Surgeon sues Pennsylvania hospital over termination

Yi Kao, MD, alleged his former employer, Mount Nittany Medical Center, wrongly terminated his privileges in a lawsuit filed Jan. 19, according to the Centre Daily Times.

Dr. Kao, a 70-year-old otolaryngologist, began performing cases at State College, Pa.-based Mount Nittany in 1992 and became employed by Mount Nittany Physician's Group in 2020. His privileges at the hospital were terminated in June 2023 after the state medical board issued a subpoena concerning Dr. Kao earlier in the year.

The lawsuit alleges a staff member reported Dr. Kao's hands trembled during a procedure and Dr. Kao had complained of vision issues. Dr. Kao underwent an evaluation by two ophthalmologists who deemed him capable of performing surgical procedures.

Dr. Kao also alleged in the suit that a neurotologist who didn't examine or speak with Dr. Kao wrote a letter questioning his ability to safely perform surgery and meet quality standards.

Dr. Kao did report having a medical condition for the last 30 years limiting his peripheral vision, but the condition didn't affect his ability to perform procedures and hasn't changed over time, he claimed in the suit. His suit alleges Mount Nittany breached his contract, and he is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

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