Dr. Perry is a gynecologist who practices medicine through his professional services corporation in Kennewick, Washington. In the fall of 2006, he was a member of the medical staff at Kadlec Medical Center (KMC) until his staff membership and clinical privileges were terminated. I bet it’s difficult to practice obstetrics and gynecology when the hospital won’t let you through the front door. So Dr. Perry sued the hospital and several staff members including Drs. Rado, Bowers, Rawlins, and Occhino who all participated in Dr. Perry’s peer review that resulted in his termination. Drs. Rawlins and Occhino also are members of an OB/GYN practice that competes with Dr. Perry’s office. I guess that’s one way to eliminate the competition.
Apparently, Dr. Perry had a problem with one of his surgeries and he was suspended. Perry entered into an agreement with KMC that he would not conduct certain types of surgeries without a “monitor” to assist him. He violated that agreement and after a hearing (which resulted in a finding in his favor) and an administrative appeal, his privileges were permanently suspended. Dr. Perry then filed a suit in federal court where all but his state claims were dismissed. So Dr. Perry filed suit in superior court alleging seven claims. Most of the claims were dismissed under CR 12(b)(6) except for one and Dr. Perry voluntarily dismissed that one. The trial court awarded KMC over $380,000 in fees and costs. OUCH!! Dr. Perry appealed the dismissals under CR 12(b)(6).
RCW 7.71.030(1) states: “This section shall provide the exclusive remedy for any action taken by a professional peer review body of health care providers …, that is found to be based on matters not related to the competence or professional conduct of a health care provider.” Further, Section (2) states “[a]ctions shall be limited to appropriate injunctive relief, and damages shall be allowed only for lost earnings directly attributable to the action taken by the professional review body.” The claims that Dr. Perry was pursing were not related to the competence or professional conduct of a health care provider so his only remedy was injunctive relief. Dr. Perry was not seeking injunctive relief; he was seeking damages other than for wage loss. The trial court had permitted Dr. Perry to amend his complaint to seek reinstatement of his medical privileges. This would have been injunctive relief. But Dr. Perry did not amend his complaint. Whoops! Affirmed.
And to pour more salt in the wounds, RCW 7.71.030 requires an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs to the “prevailing party.” Guess who the “prevailing party” was? Not Dr. Perry. DOUBLE OUCH!! He must have paid close to a total of $1 million in attorney fees and costs when this was all done. After this experience, he may want to take up proctology.