APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
529 N.E.2d 1014, 175 Ill. App. 3d 439, 124 Ill. Dec. 897 1988.IL.1441
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph Wosik, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE MANNING delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MANNING
Plaintiff, Dr. Dennis Gates, an orthopedic surgeon, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County dismissing his nine-count complaint against defendants Holy Cross Hospital; Sister M. Dorothea, president and chief executive officer of the hospital; Eugene Diamond, executive vice-president; and Dr. Peter F. Jokocko, president of the hospital's medical staff and chairman of the executive committee. The circuit court entered judgment for the defendants, and the plaintiff filed the present appeal.
On February 16, 1984, clinical and admitting privileges of Dr. Dennis Gates were summarily suspended by Sister M. Dorothea. These privileges were suspended because on February 15, 1984, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., while Dr. Gates was on scheduled call, he was unavailable to the emergency room staff due to the inoperation of his pager.
Article VII, section 2, of the medical staff bylaws provides that the chief executive officer "shall have the authority whenever action must be taken immediately in the best interest of patient care in the hospital, to summarily suspend all of any portion of the clinical privileges of a practitioner, and such summary suspension shall become effective immediately upon imposition." It was pursuant to this provision that Dr. Gates' suspension took place. The suspension was terminated by Sister Dorothea on March 19, 1984, and Dr. Gates was reinstated to the medical staff. During the 32-day period of suspension Dr. Gates continued to care for acutely injured patients.
On February 21, 1984, Dr. Gates wrote a letter to Sister Dorothea explaining why he was unavailable on February 15, 1984, and stating that, "If you still wish me to appear before a special convening of the executive committee, I will do so." The bylaws provide that a practitioner whose clinical privileges have been summarily suspended shall be entitled to a hearing before the executive committee within a reasonable time.
On March 6, 1984, and March 13, 1984, Dr. Gates requested an executive committee hearing. On April 11, 1984, Dr. Jokocko advised Dr. Gates that the executive committee met on April 10, 1984, and recommended termination of the suspension. This recommendation occurred 22 days after Sister Dorothea had previously terminated the suspension. Moreover, the executive committee hearing was held 28 days after Dr. Gates' last request for a hearing in violation of article VIII, section 3.1, of the bylaws, which require that a hearing will be held not more than 20 days from the receipt date of the request.
Dr. Gates was entitled to a hearing before an ad hoc hearing committee pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the bylaws. Specifically, pursuant to article VIII of the bylaws, plaintiff has a right to a hearing and appellate review. Article VIII, section 1.1, provides:
"When any practitioner receives notice of a recommendation of the executive committee that, if ratified by decision of the governing body, will adversely affect his status as a member of the Medical Staff or his exercise of clinical privileges, he shall be entitled to a hearing before an ad hoc committee of the medical staff. If the recommendation of the executive committee following such hearing is still adverse to the affected practitioner he shall then be entitled to an appellate review by the governing body before the governing body makes a final decision on the matter." *fn1
On April 19, 1984, and April 27, 1984, Dr. Gates requested an appellate hearing before the ad hoc committee of the medical staff to challenge the suspension. This hearing was held on May 16, 1984, which was 27 days after plaintiff's original request for an ad hoc committee hearing, also in violation of article VIII, section 3.1, of the bylaws. The ad hoc committee submitted a report to the executive committee on May 21, 1984, stating that, "We strongly feel that inadvertent failure to answer an emergency room call may not be truly dangerous to a patient's welfare and should not mandate a summary suspension." However, the ad hoc committee simultaneously determined that Dr. Gates' earlier failure to provide the emergency room with names of alternate physicians does justify a suspension.
Although article VIII, section 5, provides that "the hearing committee shall make a written report and recommendation and shall forward the same together with the hearing record and all other documentation to the executive committee or to the governing body, which ever appointed it," there is nothing in the record to indicate that the executive ...