VA surgeon allegedly forced out for reporting anesthesiologists' critical mistakes temporarily reinstated — 5 insights

Thoracic surgeon Robert Cameron, MD, was temporarily reinstated at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System after he was allegedly pressured into retirement for reporting anesthesiologists' life-threatening mistakes, Stars and Stripes reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. In a stay order issued Nov. 30, the Merit Systems Protection Board said it found reason to believe the VA illegally coerced Dr. Cameron into retiring.

2. Dr. Cameron emailed his supervisor and the hospital's anesthesiology chief in late February after life-threatening medical complications allegedly arose during two of his surgeries on Sept. 6, 2017, and Feb. 21, 2018. In the email, he claimed inexperienced anesthesiologists were assigned to the operations.

3. In May, Dr. Cameron again expressed concerns to his supervisor, according to the order. His supervisor reportedly told him his services were no longer required and gave him an exit date of July 7. He retired July 6.

4. At the time of his exit, Dr. Cameron was the healthcare system's only thoracic surgeon and had 27 patients waiting for surgery. He has been a VA employee for 20-plus years. The agency recently rated his performance as "outstanding."

5. The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel ordered Dr. Cameron's 45-day reinstatement while it investigates the situation.

"OSC will thoroughly investigate and, if necessary, seek corrective action if we find Dr. Cameron was retaliated against for speaking up when he saw patients' health being put in jeopardy," Special Counsel Henry Kerner said in a statement to Stars and Stripes.

More articles on anesthesia:
Wisconsin anesthesiologist who surrendered state license now practices scot-free in New York — 5 insights
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CRH Medical acquires Tennessee gastroenterology anesthesia practice — 4 insights

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