Som v. Bd. of Tr. of the Natchez Reg’l Med. Ctr. (Summary)


Som v. Bd. of Tr. of the Natchez Reg’l Med. Ctr., No. 2011-CA-00578-COA (Miss. Ct. App. Sept. 4, 2012)

The Court of Appeals of Mississippi upheld a hospital board’s decision to suspend one of its physicians from practicing intra-abdominal surgeries in the hospital.  The board came to this conclusion after numerous written complaints led to a peer review as well as an ad hoc investigation of the physician’s practice.  The physician was granted a hearing in order to appeal his suspension but the suspension was continued.  The physician brought suit against the hospital, claiming that while his attorney could cross-examine witnesses, the fact that he was not personally allowed to cross-examine any witnesses was a violation of the bylaws.

The appellate court held that the issue of cross-examining witnesses was without merit.  The court stated that, since the physician was represented by counsel, it was logical for his counsel, and only his counsel, to have the right to cross-examine witnesses.  The counsel’s cross-examination of witnesses satisfied the hospital bylaws.

The court stated that the hearing process fulfilled all of the requirements dictated by HCQIA. The appellate court held that the physician was given written notice of the charges, a timely and fair hearing, the right to produce evidence at the hearing, the right to counsel and an appellate process.  By providing all of these provisions, the hospital did not violate its bylaws or HCQIA.

The appellate court also noted that a number of the physician’s other claims were in regard to the fairness of the evidence considered during the hearings.  The court did not examine these claims, stating that the scope of its review does not allow it to determine the weight of the evidence that supported the decision to suspend.