SEATTLE (AP) — A 15-year veteran Army doctor has been suspended for alleged problems with patient care, but Dr. Russel Hicks said the suspension is retaliation for providing information on Madigan Army Medical Center's troubled PTSD diagnosis program to investigators.
The psychiatrist was suspended in January from his hospital duties because he allegedly practiced outside the scope of his clinical privileges and did not properly document patient records. During an initial investigation that could last a month or more, he must refrain from any diagnosis, prescriptions, charting or treatment, The Seattle Times (http://is.gd/bOMXAX) reported Saturday.
Hicks, in a letter to Madigan's credential's committee, said he believes the actions were in retaliation for information he offered Army investigators who last year examined diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the hospital.
Hicks shared the documents detailing his suspension with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.
"We are absolutely looking into this and will be making an inquiry with the Army," said Matt McAlvanah, a spokesman for the democrat.
The Jan. 17 memorandum sent to Hicks does not detail any specifics about the allegations against the doctor or how his conduct posed a risk to patients.
Hicks, in his response to the memorandum, said the suspension was the first time he was informed of any problems with his care, and that he was concerned his removal from practice could disrupt the care of some of his patients addicted to painkillers.
Madigan officials, citing federal privacy laws that protect employees, said they could not comment on the decision to temporarily remove Hicks from practice. They said such actions arise from an effort to protect patients.