Lawsuit Claims Aspiring Minority Doctors Left In ‘Educational Limbo’


A medical school that trains minority students filed a $125 million lawsuit that claims Los Angeles County breached its contract by leaving the school without an accredited teaching hospital.

Administrators at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science are accusing county officials of mishandling operations at the King-Drew Medical Center, leading to a decision to downsize the inner-city hospital and leaving 248 residents in “educational limbo,” according to the suit filed Monday in Compton Superior Court.

“We are eager to have our day in court to provide a forum for all the victims of the county’s unconscionable disregard for this university’s inspired mission … and, most acutely, the poor and indigent of the community who have no voice and now have unacceptable alternatives for their health care,” says the university’s president, Dr. Susan Kelly.

Michael Wilson, a spokesman for the county Department of Health Services, said Monday he was unable to comment on pending litigation.

In recent years, King/Drew’s reputation has been marred by a series of incidents, including patient deaths blamed on sloppy nursing care. The medical school has also been accused of doing a poor job training new doctors. The county decided to shrink the hospital and place it under the control of nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Center last fall after King/Drew failed a critical federal inspection.

The renamed Harbor-MLK Community Hospital essentially was transformed from a 537-bed teaching hospital that served mostly Black and Hispanic patients into a community inpatient facility with basic services.

After failing the federal inspection, the hospital was expected to lose $200 million in Medicare funding last fall — more than half its budget — but federal officials agreed to continue funding through April 30.

— Associated Press

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