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Local doctor suing Wellstar over racial discrimination; attorneys say it’s part of a bigger issue


A metro Atlanta neurosurgeon, Dr. Dare Adewumi is suing Wellstar Health System saying he lost his dream job after the hospital system and high-ranking doctors there undermined him because of his race.

One of Adewumi’s attorneys, CK Hoffler, said Adewumi is suing Wellstar Medical Group and Wellstar Health Systems Inc. for racial discrimination. He told a local reporter that there’s a federal case over his claims and similar things are happening to African American doctors nationwide. He also accused Wellstar of hiding the suit from public view in addition to key documents. Several groups are looking into a systemic issue involving Black doctors, including one headed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Dr. Dare Adewumi said that as a neurosurgeon, he operated on the brain and spine. He alleges that less than a year after he went to work at Wellstar Cobb Hospital, insiders in the Wellstar system were operating against him.

“There I was, a young Black man, a young Black neurosurgeon who was doing well, my surgeries were going well, my career was blossoming, my reputation was blooming, and all of a sudden I received all these letters attacking everything from my character to my surgeries,” Adewumi said. “The way I was being treated was very different from the way my white colleagues were being treated.”

“This is happening during a time when we need doctors, we need Black doctors,” Hoffler said. She alleges that Adewumi is one of many African American doctors across the country who have been similarly victimized through the use of often-anonymous, subjective internal procedures. “We have seen a pattern,” Hoffler said. Medical organizations and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, are investigating. “Even the playing field. Be fair,” Jackson said about the situation. It also appears that several documents in the case have been sealed and hidden from public view. 

Wellstar has filed a motion to dismiss requests for public viewing. An attorney representing Wellstar said in a written statement, “Wellstar does not discriminate. Dr. Adewumi has not been the subject of discrimination or unfair treatment. Patient care and safety are Wellstar’s top priorities.”

“For the first 10 months, things went well. I did roughly 100 surgeries,” Adewumi said. He suddenly was flooded with letters of inquiry, which are often the result of an anonymous peer review process. “We had an independent doctor, highly skilled top doctor to review all of the inquiries who concluded that there was no deviation of the standard of care,” Hoffler said.

Adewumi said he was put on a 12-month performance plan and after 11 years of medical training culminating in a brain tumor fellowship at Emory University Hospital, a senior Wellstar doctor treated him like an intern. “I did everything they asked me to do.” But before the 12 months were up, Wellstar terminated him. “(They said) I had done nothing wrong, and the termination was because the proper relationships were not fostered,” Adewumi said of what an executive told him. 

Adewumi said he has had two good neurosurgery job offers since that didn’t pan out because the incomplete action plan creates a credentialing problem for prospective employers. Adewumi claims that Wellstar’s actions have “Completely paralyzed him and prevented him from getting another job.”

Hoffler said the suit also names Northside Hospital Inc. because despite excelling there as an independent contractor after the Wellstar termination, Adewumi lost out on a full-time job to an allegedly less-qualified Caucasian doctor. 


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