HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Physicians with Pacific Radiation Oncology said The Queen's Medical Center denied their patients treatment and wanted to establish an absolute monopoly on radiation cancer treatment on Oahu.
Last year, Queen's told all Oahu oncologists they'd have to work for the hospital if they wanted to continue to use its radiation oncology services. Queen's said the policy would improve patient satisfaction and quality of care. But Dr. John Lederer calls it a power play to corner the market that left cancer patients in the lurch.
"What happens to a patient tomorrow that finds out they have prostate cancer and that I'm the one who's done 1,500 of these procedures, and the alternative doctor has done two procedures? Now they're being told that I can't perform that procedure because the hospital won't let me enter to do it," he said.
When Hawaii Medical Center closed, Queen's became the only facility on Oahu with an operating room federally approved for radiation procedures requiring hospital treatment.
Attorney Mark Davis said Queen's wanted to leverage that position. "The patients were becoming the pawns in this attempt to grab the market in the face of the closing of the two hospitals," he said. Lederer and his colleagues sued in federal court, accusing Queen's of unfair business practices and anti-trust violations.
"As part of the lawsuit, several cancer patients came forward, hired their own attorney to assert their right to have their continued treatment," Davis said.
On Tuesday, United States District Judge Leslie Kobayashi ordered Queen's to allow Lederer access to its facility for certain specialized radiation procedures. The injunction is in place until the court dissolves it.
Lederer said Pacific Radiation Oncology will eventually build its own treatment facility at the old HMC East site so they will "no longer have any kind of ongoing need to use the Queen's Medical Center for these very particular services."
Queen's declined Hawaii News Now's request for comment.
The Medical Center will appeal the injunction.