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US: Indian doctors win racial discrimination case

Press Trust of India
Feb 22, 2012 at 01:51pm IST

Houston: Three Indian-American doctors, who were derogatorily called "the Indians" and treated as "second-class citizens" by the CEO of a medical center in the US, have won a racial discrimination case in a Texas court.

The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Citizens Medical Center in Victoria had violated the equal protection rights of the doctors.

The court ruled in favour of Ajay Gaalla, Harish Chandna and Dakshesh Parikh, the Victoria Advocate reported.

US: Indian doctors win racial discrimination case

Court documents also showed that the three cardiologists were derogatorily referred to as "the Indians."

In February 2010, the medical center filed a resolution that would allow only cardiologists with contracts at the hospital to exercise clinical privileges in the cardiology department or part of the hospital's heart programme.

The cardiologists fought back with a lawsuit stating they were being barred from practicing not based on their merit and expertise, but because of economical and racial reasons.

This not only affected them, but their patients who were denied the right to see the physician of their choice, according to the court documents.

The hospital claimed the resolution was based on the doctors' disruptive behavior and issues with Dr Yusuke Yahagi, a cardiovascular surgeon at the hospital.

Court documents also showed that the three cardiologists were derogatorily referred to as "the Indians."

The cardiologists also cited a comment from David Brown, the hospital chief executive officer, as saying the hospital was working on a plan for "getting the Indians off the reservation."

The cardiologists said the resolution hospital placed violated their equal protection rights and now the Fifth Circuit has voted in their favor.

Brown would not comment until he could become familiar with the details, a hospital spokesperson said.

The three doctors said they were consistently treated like second-class citizens, removed from committees and pushed out of laboratory posts arbitrarily, or overlooked in favor of "less-qualified" cardiologists CMC hired.

For now, the case is in stay, or on hold, according to Monte James, the lead attorney for the cardiologists.

He expects the federal court will take it off hold, and it will proceed to trial.

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