PITTSBURGH -- A Moon Township cardiothoracic surgeon has filed a lawsuit against the West Virginia hospital that employed him for 18 years, claiming it defamed his professional reputation.

Dr. Patrick Rosario filed litigation on Jan. 18 in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania against Weirton Medical Center of Weirton, West Virginia.

“After Dr. Rosario rebuffed Weirton’s overtures to purchase his medical practice and make him a Weirton employee in 2013, Weirton engaged in a sham peer review process and made unlawful use of its peer review responsibilities in order to marginalize Dr. Rosario as an independent and competitive health care provider in its market area,” the suit states.

Rosario further alleges Weirton 1) harassed him through levying excessive proctoring requirements over his practicing with his patients, despite performing 60 cases during that time without incident; 2) suspended him for the first time last May due to a patient’s death (which Rosario alleges was incorrectly attributed to his placement of a dialysis catheter); 3) suspended him for a second time in June without justification, a consequence of which included an evaluation for drug and alcohol abuse (which Rosario alleges was done without cause to harm him and his professional reputation); 4) recommended him for termination and did so without providing him access to documents necessary to defend from this circumstance; and 5) denied him due process and did not provide Rosario with the full scope of the information it was prepared to use against him in its peer review.

For charges of defamation, tortious interference with existing and prospective contractual relationships and tortious interference with contractual relations, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 plus costs, interests, punitive damages and other relief, in addition to a preliminary injunction barring Weirton Medical Center from holding a final peer review until Rosario is granted access to all files and reports related to his performance and other materials.

The plaintiff is represented by Mark C. Hamilton and Michael A. Cassidy of Tucker Arensberg in Pittsburgh.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case 2:17-cv-00085

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com.

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