Court pitches massive award over peer review process

An appeals court has reversed a big jury award to a Dallas doctor who said he was harmed by a hospital's peer view process, greatly relieving physicians who feared that they, too, would be targeted by such suits in the future when serving on peer-review committees. Many observers were astonished when Dr. Lawrence Poliner won an award of $360 million over the suspension of his privileges at 680-bed Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, given that federal law (the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986) protects physicians from liability in such cases. 

Dr. Poliner had convinced a jury that he was defamed by the suspension of his echocardiography and cardiac-catheterization privileges there during a review of his cases. However, the Court of Appeals concluded that peer reviewers enjoy protection from money damages as long as they have a "reasonable belief that the action was in furtherance of quality healthcare."

To learn more about this case:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

Related Article:
TX doctor wins $22.5M peer review suit