Kaiser transplant exec sues for wrongful termination

The former administrator of Kaiser Permanente's troubled Northern California kidney-transplant unit, David Merlin, has filed a $5 million wrongful termination lawsuit. Merlin alleges he was terminated after two months on the job for raising concerns about the transplant program. Kaiser had brought kidney transplant services in-house in late 2004, and Merlin started his job in December 2005. The suit states that he "discovered that the program was so poorly organized and unprofessionally managed that it failed to comply with state and federal requirements and was compromising patient care, leading to unnecessary suffering and possibly deaths." Merlin was responsible for patient safety and risk management. He charges that patient charts were lost, patients were given inappropriate medications and "perfect match" kidneys were refused. Federal and state regulators pressured Kaiser to close the transplant unit in early May, three months after Merlin's termination, and transfer the cases to University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Davis medical centers. Investigation into the operations and management of the Kaiser unit continues.

- check out this article in the Sacramento Business Journal