Retaliation Against George S. Cohlmia, Jr., M.D.
Dr. Cohlmia is a licensed physician in the state of Oklahoma
specializing in cardiovascular, thoracic, vascular and endovascular surgery. Dr. Cohlmia served a significant percentage of
the cardiovascular, thoracic, vascular and endovascular surgery patients in Oklahoma including the underserved Native American population.
Excerpt from Opinion and Order in Cohlmia v. Ardent Health Services
Because of Plaintiffs’ relative market share, Defendants perceived Dr. Cohlmia as a
significant economic competitor and a threat to certain of their actual and desired market share.
Further, Dr. Cohlmia was involved in the development of a specialty heart and
vascular hospital, which facility Plaintiffs believe was also perceived as a threat by Defendants.
In or around the spring of 2002, after news of Dr. Cohlmia’s plans for a specialty
hospital had been divulged, Defendants, individually and in combinations, began to take actions
interpreted by Plaintiffs as interfering with Plaintiffs’ ability to practice medicine.
For example, Defendant OHI agreed to help Defendant HMC recruit and hire an employee
cardiovascular surgeon, and to make surgical referrals only to the new employee surgeon, and to
boycott Plaintiffs. After the new employee surgeon was hired, Dr. Cohlmia, in his role
as HMC’s Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, grew concerned about the surgeon’s competence and
was labeled by certain Defendants as a “whistle blower” for speaking out about his concern.
Around this time, Defendant HMC, together with Defendants Garfinkel, Kempe, CVT,
OHI, Leimbach, Johnson, Dobbs, Landgarten, Roberts, Chen, and other non-party physicians
affiliated with OHI and/or Defendant hospitals, began to tell other medical professionals and
patients that Dr. Cohlmia was being stripped of his credentials and privileges, and to refuse to
refer patients to Dr. Cohlmia or otherwise allow patients to see him, sign off or threaten to sign
off of any cases in which Dr. Cohlmia was involved, and otherwise interfere with Plaintiffs’
reputation and livelihood. When Dr. Cohlmia began to admit more patients to
SJMC as a result, Defendants SJMC, Kempe, Allred, CVT, Burnett, and other non-party
physicians began to complain about Dr. Cohlmia and his under- or uninsured Native American
patients, and to scrutinize his files for something to use against him, resulting in his being
“summarily suspended” for “bizarre” and “profoundly deranged” medical judgment with regard
to two surgeries he performed at SJMC.
Read U.S. District Court Opinion