Dr. Brantl was a neurosurgery resident at the University of Missouri – Columbia. From 2008 to 2013 he looks to have been a good resident – did lots of cases, no failed rotations, even passed the written boards for neurosurgery while in residency. Neurosurgery is a 6 year residency, and it looks like he was not offered a contract for his 5th year. It appears that his termination was most likely related to the personal agenda of his program director, who has a long list of complaints against him in this petition. It also appears that institutional and ACGME due processes were not followed.
Resident due process must include review of the entire record, careful deliberation, notification of deficiencies, an opportunity to cure, appropriate probation which is mentor-assisted and time-specific, to name the major components. Brantl’s petition is full of contradictions of these requirements, as well as many assertions of unfairness, toxic work environment, retaliation, harassment, and even perhaps sabotage (especially regarding the appeals process).
Dr. Brantl’s options for employment were, of course, few without having finished residency. He is employed as a general practitioner in rural North Dakota, surely making a fraction of what his neurosurgery income would have been. In fact, prior to his termination, his petition states that he had a job offer for after graduation – making $1M/year. He would have filed this lawsuit earlier, but he did not have the money to do so at the time (as practically no one on a resident stipend, and with physician training loans, can afford to do).
Interestingly, although the neurosurgery program was on probation, it remained ACGME accredited. This, despite the assertions (with named witnesses) of years of appalling work and learning conditions, highly disturbing disruptive physician behavior by leadership, and long lists of violations.
Update: 29 July 2018. See our article, Anatomy of a Resident Lawsuit: A $50 Million False Negative?
Update: 15 Sept 2018. Public access to courts via PACER provides the Brantl case documents. As of today, it appears that Mizzou has filed a motion for dismissal, claiming that it is a state government body that is immune from citizen lawsuit. Dr. Brantl has filed for leave (an extension or deviation for the case), in order to amend the complaint, challenge that motion and to investigate the potential for a federal lawsuit. Therein, Brantl introduces the very important concept of federal fund use for residency programs, such that violation of residency guidelines may have federal court implications. (U.S. residency programs are funded annually with $15 Billion in CMS/Medicare taxpayer dollars for direct and indirect graduate medical education costs – without any congressional or federal oversight – only that of the privately held corporation, the ACGME.) Mizzou has filed a motion in opposition of granting leave.
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