Lawsuit claims Southwest Regional Medical Center fired employee for complaining about law violations

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A Greene County woman who claims that she sought to blow the whistle on patient care problems at a Waynesburg hospital sued her former employer this morning, claiming administrators violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and other laws.

Marie Gillispie, whose age and town of residence were not immediately available, worked for the Southwest Regional Medical Center in Waynesburg for 13 years, including periods as director of acute care services and quality project coordinator, according to the complaint.

In late 2012, she had a series of concerns about patient care that were brushed aside by Southwest Regional Medical Center CEO Cynthia Cowie, according to the complaint in U.S. District Court.

Ms. Gillispie thought the hospital should report to the Department of Health and Patient Safety Authority the transfer of a pregnant woman to Uniontown Hospital that was done without required notifications, according to the complaint.

She argued for reporting "grossly negligent" care leading to the death of an ICU patient, and inadequate care that led to a woman developing skin ulcers and "necrotic areas on a finger and above and around her lip," according to the complaint.

"Cowie replied that there would be no investigation" of the woman's care, according to the complaint. "She stated that this would be a 'million dollar lawsuit' if the patient's family were to find this out."

Ms. Cowie, according to the complaint, told Ms. Gillispie to leave the premises on Oct. 26, 2012, and fired her days later.

Ms. Gillispie seeks compensatory and punitive damages, plus payment of attorney fees, according to the complaint filed by attorney Noah Geary.

Neither Ms. Cowie nor the hospital's public relations office could be immediately reached for comment.

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