Jury Awards $895,000 to Former MeritCare Surgeon Represented by Nichols Kaster

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Dr. Magid, former employee at MeritCare, wins substantial award in whistleblower case after he voiced concerns regarding re-use of disposable breathing circuits and surgeon's clinical practices.

Nichols Kaster, PLLP
Dr. Magid liked Fargo and intended to stay there. His firing was an unfortunate loss for the institution and the people of Fargo as he is an excellent surgeon.

On February 21, 2012, a Cass County jury awarded Dr. Mitchell Magid $895,000 in his North Dakota Whistleblower Act claim. The case is entitled Mitchell Magid v. Sanford Health-MeritCare et al., court file number 09-2010-CV-01356. Dr. Magid is a former MeritCare surgeon who sued MeritCare (now Sanford) claiming that he was fired for raising concerns about the re-use of disposable breathing circuits and about a fellow surgeon’s clinical practice issues.

The jury awarded Dr. Magid $745,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages. Dr. Magid’s lawyer James Kaster stated: “Dr Magid is very happy. He was concerned about patient care issues, and he feels like this is a message that his concerns were heard by the jury. That was the most important thing to him.” The seven member jury also awarded 5% interest on the damages, and Nichols Kaster will be seeking its attorneys’ fees. According to Mr. Kaster, this is “a substantial award” for a whistleblower case.

Dr. Magid began working for MeritCare in 2004 as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He subsequently learned that the anesthesia department was re-using disposable breathing circuits, a practice he alleges put the health of patients at risk. Dr. Magid reported his concerns regarding the re-use of the circuits to management in 2005, but MeritCare did not stop re-using them until 2009 when the re-use was brought to the attention of the hospital’s accrediting agency. In 2008, MeritCare hired a second oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Dr. Magid alleges that he noticed serious issues regarding this surgeon's clinical practices, including his refusal to wear proper attire when performing procedures (i.e. scrubs, protective eyewear, and a mask) and his incomplete anesthesia record documentation. Dr. Magid claims he brought his concerns to management, but they were ignored and he was ultimately fired for raising these issues with his superiors. Mr. Kaster described it as a case of shooting the messenger.

Dr. Magid currently practices oral and maxillofacial surgery in Lynchburg, Virginia. Mr. Kaster said the following regarding his termination: “Dr. Magid liked Fargo and intended to stay there. His firing was an unfortunate loss for the institution and the people of Fargo as he is an excellent surgeon.”

Additional information about this case is available by calling Nichols Kaster, PLLP toll-free at (877) 448-0492. Information on other related cases can also be found at http://www.nka.com.

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