June 20th, 2014 | by SAMANTHA MATSUMOTO News | Posted In: Health, Multnomah County, PDX News

Legacy Health Systems Accused of Ignoring Safety Concerns

nurseAlex Proimos / Flickr / Creative Commons

A former employee of Legacy Mt. Hood Medical Center is accusing the Gresham hospital of ignoring safety issues and firing him after he complained.

Christopher Modic, an emergency department nurse supervisor, claims that his supervisor Heather Moon repeatedly discouraged Modic and his staff from filling out reports meant to document hazardous conditions that present a risk to patients.


He filed the lawsuit at in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Thursday, alleging that Legacy Health Systems violated the state whistleblower law by firing him after he complained about the lack of safety reports.


According to the lawsuit, Moon ordered employees not to fill out safety reports multiple times, including when an unauthorized person sutured a patient and when a patient brought a gun into the hospital. 


On one occasion, the lawsuit says, a nurse filled out a safety report after a doctor's shaky hands caused a failed procedure. 


Modic claims Moon then "orally reprimanded (the nurse) for having filled out a (safety report)" and "threatened to (the nurse) that she would have (Modic) terminated for for a violation of health care confidentiality for discussing the matter of the doctor's shaking hands with them," according to the lawsuit.  


Modic brought his concerns about the lack of safety reports to human resources and  was "criticized for wanting to file (safety reports)" and "for not being supportive of management," the lawsuit says. 


In February, when a snowstorm brought an influx of patients to the hospital, Modic was in charge of an understaffed emergency department. When he expressed concern to Moon, his worries were dismissed.


"Ms. Moon refused to call in more nurses," the lawsuit said. "(Modic) did not have authority to call in more staff ... and there was no procedure for him to call in more staff." 


Modic was fired in March, after he was accused of falsifying a patient’s chart note. He claims that he did not falsify the note and the hospital fired him so they would not have to deal with concerns from safety reports.


This is the second time this year Legacy, which has six hospitals and numerous clinics in the area, has come under fire.


In March, four lawsuits were brought against Legacy Emanuel, claiming the hospital did not investigate nurse Jeffrey McAllister after he allegedly sexually abused nine women. McAllister was fired in April 2012.


Legacy Health System spokesman Brian Terrett said that the lawsuit has not yet been received by the hospital and it cannot comment.


Modic is seeking $800,000 in damages.

 
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