Channel 4 reports on a recent lawsuit filed by a local doctor. Dr. Chide Uche, a Jacksonville physician, is a former employee of St. Vincent’s Medical Center and is suing them for $100 million alleging the hospital is putting its revenues over patient care.
Dr. Uche left St. Vincent’s last year after having his privileges revoked. He opened up a new office in Arlington after leaving the hospital.
While Dr. Uche worked at St. Vincent’s, he claims that the administrators targeted him while all he wanted to do was provide the best care to his patients. He alleges that St. Vincent’s was more focused on getting patients in and out, all while billing insurance. Uche would not discharge patients until he felt the patients were ready and fully healed. Uche said administrators at St. Vincent’s wrongly revoked his privileges as an in-patient physician. He said he was brought before a review committee, where he alleges they trumped up charges for not responding to administrators fast enough and not consulting with physicians in the hospital’s network. Uche claims he was vocal about what he calls a “culture of money over patient care.” Apparently the tension escalated when a patient was misdiagnosed in the emergency room by another physician. Uche said he brought the physician’s mistake to administrators’ attention and was ultimately let go.
Uche’s lawyers have filed a $100 million lawsuit for damages.
St. Vincent’s responds to Uche’s allegations with assertions of their own. The hospital says there were more than 100 complaints per year against Uche. The statement issued this past Tuesday by St. Vincent’s clearly disputes Dr. Uche’s claims. “Between 2008 and 2011 more than 350 complaints were filed against him, including complaints from St. Vincent’s Southside nurses, patients, families and medical staff members. Some of the complaints involved serious patient safety issues. Despite the enormous volume of complaints against Dr. Uche, he was given ample opportunity to correct the issues and defend his position before his peers.”
Uche said he wants the public to know that with the changes in health care, there is a squeeze on hospitals to make money. “They are putting funds first instead of patients,” Uche said.