Rutgers neurosurgery department chief on leave over malpractice allegations

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Anil Nanda, a renowned surgeon and head of the neurosurgery department at two Rutgers medical schools, was placed on paid administrative leave on November 11 following allegations of “professional conduct,” according to a report by Advanced NJ Media.

University officials have yet to reveal what prompted the action or their cause for concern.

“Questions about Dr. Nanda’s conduct at (RWJUH) have been brought to our attention as well as to the attention of the hospital,” said Peter McDonough, senior vice president of external affairs, according to the article. “The university and the hospital will investigate the alleged conduct. “

Nanda’s lawyer and a spokesperson for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) had made no further comment at the time. The University has yet to respond to the Daily Targum’s request for comment.

NJ Advance Media reported that two sources say the allegations relate to Nanda’s alleged involvement in performing “phantom surgeries,” or where other surgeons perform or complete surgery in place of the designated surgeon.

The University is investigating allegations that Nanda was not fully present in the operating room during parts of her scheduled surgeries, with sources claiming there are allegations that Nanda was attending a virtual symposium in her. office during at least one of the surgeries, according to another article by Advanced NJ Media.

“Once alerted, clinical and administrative leaders at RWJUH and Rutgers immediately began an investigative process into allegations that Dr. Nanda may not have been fully present during certain surgical cases under his direction … Like all educational institutions, RWJUH has guidelines for the functions that can be delegated from attending physicians to residents / colleagues during surgical cases, ”according to letter to hospital board obtained by NJ Advance Media.

Nanda has been the subject of similar allegations in the past when he was head of the neurosurgery department at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center prior to his arrival at Rutgers in 2018, according to the article.

A report from KTBS-TV found that the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services found cases where LSU Health wrongly billed Medicare for three simultaneous surgeries where Nanda was apparently not fully present in the hospital. operating room, although the government was indicted. as if he was.

Additionally, the report found that LSU had to pay more than $ 700,000 in fines and restitution, these cases occurring at a time when Nanda was inexplicably demoted from his post as president the previous year, according to the article.

NJ Advance Media discovered through a public record request that the University did not hire any company to do background research on Nanda before hiring her to fill one of the highest paid roles. of the University.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences officials did not explain why they had not reviewed Nanda’s background at LSU, and a spokesperson for the University Health Center did not indicate whether the University was aware of these earlier problems, according to the article.

In addition, several claims have been filed against Nanda regarding her alleged creation of a toxic work environment, according to the article. Since joining Rutgers, dozens of faculty, nurses and staff have left or been fired, with a former clinical assistant professor at University Hospital and New Jersey College of Medicine, Catherine Mazzola, recently filed a complaint about this.

Nanda released a statement through his lawyer before being put on administrative leave, denying allegations made by the lawsuit and others, according to the report.

“The accusations of toxic atmosphere are fabricated and dishonest… The cultural change and commitment to excellence are disruptive, but necessary,” he said.

“He’s untouchable,” said Diomedes Tsitouras, executive director of the American Association of College Teachers and Biomedical and Health Sciences in New Jersey, according to the article. ” People are scared. They see people being laid off and nothing is happening.

The hospital’s medical executive committee held an emergency executive session on Nov. 11 to review the known information, ultimately deciding to seek further comment from doctors and employees, according to the article.

“At the end of this preliminary examination, Dr. Nanda voluntarily offered to cease all clinical and administrative functions until a full investigation could be conducted by the hospital and the University… The best course of action for all concerned was to place Dr Nanda on administrative leave with pay until a full review of the events could be carried out, ”according to the article.

During the administrative leave, Nanda will not be permitted to provide clinical, academic or additional services to the University or its affiliated facilities until the investigation, conducted by an outside law firm, is completed.


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