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VA surgeon Barbara Temeck stands tall after federal prosecutors dropped the government’s case against her last week.

Temeck, a former member of leadership at Cincinnati VA, spent $500,000 in legal fees defending herself against “thin” allegations that she unlawfully prescribed drugs to a colleague’s wife. Temeck claimed the charges were the result of a witch hunt trying to strike back at her for opposing mismanagement at the facility involving University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health.

According to Temeck, she was retaliated against for pushing back against the university for trying to manipulate federal resources. After pushing back, certain individuals within leadership at the facility began to complain about her leadership. Once Temeck came forward, VA began to dig for dirt, or so the story goes.

For some background:

The VA investigated the leadership complaints against Temeck and found them without merit. But the WCPO stories also accused Temeck of improperly using her federal prescription-writing license to benefit the wife of her former VA regional boss.

After more than a year of investigation and negotiation between the U.S. attorney and Dusing, a federal grand jury indicted Temeck on three charges of wrongfully prescribing drugs for the wife. Dusing accused VA leaders of prodding the U.S. attorney to pursue the case against Temeck although no other VA official had been pursued as Temeck had been.

In January, a federal jury in Cincinnati acquitted Temeck of two counts and convicted her of one. But in July, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett, who presided at the trial, threw out the conviction. He ruled that the U.S. attorney’s office had brought such a thin case against Temeck that the trial prosecutors in effect ended up “waving the wrong gun around in closing argument in a felon-in-possession case.”

Attorney Benjamin Dusing, who represents Temeck, called the case “an instance, the most glaring of my career, of the federal criminal apparatus, in all its intimidation and glory, being brought to bear for reasons that really did not involve enforcing the federal criminal laws.”

Dusing praised Temeck’s refusal to back down. “It takes so much for individual citizens to not bow to the pressure applied. It is really the unique individual that is able to stand up, and to pay to be able to stand up, and say no, ‘I didn’t do this, and I’m going to put the government to its proof.’ ”

Temeck is now vindicated and will likely have a significant civil case against VA for wrongful termination since it was unable to secure a conviction.

Temeck fills her solitary pursuits. “I pray a lot. I read. I do my walks. I go to the library. I go to the post office, or I go to Kroger. If I can get back to work, and again, if it’s the right thing to do in Cincinnati, then otherwise, wherever God wills it. I think ultimately I will win, but I won’t count any chickens before the eggs are hatched.”

Temeck, a cardiothoracic surgeon, will have significant damages if she is able to prove a wrongful termination case.

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18 Comments

  1. The VA got it’s pantys in was because this doctor decided to speak up and point flaws so the system went after her and license, she was vindicated so maybe a new job and new place maybe relocating to different state and put this nightmare behind, and don’t forget your money, your restitution and reputatio you stood your ground

  2. All Santa’s reindeer really don’t know what to think about this so all gave their very best unison Christmas Eve collective reindeer chili fart because something already doesn’t smell quite right here…

  3. Don’t forget the money and go after the School too. Same shit that went on the LA in the 1990s and because of my complaints, documents from my file have gone missing. But they didn’t clean good enough. Some that point to what was removed is still there. I’m in two Courts with complaints. The CAVC and the 10th Circuit. But only if the courts hold the VA responsible and the Directors get fired, the VA GC lose their admission to the Courts for covering up, etc. will things correct.

  4. Um sorry Ben but she cant win a “wrongful termination” case as she, like all doctors in the VA are “AT WILL” workers and can be terminated for any reason. They have no unions to back them up or try and get them their jobs back. And as an attorney you know good and well what an “at will” employee is. Was she fired for cause? I cant say as I dont know the ins and outs of the case, but I do know that she wont ever work at a VA facility again. The VA was embarrassed and they wont rehire someone who does this to them, and since she is an “at will” employee there is no judge in the world that is going to be able to force the VA to hire her back, if she had a legal contract with the VA then that would be different as she could go after them for breaking her contract.

    This happened in Indiana as one of the doctors in the Indianapolis VAMC was writing prescriptions for the Regional Director, who they happened to be married to. When it was found out the spouse in Indianapolis was terminated and the Regional Director was also terminated. The Regional Director fought to get their job back and the Judge told them the exact same thing, “You are an at will employee and as such you can be terminated for any reason the VA decides to use and you have no legal case against it”

    My advice to her is just to either retire and live a life of retirement, or to get another job in a different hospital as she wont be going back to the VA

    • @Dan Have you been under a rock? I do not want to be rude, but you need a quick education about the difference between government employees, who are not at-will, political appointees who serve at the discretion of the president, and members of the general public.

      The President can fire his political appointees. Members of the general public can be fired at-will without any explanation. Government employees can only be fired “for cause,” and the government must adhere to the Constitution since their jobs are considered property protected by property rights requiring due process procedures prior to removal. This is just a general summary an not a legal treatise on the subject.

      The example you provided are examples where the senior employees violated the law. They can be fired in instances where the legal violation warrants termination so long as the agency follows due process procedures. They are not and have not been At-Will employees. Whoever told you as much does not know what they are talking about. The argument you provided above includes that they fought back suggesting they fought back during the termination process. At-Will employees do not enjoy such a process.

      Ever hear about Trumps Accountability Act or 38 USC 714, Title 5, SES or Title 38 employers at VA? The only At-Will employees inside VA are political appointees like Secretary Wilkie. Everyone else including Temeck are not. I know this because it is in the news all the time about AFGE control over many of VA policies and procedures in part because of the Property Interest union members enjoy.

      Also, you err in concluding no doctors are members of the AFGE union. In some locations, the doctors are also union members.

      Here is a quick link to an article that explains the difference between Government employees and everyone else. https://www.tlnt.com/employment-at-will-the-most-commonly-misunderstood-workplace-principle/

      • And to think I was merely going to take a holiday poke at Ben about using “Witch Hunt” instead of something like “Institutional Retaliation”. “Witch hunt” now being part of our reality teevee twitter tweet vox populi horseshit, thus reducing his own arguments to the dust bin of de minimis jargon.

        Nope – not today. Ben be swingin, and swingin hard.

        Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good fight.

      • Bottom of the ninth, Score tied at 1 – 1.

        Dan’s on the mound. Ben steps into the box. There’s the windup, and the pitch. Looks like a fast-breaking sinker outside and away.

        Ben swings. And it’s a long fly ball deep into left. It’s going back – – – back – – – back – – -WAY BACK! It looks like it might be – – – it could be – – – IT IS! A Home Run!!!!!

        And the crowd roars their thanks for the references . . .

      • Aforementioned gassy reindeer all take a collective dump on Dan’s rock so he will crawl-out and smell the disinfecting qualities of Ben’s light of accountability; the VA kryptonite.

        (even the reindeer art tooting for you, Ben)

  5. I hope Barbara Temeck burns VA and that University for the illegal termination!

    Oh, before I forget-
    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

  6. A university in Il. purposely exposed a scientist to a deadly virus and then purposely with held antibiotics to save his life. The reason, the doctor wasn’t securing 150 million dollars in federal funding fast enough. He suffered horribly for 2 weeks and then died. Universities are just more criminal operations wanting many millions of free money to do experiments in a wide variety of horrific ways on any patient in their “care”. The military has great operational run in universities in states like CA & ILL.. It is all so very truly evil to get many millions at any cost. Human cost.

  7. “The federal criminal apparatus, in all it’s intimidation and glory, being brought to bear for reasons that really did not involve the enforcing of federal criminal law”.. That must have been awful, I mean AWFUL.
    Congratulations, Dr. Temeck, what an epic battle of “splitting hairs” that must have been .

    • The VA will, and as you have read, setup innocent people, for prison time or worse, a truly despicable bunch, and if they would do that to one of there own, an indoctrinated member of team VA., well i think we all know the rest of the story. But as always the VA was probably able to cover up much more in damages than it payed out.

  8. 12/28/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    There is another Christmas gift under the tree for the VA [VA surgeon Barbara Temeck’s vindication].

    The Gifts just keep on coming.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

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