Surgeon plans suit against Hospitals Board for allegedly breaching deal
Plastic surgeon Christopher Johnson plans to sue Bermuda Hospitals Board for more than a million dollars for allegedly reneging on a legal agreement reached earlier this year.
And he claims BHB misled taxpayers about the terms of the agreement by claiming it had not made any payment to him, when it actually paid some $60,000 to his malpractice insurer as part of an out-of-court settlement.
Dr Johnson told The Royal Gazette: “That statement that was made to The Royal Gazette [on June 10] was patently false. They paid about $60,000 to my malpractice insurer to cover my malpractice insurance. That was the agreement.”
The surgeon and BHB fell out after a joint plan to open an outpatient endoscopy centre, under the auspices of controversial health partnership scheme HPL, went awry.
Dr Johnson and another doctor held talks with Donald Thomas, then chief of staff at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, about Bermuda Outpatient Surgery, as it was to be called.
But the scheme never got off the ground and Dr Johnson issued a writ against BHB for loss of earnings last year.
He issued a second writ earlier this year regarding the suspension of his hospital privileges, which were later reinstated.
This newspaper asked BHB about both writs and was told by a spokeswoman on June 10: “The parties have reached a mutually beneficial agreement and there has been no payment to Dr Johnson.”
Yesterday, the surgeon shared e-mails showing details of an agreement he made with BHB on June 5, which stated that he would drop his two lawsuits and the board would pay $60,000 “tail cover” and temporarily reinstate his hospital privileges, pending his application for full privileges.
He also shared a fresh writ drafted by lawyer Simone Smith-Bean, of Charter Chambers, seeking damages of $1,127,000 from BHB.
Dr Johnson said it would shortly be filed at the Supreme Court but declined to discuss the details of his claim.
A BHB spokeswoman said last night: “The BHB is unaware of the cited legal proceedings involving Dr Johnson.
“Dr Johnson is a surgeon in private practice who had privileges to use the hospital's facilities. He is not an employee.
“Contrary to BHB rules for privileged physicians, Dr Johnson had been practicing without malpractice insurance.
“As part of an agreement with Dr Johnson, BHB paid $60,000 to insurers to procure retrospective insurance cover for activities undertaken at KEMH for the relevant period. No payments were made to Dr Johnson.”