It’s not the latest baseball sensation’s new contract amount. It is the amount that Ani Chopourian was awarded against Sacramento’s Mercy General Hospital for a operating room sexual harassment spanning two years. As the LA Times reports, Ms. Chopurian filed at least 18 internal complaints of harassment over two years working surgery at Mercy General before being fired for alleged misconduct. They even tried to deny her unemployment benefits (in California no less – which is super employee friendly).
I guess the jury saw right through the facade. Ms. Chopurian testified that she worked at four hospitals in her career before working at Mercy General and the conditions in surgery were bad in all of them. It is a sad commentary on the respectability of some of the most intelligent members of the community. You would think that physicians might know better, but many don’t . . . or don’t care. Unfortunately the ego of some physicians leaves them with a feeling that they are invincible or untouchable.
Sadly today these few bad apples give the profession a black eye. Welcome to the club, docs. Lawyers often suffer from the same fate.
Sensationalism aside, however, what is a hospital administrator to do? Apparently at Mercy General they look the other way. Surgery brings in a lot of money for hospitals. And cardiac surgeons, like those Ms. Chopourian worked with, bring in some of the highest payments from insurance companies.
It is a touchy thing managing doctors – much like professional baseball players who can earn enough money to pay the verdict in this case. As I am fond of telling my clients – It is all about managing risk. If you don’t want to have claims, manage your people accordingly. In the past, it appears that Mercy General has erred on the side of leniency. Of course, it won’t take many verdicts like this to straighten the moral fiber of hospital administrators and their Boards.
We can only hope this message hits home with as many folks as possible before bad behavior catches up them. And, if you don’t get the message, give me a call when you get the claim. In addition to the possibility of a verdict, it should be worth a lot in fees.