The Chilling Story of Lydia Grotti MD, FCCP Internist/Intensivist
Dr. Grotti is a double Boarded ICU-Specialist who worked for years in a ICU in a
County Hospital with no malpractice suits or Board complaints. Then she gave a
terminal patient 16 mg of Morphine in a one hour infusion. And that action
changed her life and stopped her career COLD.
She was "Peer Reviewed" and she passed it. Then this case was labeled as "homicide by morphine" by the county Medical Examiner. She is out her career, her license suspended by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and faces future criminal charges in the death of a patient for doing exactly, positively what MDs in her specialty do.
Here is the story with the relevant facts below:
She was hired by North Texas Affiliated Medical Group in 1997 as their first and dedicated Medical Intensivist. She went to work at the John Peter Smith/Tarrant County Hospital District in that capacity on August 8th, 1997.
On June 27, 2001, her privileges were summarily suspended at JPS/TCHD by the District's Board of Managers regarding concern over the care she rendered to a patient in the Emergency Department on December 26, 2000.
As of June 12, 2001, she was on probation pursuant to action by the Medical Staff Executive Committee as a result of a peer review inquiry into that patient care incident, that she initiated, by the way. She was complying with the requirements that the Medical Executive Committee had requested at the time the Board of Managers summarily suspended her privileges on June 27, 2001.
The Medical Staff Peer Review committee and Medical Staff Executive Committee felt evidence supporting suspension of her clinical privileges was lacking and notified the Board of Managers in writing of that conclusion.
She was still employed by her medical group (NTAMG), pending termination of the suspension by the Board of Managers, at 90 days post suspension and therefore was in breach the terms of her employment contract. NTAMG gave her 30 days to resolve the suspension and return to work or her employment would be terminated. The suspension was not terminated, therefore, her employment was terminated by NTAMG.
A Fair Hearing regarding the suspension commenced on Oct. 1st and the five day hearing was completed on Oct. 26th after one continuation. The unanimous recommendation of the five-physician Fair Hearing panel, joined by one alternate member, was released on Dec. 10, 2001. The panel recommended immediate termination of the suspension and reinstatement of her privileges under the terms and conditions previously delineated by the Peer Review and Medical Executive Committees.
On Dec. 18, 2001 the Medical Executive Committee agreed with the panel and its recommendation that her suspension be terminated was forwarded to the Hospital Board of Managers for a decision. On January 25, 2002 no decision was made by the Board of Managers. They decided to send the issue back to the Medical Staff Executive Committee for reconsideration and clarification of certain points.
On February 11, 2002 the MSEC met and wrote a letter back to the Board of Managers and reiterated their former position and clarified the issues that the Board had raised. At present, no decision from the Board of Managers regarding the suspension has been forthcoming, with no explanation for the delay and despite several letters from her lawyer asking directly why a decision hasn't been made.
A second peer review was conducted without her knowledge in the fall of 2001, consisting of a chart review of her terminally weaned/extubated patients, essentially, the end of life care in the ICU at JPS/TCHD. It was decided, without including her in the peer review process, to add restrictions to the Peer Review and Medical Staff Executive committees' recommendations to the board.
She was notified February 19, 2002 in writing of the new restrictions. She asked for a fair hearing and was granted same on March 7, 2002 which concluded on April 10, 2002 after one continuance.
The hearing resulted in the Medical Staff and Peer Review committees recommending 4 additional restrictions to her privileges while on probation BUT recommended immediate reinstatement, again.
That letter was dated April 24, 2002 and despite requests to have a meeting with the Board of Managers, personally, and requests for a decision to be made, there has not been one forthcoming.
The results of the above and the news media coverage of the events, as they see them, has resulted in not one, but two malpractice cases. Dr. Grotti has never been sued before.
The Tarrant County police department started a criminal investigation and even brought in a special prosecutor, but no charges have been filed.
She was reported to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners by the Vice President of Medical Staff Affairs at JPS/TCHD in July and August of 2001, because of the suspension, and the terminally weaned patients names were sent as well.
In August of 2002, after a year of complete cooperation from Dr. Grotti with the investigator at TSBME, her license was suspended after, what amounted to, an 8 hour "kangaroo court", during which no evidence of harm to the public safety was presented. In fact, the panel was presented evidence to the contrary.
The lawyers immediately filed for a restraining order and won it, then obtained an injunction against the TSBME.
This hasn't saved her career though, since she still must go before an administrative judge with the TSBME and prove, with evidence that she deserves the right to continue to practice medicine. She is told the burden of proof lies with the TSBME, but that is not how this has played out so far. With no proof of wrongdoing AT ALL they have already temporarily suspended her license, then tried to place MAJOR restrictions and fines on her.
She is not allowed to work at her current place of employment and, although she is under contract and on salary, she is not being paid. Her employer is in fear of the press and has been targeted by the TSBME for credentialing her.
Dr Grotti has been forced into bankruptcy. She has lost her home, her livelihood and means to support herself. She has been defamed in the media and may have to face criminal charges, as well as, charges of malpractice.
Chilling? Yes. What can you do? Help spread the word. This is the type of sensational case that needs the greatest exposure possible. We need letters of support for her. HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS. Please help.
Letters can be sent to:
Lydia Grotti M.D.
c/o The Center For Peer Review Justice, Inc
Aug 22, 2003 - Star Telegram Article