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Morehouse Surgeon Charges Grady with Racism; Hospital Says it Suspended Him with Cause

A surgeon claims Grady Memorial retaliated against him when he complained of bias against his black colleagues

, Daily Report

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Timothy Jefferson
Timothy Jefferson

A surgeon has sued Grady Memorial Hospital, accusing hospital executives of suspending his staff privileges after he complained that Grady favored white doctors from Emory University over African-American doctors from Morehouse School of Medicine.

Ronald Moore Jr., an associate professor at Morehouse School of Medicine and chief of the school's Section of Minimally Invasive Surgery, claimed in a 45-page suit that Grady—which contracts with both Emory and Morehouse to supply doctors to staff the public hospital—discriminated against Moore and his African-American colleagues by steering patients to white physicians outside the hospital and by failing to provide operating rooms to African-American doctors.

Moore's suit said that when he complained about the disparities, the hospital's chief medical officer suspended him "under false pretext" and "without due process" and then reported the suspension to the National Practitioner Data Bank, a confidential clearinghouse of information on adverse actions taken against health care practitioners, providers and suppliers.

Hospitals have the authority to revoke staff privileges of physicians who are deemed incompetent or who fail to comply with hospital regulations. Moore's suit claimed that allegations made against him by Grady executives involving patient safety and substandard medical care "are a pretext for discrimination."

Moore's suit named the hospital, the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority and five doctors who are members of Grady's executive medical committee as defendants. One of the defendants is an African-American doctor at Morehouse.

Moore and his lawyer, Earl Burke, could not be reached for comment.

Grady General Counsel Timothy Jefferson told the Daily Report that the hospital suspended Moore's clinical privileges "because he was engaged in some unauthorized surgical practices."

Jefferson said that Moore was performing bariatric procedures, which involve removing or tying off a portion of the stomach, even though Grady does not offer pre-surgical and post-surgical services for bariatric weight loss. Bariatric surgery is often performed on people who are morbidly obese in order to facilitate weight loss.

"If you are going to perform bariatric procedures, a series of things has to occur with the patient both before and after you do the surgery," Jefferson said. "Facilities that do them have a program in place. … We don't have a program in place."

Because of that, Jefferson explained, 'We don't have any insurance coverage for that. For that reason, we don't permit surgeons to do that procedure."

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