Neurosurgeon gets $17.5 million award after Swedish Health firing

Dr. David Newell won a $17.5 million decision after arguing Swedish Health fired him in retaliation for questioning the practices of another top surgeon. Swedish says Newell was fired because he failed to notify the organization that he had been arrested in a prostitution sting.

An arbitrator has awarded $17.5 million to a former Swedish Health neurosurgeon who says he was fired in retaliation for questioning the practices of another top surgeon.

Dr. David Newell lost his job a year ago, and Swedish contends he was fired for failing to notify the organization that he had been arrested and jailed in a Seattle prostitution sting. Swedish, along with parent organization Providence, is now challenging the arbitrator’s award in court.

“For this arbitrator to award Dr. Newell $17.5 million — at a time when many people cannot afford health care or fear losing their insurance, and when there is an epidemic of sex trafficking and exploitation of women — is unconscionable and outrageous,” said Swedish’s CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson, in a statement.

Newell contends the prostitution issue was used as cover to get rid of him after he had raised internal concerns about Dr. Johnny Delashaw, a star surgeon who was the subject of a recent Seattle Times investigation, subsequently resigned and had his state license suspended. Delashaw faced numerous internal complaints from a variety of Swedish staffers. Records filed in Newell’s case show Newell was among those who had raised issues about Delashaw.

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“The evidence showed the actions (Swedish and Providence) took against Dr. Newell were part of a pattern of targeting and interfering with established neurosurgeons’ practices, retaliatory behavior, and a disregard for patient safety,” wrote Newell attorney Robert Sulkin in a court filing Thursday. “The evidence likewise established that (Swedish and Providence) stole the…

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