RISKAlert Report #1073 Sept. 19, 2018 Chicago, Illinois
The former employees of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago won a lawsuit against the
hospital after reporting that hospital doctors harassed them. The Chicago Tribune reported that the hospital received
reports about violent incidents but did nothing. The women accused the hospital of failing to act when violations of the hospital own written policies were reported and then ignored.
$7 million of the total amount was awarded to Dr. Caroline Ryan, an anesthesiologist who was choked and
pushed by Dr. Stephen F. Laga, in 2013. The attack was witnessed by several hospital staff members
and also by patients. Dr. Ryan was asked by hospital administration to drop her report against Laga, who
had a “long and documented” history of violent behavior, says the complaint. Laga was never disciplined.
The following year, a hidden camera was found on the toilet (Potty Cam?) in the women’s locker room where
women changed clothes and used the restroom. The camera was planted by Dr. Robert Weiss, an eye surgeon
at Illinois Masonic, who viewed and possibly shared the content. Weiss was arrested when the camera was
discovered. Although aware of his arrest, the hospital delayed suspending Weiss’ medical privileges.
The women’s complaint also pointed out that the hospital had ignored previous reports of inappropriate
sexual behavior from Weiss. The six women were awarded $1.75 million for violations of their privacy and
an additional $2 million for punitive damages. “The jury was sending a clear message”, said the women’s
attorney, Jeffrey Kulwin. He said he believes doctor misconduct has been tolerated because of the money the
doctors bring in to the hospitals.
“Today’s verdict against Advocate sends a strong message to Advocate, and employers everywhere,
that violence in the workplace cannot be tolerated, especially at a place as important as a hospital,”
1. Having, and Enforcing a strong policy against workplace violence and harassment is a critical
component of creating a safe workplace, no matter who is being violent against others!
2. The hospital lost the lawsuit because they blatantly refused to enforce their OWN POLICIES!
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