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Pediatrician Has Beef|With Kaiser’s Care

MODESTO, Calif. (CN) - Kaiser retaliated against a pediatrician for voicing concerns about unsafe neonatal care practices, she claims in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Dr. Homeira Izadi sued The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. dba Kaiser Permanente, alleging health and safety code violations, disability discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation, labor code violations and adverse action in violation of public policy.

According to Izadi's 21-page lawsuit, she was put on an unwarranted disciplinary action plan, given unfavorable hours, denied a permanent position in her physicians' group and subjected to a painful medical procedure without sedation. These were all done in retaliation for concerns Izadi voiced about the safety of newborn babies and other issues at Kaiser's Modesto facility, she alleges.

Izadi worked at the Kaiser Modesto Labor and Delivery Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with rotations at the Santa Clara facility, she says.

As one of many incidents she reported as dangerous to superiors, the complaint states that she was the only pediatrician who could place umbilical catheters into newborn babies, an important skill.

Izadi says she intervened when a baby that needed cardiac care was almost sent home instead, and when another baby with a harmless rash was misdiagnosed as having a serious skin infection.

She also had a baby re-hospitalized after her supervisor had discharged it without sufficient testing, Izadi claims.

She butted heads with a Kaiser Santa Clara doctor when she thought a baby needed to be transferred to a facility that could operate right away (Santa Clara), but the other doctor insisted that the baby be evaluated by the neonatologist on call first, delaying the transfer, she says. The baby later died, the complaint states.

Izadi also clashed with a midwife who did not "believe in" suctioning meconium from newborn babies' throats, she says.

Meconium is the early feces passed by a baby shortly after birth, which can cause breathing problems if a baby inhales it, according to a National Institutes of Health website.

The midwife refused to follow accepted procedures to prevent newborn babies from inhaling meconium, Izadi claims.

She reported these incidents, and more, internally, she says.

In retaliation, she was denied a permanent position with her physicians' group, put on an unwarranted disciplinary plan, given unfavorable hours and refused doctor-ordered time off, she claims. Izadi also alleges that when she was scheduled to have a procedure for neck pain, her supervisor rescheduled it so she had to have it in a radiology room with no sedation instead of in an operating room with sedation, the way it is normally done, which Izadi says was retaliatory.

Homeira Izadi seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs, costs of suit, prejudgment interest and a jury trial. She is represented by Lawrance A. Bohm and Victoria L. Baiza of the Bohm Law Group in Sacramento.

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