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Courts

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Ex-Angola doctor cites race in firing

A former physician at Angola’s Cameron Memorial Community Hospital claims he was fired because of his race, and is asking a federal court judge to prevent hospital administrators from besmirching his name in a national physician database.

According to a federal lawsuit filed last week by Dr. Olabode Oladeinde, Cameron Memorial Hospital originally hired the Nigerian native to serve as a hospitalist in the summer of 2011.

A hospitalist is a physician who cares specifically for patients while they are in the hospital.

Oladeinde, who originally practiced medicine in the northwest corner of Indiana, alleges the staff began complaining about him within days after he began working at the hospital – complaining about his accent and a lack of understanding about orders, according to court documents.

In December, he was told to stop seeing patients until a meeting on Jan. 3. But at that January meeting, Oladeinde alleges he was “called names, belittled, disrespected, alleged to have a dual personality and called a liar,” according to court documents.

Cameron Memorial Community Hospital officials declined to comment on the pending litigation, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

By mid-March, Oladeinde had received five letters from the medical staff quality committee about a variety of issues. By early April, the hospitalist program was suspended after two other physicians on the staff resigned. On April 16, Oladeinde was put on a six-week probationary status. In June, the probationary period was extended indefinitely and his admitting privileges were suspended, according to court documents.

Oladeinde alleges hospital staff harassed him with repeated frivolous complaints and then terminated his employment on “account of his race and African accent” in violation of his constitutional right to free speech, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Cameron Memorial administrators have implied a threat to report Oladeinde’s probationary status to the National Practitioners Data Bank, which could “severely prevent plaintiff from practicing his profession as a medical doctor,” creating an impediment to employability.

In a motion for a temporary restraining order filed last week alongside the lawsuit, Oladeinde asks the federal judge handling the case to prevent Cameron Memorial Community Hospital from putting a negative report about his probationary status in the databank, according to court documents.

rgreen@jg.net

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