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Prominent heart surgeon sues Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services Office.
Alberta Health Services Office. File/Global News

EDMONTON — A prominent surgeon in a legal battle with Alberta Health Services says the dispute has resulted in longer waits for people needing open heart surgery.

Doctor Dennis Modry is suing AHS and a group of senior physicians and administrators, alleging they conspired to restrict and eventually suspend his operating privileges.

Modry performed the first heart transplant in Western Canada in 1985 and became head of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.

His lawsuit alleges that AHS “ambushed” him in 2010 with false allegations of poor clinical practice that included concerns that his patients died more frequently than patients of other surgeons.

He alleges that Alberta Health Services staff prepared other false reports in 2013 that stated his mortality and complication rates were too high.

Modry’s lawsuit alleges conspiracy, breach of contract, defamation and malicious prosecution. Along with damages, he is seeking reinstatement with full medical privileges.

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Allegations in statements of claim have not been proven in court.

AHS says there is no conspiracy and restrictions placed on Modry did not have a big effect on surgery waiting lists.

In its statement of defence, the health agency says reviews of Modry’s performance were done in good faith.