Florida doctor loses lawsuit seeking reappointment

By Charmaine Little | Jun 13, 2017

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — A Florida doctor’s request for reappointment in a local hospital was dismissed by the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Dr. Irvin Basil Keller filed an appeal against Lawnwood Medical Center Inc. after a trial court dismissed his complaint in which he claimed the medical center did not grant his reappointment. The trial court ruled that Keller did not do everything he could to be granted reappointment before he filed the case. 

The appeals court used Desai v. Lawnwood Medical Center Inc. to outline its reasoning. In that case, Desai followed protocol and filed for a reappointment like his medical colleagues do every two years. He passed the first phase with the medical executive committee and his application was passed to the board of trustees, which did not approve his application. Desai then filed a complaint and said he was not subject to the Hospital regulations so “the Board cannot force its rules upon” him and claimed that the entire process was unjust. 

The medical center said Desai didn’t “exercise his rights” for the board’s hearing process but he still had time to. The lower court then granted a temporary injunction. The medical center appealed, and the appeals court reversed the decision, stating that the hospital was “immune” from monetary damages or injunctive relief that is a result of an appointment or reappointment of staff.

The appeals court affirmed the circuit court’s decision because bylaws state that all “remedies must be exhausted” before an issue is taken to court. The appeals court also decided that the doctor erred and noted that the hospital is considered a private establishment that “does not render its administrative remedies unenforceable.”

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