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Doctor sues Cedar Rapids residency program for gender discrimination

Catherine Hansen alleges female residents assigned more cases

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An Iowa City doctor is suing a Cedar Rapids medical residency program, accusing it of gender discrimination, wrongful termination and defamation.

Dr. Catherine Hansen alleges in a lawsuit filed Jan. 15 in Linn County she was given more work than her male peers completing residencies with the Cedar Rapids Medical Education Foundation. She also says she was punished when she reported patient-safety issues.

The foundation is affiliated with the Eastern Iowa Health Center, a Cedar Rapids center that provides family practice and OB/GYN services primarily to people on Medicaid.

Hansen became a resident physician with the foundation in June 2012, the lawsuit states. Toward the end of her first year, she noticed she and other female residents were assigned more patients and, at least in Hansen’s case, had more patients who required additional time because of complex medical needs or language barriers, the lawsuit states.

At some points, Hansen said she was working more than 80 hours a week, which is prohibited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. When she complained, Hansen says, she lost privileges at the center.

Foundation Director Donal Kevin Gordon, named as a co-defendant in the suit, fired Hansen in 2014. He submitted a letter to the Electronic Residency Application Service implying that Hansen was unable to adequately care for patients, the lawsuit states.

Now “Dr. Hansen is unable to complete her residency to obtain her medical license,” the lawsuit states.

Hansen is seeking financial compensation for lost wages, emotional distress and mental anguish, as well as punitive costs. The foundation did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

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