Former neurosurgery resident files $50M lawsuit against Missouri medical school: 7 things to know

Written by Shayna Korol | July 25, 2018 | Print  |

In a $50 million lawsuit, former neurosurgery resident Rylan Brantl, MD, alleges the chief of neurosurgery at Columbia-based University of Missouri School of Medicine harassed and fired him without good cause, the Missourian reports.

Here are seven things to know:

1. Dr. Brantl claims N. Scott Litofsky, MD, created a hostile work environment and subjected him to abusive behavior as a MU neurosurgery resident from 2008 through 2013.

2. Dr. Brantl also claims the university failed to adequately address concerns residents had about Dr. Litofsky and the neurosurgery program. The lawsuit claims these allegations represent a breach of contract and a failure to comply with Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education program requirements, such as limiting the number of hours neurosurgery residents could work.

3. Residents were reportedly threatened by Dr. Litofsky and other faculty if they reported the number of hours they actually worked.

4. The lawsuit also alleges Dr. Brantl's surgical skills were unfairly critiqued. The neurosurgeon claims he was forced to repeat his fourth year of residency despite passing the required neurosurgery board exams in 2011. The lawsuit states no surgical resident at the medical school had ever been dismissed from the program after passing the board exams.

5. In 2012, Dr. Brantl went to the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, training in the pediatric neurosurgery program through a partnership with MU's medical school. Dr. Brantl was deemed "competent and independent" while at the University of Utah. This contradicts the poor performance reviews he received at MU, according to the lawsuit.

6. After returning to MU, Dr. Brantl claims he was unfairly cut from the residency program in the fifth year of a six-year program. Dr. Brantl was not given a reason for his dismissal. Neither Dr. Litofsky or the university responded to the grievance he filed in January 2013, which is required within 30 days. The university allegedly offered Dr. Brantl's position to another resident before his grievance was heard.

7. Dr. Brantl's suit against the Board of Curators seeks $20 million for past and potential future income lost due to his termination and $30 million for harm to his professional reputation as well as future advancement as a neurosurgeon. Dr. Brantl reportedly received a job offer from Grand Forks, N.D.-based Altru Health System for more than $1 million annually after completing his residency. When Dr. Brantl was dismissed from the program, the offer was rescinded.

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