Rhys Saunders Sep. 16, 2013, 10:32am

A former orthopedic medical resident has sued Loyola University Medical Center and five of its doctors, claiming they illegally terminated him and sabotaged his efforts to get another residency spot.

Dr. Mark McDaniel filed suit Sept. 11 in Chicago’s federal court against the hospital, as well as Trinity Health Corp., which transacts business in Illinois through the operation of the hospital.

He is seeking an undisclosed sum that includes compensatory damage, attorneys’ fees and “any other relief as the court deems just,” the suit states.

Five doctors who work at the hospital – some of whom supervised McDaniel – are also named as defendants in his lawsuit.

They include Dr. William Hopkinson, who was McDaniel’s supervisor and the program director for the orthopedic surgery residency training program; Dr. Terry Light, chair of the orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation; Dr. William Cannon, chief of staff at Loyola University Medical Center; Dr. Dane Salazar, a resident at Loyola; and Dr. Alexander Ghanayem, an attending physician at the hospital.

According to the suit, McDaniel was terminated from Loyola University Medical Center on Sept. 20, 2012, just three days before a scheduled probation hearing.

He claims his termination letter stated he failed evaluations, was absent without leave, improperly filled out surgical case logs and falsified medical procedures.

McDaniel denies the allegations, claiming instead that the doctors he worked with and his fellow residents made false statements about him.

The panel in charge of McDaniel’s grievance hearing changed the alleged deficiencies identified in the termination letter, the suit states, and focused “instead only on issues for which Loyola Medical may have been exposed to liability.”

McDaniel also asserts that the hospital violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by scheduling him to work when he had to perform military obligations.

He was required to find replacements for his shifts and asked to show copies of his military orders, which are also USERRA violations, his suit states.

In addition, McDaniel contends that Loyola breached its contract by scheduling him work longer than 30 consecutive hours, which is a violation of rules set forth by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the organization responsible for accrediting residency programs.

Residency programs must be accredited by the ACGME in order to receive funding from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services.

According to the suit, McDaniel was punished for using new ACGME coding rules for medical procedures, and was denied time off after undergoing retina surgery.

His superiors allegedly asked McDaniel to lie about the number of hours he worked and he was denied due process during his termination. McDaniel asserts that his probationary hearing wasn’t scheduled within 45 days of his request and he was fired before it took place.

He further asserts that doctors made false statements about him to clinics where he was applying for fellowships, and ultimately other residency programs.

McDaniel is also suing Light and Ghanayem individually over allegations of defamation.

He is represented by Kristi L. Browne and Kathryn M. Walker of the Patterson Law Firm in Chicago.

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