Physician Practice Roundup—Lawsuits filed against USC and gynecologist; Doctor faces almost 400 years in prison on opioid charges

Gavel and flag in courtroom
Women patients are suing USC alleging they were victimized by a student health center gynecologist. (Getty/AlexStar)

Lawsuits filed against USC and gynecologist for sexual misconduct

A wave of lawsuits was filed Monday against the University of Southern California and a former gynecologist who treated students at its health center and is accused of sexual violations, according to news reports.

The legal action included a class-action lawsuit filed Monday against USC, its board of trustees and gynecologist George Tyndall, M.D. The lawsuit, which seeks to represent hundreds of patients, accuses USC of covering up a decadeslong series of inappropriate behavior by Tyndall. That behavior included sexual harassment, abuse and molestation affecting hundreds of students who sought gynecological care at the student health center.

In a statement issued Monday, USC Provost Michael W. Quirk said it was “absolutely untrue” and “unthinkable” that USC leadership knew about Tyndall’s misconduct for a long time and covered it up.

The class-action lawsuit was filed by attorneys from Hagens Berman, the same law firm that filed a pending class-action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on behalf of multiple women who say they were harassed or assaulted by the disgraced film producer.

The USC lawsuit could represent a class of hundreds, if not thousands, of female students at USC who were sexually abused by Tyndall, the university’s full-time gynecologist. The lawsuit says the university knew of Tyndall’s behavior since at least the 1990s but failed to take action. The allegations against Tyndall came to light after the Los Angeles Times reported last week that he was allowed to treat students despite accusations of inappropriate behavior during gynecological exams. (Legal complaint [PDF], USC statement)

Doctor faces almost 400 years in prison after indictment on opioid charges

A West Virginia doctor was indicted by a federal grand jury Monday on opioid charges. If convicted, he faces up to 390 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

A jury returned a 20-count indictment against Manuel C. Barit, M.D., of the Mullens Family Clinic, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. He is charged with 19 counts of distributing controlled substances including hydrocodone, outside the bounds of a legitimate medical practice. He also allegedly executed a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by submitting claims indicating he treated patients at this clinic on dates he was outside the U.S. His clinic was raided by the DEA in January 2018.

The indictment was the result of work by the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit, an initiative by the Department of Justice that uses data to identify and prosecute individuals contributing to the national opioid crisis. (U.S. Attorney’s Office Announcement)

Nemours Children's to start recruitment for new pediatric residency this fall

Nemours Children's Health System has cleared the final hurdles for launching pediatric residency training after receiving accreditation for the program and will begin recruitment for its residency this fall. 

Its first class is set to begin training in July 2019.

Already, officials said they have received strong interest from potential candidates. Amber Hoffman, M.D., program director for the residency program, told FierceHealthcare she receives messages just about every day from around the country and the world even though Nemours is in the early stages of outreach. (Fierce Healthcare)