CHARLESTON (AP) — A group of cancer doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina took confidential information to a competitor in an effort to establish a new treatment facility, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
MUSC filed the lawsuit in state court on Monday against six of its departing doctors and HCA Healthcare, which owns North Charleston-based Trident Medical Center.
Charleston-based MUSC wants a judge to halt what it termed the "wholesale departure of physicians, nurses, technicians, staff and fellows" from the hospital's head and neck oncology division to Trident's new facility in an effort to impede MUSC's ability to compete, news outlets reported.
The doctors sought information including case logs, patient lists and other data that belongs to MUSC in the months leading up to and after they announced their resignations, the medical research university alleged in a complaint.
It would take Trident eight to 10 years to independently develop the "misappropriated confidential and proprietary information" that MUSC has, the latter claimed in court documents.
Trident has denied MUSC's claims.
"Physicians frequently move their practice locations and affiliations," the health system said in a written statement to The Post and Courier. "We are well-positioned to care for head and neck patients and are excited these physicians have chosen to be part of the Trident team. This last-minute lawsuit appears to be an effort to keep patients away from their doctors."
MUSC says it is in the public interest for a judge to stop the plan because the hospital is a public university hospital and research institution, whereas Trident is private and for-profit.
MUSC is seeking a hearing on the preliminary injunction before Dec. 1, the day the six defendant physicians will stop working at the hospital.
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