Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Outspoken physician sues Largo Medical Center after it revokes his privileges

LARGO — A Pinellas County physician and outspoken critic of Largo Medical Center and its corporate owner says his civil rights were violated after an administrator accused him of being a "terrorist."

Kidney specialist Dr. Abraham Awwad, a Palestinian Christian, on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against Largo Medical Center over its decision to revoke his privileges to practice there. When Awwad questioned the quality of patient care at the hospital, the lawsuit states, a hospital official told him, "That's not how we do things at Largo Medical. You're practicing medicine the Palestinian way."

Largo Medical Center officials did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Awwad, a U.S. citizen, moved to Florida when he was 14. Before going into private practice, he completed a fellowship in nephrology at the University of South Florida.

He has publicly criticized two of the Pinellas hospitals where he has practiced — Largo Medical and Northside Hospital, both owned by the HCA hospital chain. Since 2006, Awwad has filed complaints with the state over the quality of their dialysis treatment and other patient care issues.

He claims that Largo Medical's decision to revoke his staff privileges followed one of his complaints involving a patient who died when dialysis was not started on time.

In that case, featured in a 2009 St. Petersburg Times article, the doctor ordered dialysis for a 70-year-old man with acute kidney failure, beginning no later than 6 a.m. The patient died about 11 a.m., after not receiving dialysis treatment.

State inspectors responding to Awwad's complaints found serious deficiencies in Largo Medical's dialysis program, run by an outside vendor. Awwad's actions led hospital administrators to limit his staff privileges, then revoke them entirely in May, said Awwad's attorney, John Goldsmith.

Goldsmith said Largo Medical "ran roughshod" over its own bylaws detailing how it can discipline a physician.

The state investigation at Largo Medical came less than a year after regulators suspended the dialysis program at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg following physicians' complaints about its outside dialysis provider.

Awwad said he told Northside administrators about the problem, who responded by threatening his staff privileges there. Yet he never lost privileges at Northside, his attorney said, where he can continue to practice without restriction. He also has staff privileges at Edward White Hospital and St. Petersburg General Hospital, both HCA properties, as well as St. Anthony's Hospital, all in St. Petersburg.

About 90 percent of Awwad's practice was at Largo Medical, his attorney said, noting hospitals are important referral bases for nephrologists, who often see patients for the first time when complications arise during a hospital stay.

Since his Largo Medical privileges were revoked, Awwad has significantly reduced the hours at his North Pinellas practice, leaving him mainly practicing at his south county office. He is seeking unspecified financial damages from Largo Medical.

Awwad is asking for a court injunction to restore his staff privileges there. He also wants the hospital to rescind a report it made to a national physicians' database claiming that his privileges were revoked because of poor quality of care.

Letitia Stein can be reached at or (727) 893-8330. For more health news, visit

Outspoken physician sues Largo Medical Center after it revokes his privileges 07/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 25, 2011 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table


    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers


    Walk 6.2 kilometers


    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.