License restriction does not change suit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 1999

A decision by the Mississippi State Medical Licensure Board to restrict Dr. Jamie Warnick’s medical license should have no impact on the ongoing lawsuit Warnick filed against Natchez Community Hospital, according to attorneys on both sides of the case.

&uot;Litigation is still ongoing,&uot; said Doug Miracle, attorney with Armstrong Allen Pruett Gentry Johnston & Holmes law firm in Jackson, which represents Natchez Community Hospital.

Earlier this year, Warnick’s medical license was placed under an order of prohibition by the state medical licensure board in response to reports from the two Natchez hospitals that Warnick had difficulty performing certain procedures.

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Warnick’s medical license was reinstated by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure in July with a detailed list of conditions, according to documents released by the licensure board last week.

This comes after Warnick filed a suit in Chancery Court in November 1998 alleging that Natchez Community Hospital discriminated against her on the basis of her gender. She also alleged that she was denied due process in the appeals process to have her privileges at that hospital reinstated.

&uot;The law requires the chancellor – in this case Chancery Judge George Ward in Natchez – to determine whether Dr. Warnick received due process from the hospital, not whether they were right in suspending privileges,&uot; he said.

Lisa Jordan, attorney for Warnick, agreed that Warnick’s suit against Natchez Community is completely separate from the medical licensure board decision.

&uot;This case questions the procedure used by Natchez Community prior to them instituting disciplinary procedures – it’s about whether Dr. Warnick received due process,&uot; Jordan said.

&uot;Judge Ward has taken the case under review,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;The next step will be for him to get back with the attorneys in the case and say how he wants us to proceed.&uot;

In December 1998, the state licensure board received a report from Natchez Community Hospital notifying the board that the hospital had restricted Warnick’s privileges to practice medicine at that hospital.

&uot;At the point of annual review, the Department of Pediatrics Chairman stated there have been observations made of Dr. Warnick having difficulty at time with intubation of infants,&uot; the report from Natchez Community stated. &uot;After thorough review and investigation of documented incidents, the Board of Trustees at Natchez Community Hospital approved her appointment to the Medical Staff with the exception of resuscitation of infants privilege.&uot;

The report also pointed out that this action represented a reduction in Warnick’s privileges from her initial appointment to Natchez Community’s medical staff.

On June 8, the state licensure board received a report from Natchez Regional Medical Center that Warnick’s privileges at that hospital had been suspended effective June 3.

The statement from Natchez Regional relates an incident at that hospital in April in which Warnick attempted to insert a breathing tube for a newborn, and the child died five and a half hours afterward.

The medical staff at Natchez Regional suspended Warnick’s privileges in newborn infant care and critical care.

The licensure board reinstated Warnick’s medical license this July with the following exclusions:

n Warnick’s practice is limited to general pediatrics, and she is not to perform resuscitation or intubation on any infant or newborn. She is also excluded from performing any infant critical care procedures until she has successfully completed additional training in critical care pediatrics and neonatal resuscitation approved in advance by the state licensure board.

n Upon completion of the additional training required above, Warnick will practice infant critical care and resuscitation/intubation under the immediate supervision of another physician approved in advance by the state licensure board.