Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit Filed Against Santa Barbara Surgical Center
A lawsuit has been filed against the Santa Barbara Surgical Center alleging wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation, age discrimination, and several other illegal practices.
Two former employees, Laura Dahlin and Annette Eddy, hired Anticouni & Associates to represent them against the surgical center located at 3045 De La Vina Street.
Eddy worked for the surgical center since 2007 and was recently promoted to Clinical Manager and Dahlin was hired by the surgery center in 2014 as a healthcare administrator and infection preventionist. Both were terminated this year.
The complaint alleges Santa Barbra Surgical Center was not in compliance with medical regulations, federal and state laws, and was intentionally in direct violation of these laws. The former employees reportedly witnessed a failure to maintain sterile techniques by the staff, unsafe and unlawful control of opiates which allegedly led to employee access and possession of these drugs who may have issues with opiate addiction.
Eddy and Dahlin reportedly contacted Dr. Gary Anderson, an anesthesiologist who is the surgical center's Medical Director and a member of the board, with these complaints. Dr. Anderson allegedly told them to turn a blind eye to the sterilization violations claiming those doctors would take their business elsewhere if required to maintain sterile environments.
The allegations continue with claims of doctors forcing nurses to forge doctor's signatures, violations of anti-kickback statutes, Anderson's failure to justify his Medical Director stipend, age discrimination, and a sexual misconduct claim involving a patient and a doctor that went unaddressed.
Eddy and Dahlin claim they were fired from their positions at the Santa Barbara Surgical Center by Dr. Anderson because they brought these issues to light.
Dahlin stated that after she pushed Dr. Anderson to file a report regarding the sexual misconduct against a patient by a local doctor, she was given a negative unscheduled performance review. After submitting a written dispute of the performance review to the board with evidence to support her claim, she was terminated the following week.
The complaint also alleges the doctors made sexist comments toward middle-aged women with one doctor stating they should only staff "young, good-looking nurses." The former employees feel they were also fired being the two oldest employees of the 50-person staff. Dahlin was 59 and Eddy was 54 at the time of their termination.
Edhat has reached out to the Santa Barbara Surgical Center for comment but as of Tuesday afternoon, have not heard back.
The complete complaint filing is available below.