Cardiologists awarded $10.6M after employer’s ‘intentional retaliation’

Two cardiologists have won a $10.6 million arbitration decision against Tenet Healthcare, the parent company of Detroit Medical Center (DMC), after they were fired from their DMC leadership positions back in 2018.

Interventional cardiologists Amir Kaki, MD, and Mahir Elder, MD, alleged that they lost their positions after coming forward with concerns about dirty instruments, unnecessary medical procedures and inappropriate billing practices. The doctors later said that patients had died due to the health system’s policies.

In a statement back in 2019, DMC representatives said the cardiologists were removed from their leadership positions due to “violations of our standards of conduct.”

Attorney Deborah Gordon has said the two doctors are owed thousands in unpaid wages. She is also pushing for them to be reinstated in the leadership roles they lost.

According to a new report from the Detroit Free Press, Gordon is now asking that the arbitration ruling be affirmed.

“My clients feel vindicated after the intentional retaliation they were subjected to,” Gordon said, as quoted in the report. “Their mission was always to serve the Detroit community and the DMC attempted to take that away from them. They look forward to serving the community going forward.” 

The DMC, which plans to fight the ruling, issued a new statement about the case.

“On behalf of our dedicated employees and medical staff, we stand behind the decision of our Governing Board to not renew the expired medical staff membership and clinical privileges of Drs. Kaki and Elder for another two-year term,” the statement read. “Medical staff membership is a privilege—not a right—and the DMC will continue to prioritize patient safety and the well-being of its staff when making these decisions, particularly when confronted with very serious physician behavioral concerns.”