Dr. Charles Briggs filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit in Washington D.C. against Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington in connection with its failure to rectify serious medical violations committed against its patients. Dr. Briggs a veteran physician, returned from retirement to take a job working with Catholic Charities’ two clinics. According to the suit, during the three years he worked there the patient care was so poor, it violated state and federal laws. Shoddy practices may have contributed in at least one case to a patient’s death. The lawsuit alleges that on multiple occasions Dr. Briggs notified his superiors at Catholic Charities that its clinics:
- failed to triage walk-in patients in a timely manner, leading, in one instance, to a medical emergency that almost resulted in a patient’s death;
- failed to process and label pap smears;
- failed to process lab tests that were screening for serious conditions such as cancer;
- failed to follow-up on critical lab results in a timely manner;
- failed to process prescription drug refills in a timely manner; and
- failed to effectively monitor a seriously ill patient’s critical lab tests in a manner that may have contributed to that patient’s death.
The lawsuit further alleges that Dr. Briggs notified his superiors that Catholic Charities received money from the state and local governments to provide free flu shots to its patients, but instead charged patients for these vaccinations and pocketed the money.
The Complaint charges that after Dr. Briggs repeatedly brought these issues to the attention of officials at Catholic Charities and insisted that these serious failures be immediately corrected, the officials responded by subjecting him to a campaign of retaliatory harassment, intimidation, and abuse in order to cover up their negligence. After months of his raising these deficiencies in patient care, Catholic Charities terminated Dr. Briggs’ employment on October 1, 2010, stating that his termination was warranted because his well-founded complaints were “too disruptive.”