Delaware Psychiatric Center, was awarded $973,895 by a federal jury in Wilmington to compensate for lost earnings and injury to his reputation.

Dr. Springer sued Renata Henry, director of the state Division of Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Mental Health, which oversees the psychiatric center, in October, 2000. The suit alleges that documents written by Dr. Springer criticizing patient care were motivating factors in the center’s decision not to rehire him.

The jury also awarded $25,000 in punitive damages, finding that Henry acted “recklessly, intentionally or maliciously.”

Concerns about the center included overcrowding, mistreatment of patients, and patient suicides and escapes. Dr. Springer had called for the General Assembly to convene hearings (AP, Apr. 2, 2004).

Additional information:

AAPS forms committee on sham peer review to investigate targeting of whistleblowing doctors (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 6, 2004)

Sham Peer Review: Napoleonic Law In Medicine - Verner S. Waite, M.D. - from JPandS, Fall 2003

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