A Northwestern University cardiologist who sparked a federal investigation into a fellow physician for alleged misconduct was fired after being denied tenure.
Dr. Nalini Rajamannan, who was an associate professor of medicine at the university, believes she was fired for providing evidence to federal investigators and for challenging the university’s star surgeon.
In 2008, Rajamannan accused cardiac surgeon Dr. Patrick McCarthy of implanting an experimental Myxo ring, invented by McCarthy and manufactured by Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE:EW), without obtaining informed consent from the patient.
“The device in question, originally known as the Myxo annuloplasty ring, has been at the center of an FDA investigation, a Senate inquiry, and a number of lawsuits against the annuloplasty ring’s inventor, Dr. Patrick McCarthy (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL), his hospital, and ring manufacturer Edwards Lifesciences," Heartwire reported.
Northwestern claims Rajamannan was terminated only because she was denied tenure, despite the fact that she had funding from the National Institutes of Health well into 2012. Rajamannan believes she was fired for providing federal investigators with evidence that one patient implanted with the device suffered a heart attack during surgery.
"Prior to the time I first brought this issue to the attention of my superiors at Northwestern, I was enjoying a successful career and anticipated making tenure and ending my career at that institution," Rajamannan told Heartwire."However, I didn’t know my career would end so quickly and end, no doubt, as a result of the revelations I made. Since I brought the issue of the implantation of the Myxo ring without informed consent to the attention of hospital officials, my career has taken an unexpected downward spiral."
Rajamannan has claimed that the university attempted to silence her when she first brought her concerns to chief of cardiology Dr. Robert Bonow.
"You don’t cross Pat McCarthy," Rajamannan claims she was told, "We’re going to separate you, so don’t pursue this."