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Doctor files lawsuit against Emanuel

Turlock Heart owner claims hospital intentionally put him out of business

POSTED June 26, 2012 7:44 p.m.

A Turlock cardiologist has filed a lawsuit against Emanuel Medical Center claiming the hospital engaged in a campaign aimed at putting his practice out of business.

Dr. Gholamreza Vafadouste alleges in his lawsuit that the hospital gave him misleading information about expanding his practice, Turlock Heart and Vascular Institute, and then lured away his associates and patients.

The lawsuit was filed March 26 of this year in Stanislaus County Superior Court. It names Emanuel Medical Center, Emanuel Medical Group, Covenant Ministries of Benevolence, John Sigsbury, the hospital’s chief executive officer and president, Dr. Reza Nazari, Dr. Oussama Ibrahim Dagher, and Does 1 through 10.

The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified dollar amount in damages.

Vafadouste states in his lawsuit that he met with Sigsbury in 2004 to discuss the state of cardiology care in Turlock. At the time, many patients were being sent to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for care.

Vafadouste claims he was told by Sigsbury the hospital would assist in his expansion efforts of his practice.

Vafadouste said he spent several millions of dollars bringing in new cardiologists and on additional property for office space and equipment over the following years.

The doctor claims that after making these substantial investments, Emanuel Medical Center took his cardiologists and started their own hospital group, Emanuel Cardiovascular Associates in 2010.

In his lawsuit, Vafadouste further alleges that the new cardiology group was soliciting his patients at the hospital and at their homes; that he was not notified when his own patients were in the hospital; and that the cardiologists were ordering unneeded tests and performing unnecessary procedures to boost the group’s and the hospital’s profits.

Without going into any specifics of the lawsuit, Emanuel Medical Center’s Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing Pennie Rorex issued a statement on behalf of the hospital.

“The hospital strongly disagrees with the accusations and intends to vigorously defend the actions in the courts.”

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