News February 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

Black neurosurgeon files racial discrimination lawsuit against Atlanta area hospital system

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey February 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

February 23, 2022 at 11:00 am | News

Dr. Dare Adewumi has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against an Atlanta area hospital system -- Photo Credit: Greater Houston Neurosurgery Center

A Black neurosurgeon has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against an Atlanta area hospital system alleging he was fired from his dream job after high-ranking doctors at the facility downplayed his professional ability because of the color of his skin.

In an interview with WSB-TV, Dr. Dare Adewumi’s lawyer said his case isn’t an isolated one as other African-American doctors across the United States are experiencing similar things. Dr. Adewumi’s lawsuit is now a federal case. But some of the documents regarding the suit have seemingly been kept away from public view and scrutiny.

Dr. Adewumi, who said he performed operations on the brain and spinal cord, said he was employed by Wellstar Cobb Hospital. But less than a year into his employment, he alleges insiders within the Wellstar system started working against him. And that was despite the fact that he was going about his duties without any issues.

“There I was, a young Black man, a young Black neurosurgeon who was doing well, my surgeries were going well, my career was blossoming, my reputation was blooming, and all of a sudden I received all these letters attacking everything from my character to my surgeries,” said Adewumi. “The way I was being treated was very different from the way my white colleagues were being treated.”

CK Hoffler, who is one of Adewumi’s lawyers, said the defendants named in the racial discrimination lawsuit are Wellstar Medical Group and Wellstar Health Systems Inc. “This is happening during a time when we need doctors, we need Black doctors,” Hoffler said, adding that there have been several patterns of African-American doctors being treated unfairly because of their race.

A number of groups, including one that is being led by Rev. Jesse Jackson, have taken it upon themselves to investigate such incidents. “Even the playing field. Be fair,” Jackson said.

“Jesus was himself a great physician, born in a manger in a stable outdoors in the wintertime. He wasn’t on anybody’s social register. But look at what he did, went from the manger to the mansion.”

Responding to the suit in a statement to WSB-TV, an attorney representing Wellstar, William Hill, said “Wellstar does not discriminate.”

“Dr. Adewumi has not been the subject of discrimination or unfair treatment. Patient care and safety are Wellstar’s top priorities,” Hill added.

But Adewumi said “things went well” during his first 10 months at Wellstar, adding that he “did roughly 100 surgeries.” Following that period, Adewumi said he started receiving multiple letters of inquiry from an anonymous peer review process.

“We had an independent doctor, highly skilled top doctor to review all of the inquiries who concluded that there was no deviation of the standard of care,” Hoffler said.

Despite his 11 years of medical training in his field, Adewumi said he was placed on a performance plan for 12 years. He said he was treated like an intern by a senior Wellstar doctor during that time, adding that he was ultimately fired before the end of the 12-month plan.

“(They said) I had done nothing wrong and the termination was because the proper relationships were not fostered,” Adewumi said in reference to what an executive told him. The Black neurosurgeon also said not being able to complete the action plan resulted in him missing out on two good neurosurgery job opportunities.

The lawsuit was also filed against Northside Hospital Inc. Hoffler claims Adewumi was working there as an independent contractor after he was fired from Wellstar. But despite performing well, Hoffler said a full-time Northside job offer Adewumi was interested in was given to a Caucasian doctor who was allegedly less qualified.

Northside denies its actions were discriminatory.

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