Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Cook County doctor sues Granite City hospital, staff for alleged defamation

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Mar 6, 2018

EDWARDSVILLE — A Cook County doctor alleges several Granite City hospital administrators and doctors falsely accused him of being mentally unstable, damaging his reputation. 

Rajeev Varma MD filed a complaint on March 1 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Mark Edward Cunningham, Sam White, Michael Adams, Gateway Regional medical Center, Heartland Regional Medical Center, et. al., alleging that they conspired to broadcast to the hospital staff that he was mentally insane, unstable and incompetent.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff is the owner, manager and member of Pulmonary Critical Care Solutions and has earned "a good clinical reputation, with excellence in clinical care particularly in the delivery of critical care medicine, pulmonary medicine, and sleep medicine." 

Pulmonary Critical Care began a professional services agreement with Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City on May 4, 2015. Then on Oct. 31, 2016, Pulmonary Critical Care began a professional services agreement with Heartland Regional Medical Center. 

In his complaint, Varma claims the defendants broadcasted to hospital staff on March 2 that the plaintiff was disruptive, incompetent and mentally unstable. They also allegedly told staff that Varma was keeping patients on ventilators for a lengthy period of time and that medical staff questioned his clinical integrity. 

Varma alleges Cunningham instructed staff to notify him if the plaintiff was seen on hospital site, indicating that the plaintiff would be removed. 

"Thus, Edward Cunningham created a aura and perception that I have done some egregious action when I haven't done anything at all," the suit states. 

Cunningham is the CEO, White is the COO and Adams is the CMO of Gateway Regional Medical Center. 

As a result of defendants' alleged libelous statements, Varma claims he has suffered loss of reputation, shame, emotional distress and damages in millions of dollars. 

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest, costs and all other relief that is just and proper.

Varma is representing himself pro se. 

Madison County Circuit Court case number 18-L-147

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