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Cardiologists accuse TX hospital of discrimination

The Texas Tribune, May 16, 2011

The emails and memos written by administrators and doctors at Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, TX about three of their colleagues of Indian descent are, at best, derogatory. An operating room chief wrote of trying to force "the Indians off the reservation." Others wrote about their "Indian troubles," or labeled the hospital's two rival cardiology practices as "the Cowboys" and "the Indians." But whether racial animus led Citizens Medical, a county-owned hospital, to close its cardiology unit to non-staff doctors -- effectively revoking the privileges of Drs. Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla and Dakshesh Kumar Parikh to practice there -- is the subject of fierce debate and a discrimination lawsuit filed by the three doctors in federal district court in the Southern District of Texas. The dispute has divided Victoria's close-knit medical community, where many longtime doctors and hospital officials say that it is not about race -- the city has long been home to doctors of all ethnicities and nationalities -- but a struggle over egos and influence gone awry.