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ROBINSON v. MAGOVERN

August 31, 1981

John N. ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
George J. MAGOVERN, Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates, Inc., Allegheny General Hospital and Henry G. Allyn, Jr., Gay E. Bodick, Fred Brand, Jr., Henry Chalfant, Ronald R. Davenport, Harry Edelman, III, Harry M. Epstine, William H. Genge, W. H. Krome George, R. Burt Gookin, Thomas C. Graham, Kenneth C. Hewitt, John A. Huffman, Jr., B. F. Jones, III, Bernard H. Jones, Caryl M. Kline, Richard K. Means, Francis B. Nimick, David B. Oliver, II, Robert B. Pease, G. Harton Singer, III, Elizabeth A. Smith, W. P. Snyder, III, Leonard A. Swanson, W. Bruce Thomas, and Paul H. Weyrauch, individually and as Trustees of Allegheny General Hospital, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL

After Allegheny General Hospital rejected Dr. John N. Robinson's application for staff privileges in October, 1976, Dr. Robinson filed this antitrust action against the hospital, members of its Board of Trustees, and certain thoracic surgeons who are members of the hospital's staff. Three years of extensive discovery followed, punctuated by a variety of motions to compel and motions for protective orders. The litigation culminated in a ten-week non-jury trial that included the testimony of fifty-two witnesses, extensive briefing, and arguments by counsel. We now rule in favor of all defendants on all claims. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52, we make the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 I.

 The Parties

 A. Plaintiff

 John N. Robinson, M.D., the plaintiff in this litigation, is a board-certified thoracic surgeon, licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Dr. Robinson graduated from George Washington University Medical School in 1963. He then served an internship with the Harvard Surgical Service at Boston City Hospital and a five-year general surgical residency at Presbyterian Hospital, which is affiliated with Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Robinson's cardiothoracic *fn1" training began in 1970 with a one-year residency in Texas at the Baylor College School of Medicine in a program headed by Dr. Michael DeBakey. In order to acquire the experience in pulmonary and esophageal surgery that the American Board of Thoracic Surgery requires for certification eligibility, Dr. Robinson cut short his residency at Baylor and transferred to the Veterans Administration Hospital at Little Rock, Arkansas to train for four months under Dr. Raymond Read. The following year, Dr. Robinson served as a resident in thoracic surgery at the Texas Heart Institute, where he worked under Drs. Denton Cooley and Grady Hallman.

 While Dr. Robinson was serving his residency at the Texas Heart Institute, Dr. James Giacobine, an established cardiovascular surgeon in the Pittsburgh-McKeesport area, informed Dr. Cooley that he would like to have the assistance of a young surgeon in his thriving practice. Dr. Cooley suggested to Dr. Robinson that he pursue this opportunity, and Dr. Robinson subsequently did enter into practice with Dr. Giacobine. As Dr. Giacobine's junior associate, Dr. Robinson was expected to cover patients at all of the hospitals where Dr. Giacobine practiced medicine. Accordingly, Dr. Robinson made application to, and was accepted on, the medical staffs of various hospitals in the Pittsburgh-McKeesport area, including St. Francis, McKeesport, North Hills Passavant, St. John's, and South Side Hospitals.

 With primary care physicians and cardiologists referring more patients to Dr. Giacobine than he could operate on himself, he called upon Dr. Robinson to serve as lead surgeon in from three to five open heart operations per week. This frequency permitted Dr. Robinson to develop and maintain his surgical proficiency.

 During Dr. Robinson's association with Dr. Giacobine, St. Francis Hospital sponsored a residency program in thoracic surgery under the guidance of Dr. Giacobine. Dr. Robinson assisted in the teaching of the residents by taking them on rounds and by permitting them to assist in the operating room.

 The professional relationship between Drs. Giacobine and Robinson continued for two and one-half years, ending abruptly and with bitterness in December, 1974. The dissolution resulted primarily from disagreements over two points. First, Dr. Robinson felt that he was not receiving proper recognition for his work. Although Dr. Giacobine's reputation attracted the open heart patients, and although Dr. Giacobine interviewed them, Dr. Robinson testified that he often performed the surgery without their knowledge. Dr. Robinson objected to Dr. Giacobine's alleged refusal to inform "Robinson's patients" of the identity of the operating surgeon. This practice constituted "ghost surgery," according to Dr. Robinson.

 The second source of discord involved Dr. Giacobine's intention to add another surgeon to the Giacobine-Robinson association. Dr. Robinson opposed the addition of this third surgeon because he had heard rumors that the surgeon, who was related to Dr. Giacobine by marriage, had homosexual tendencies.

 In January, 1975, Dr. Robinson embarked upon a solo practice in Pittsburgh after making an unsuccessful effort in late 1974 to relocate. *fn2" His practice primarily consisted of vascular procedures and emergency surgery. He had as his goal, however, a practice of predominantly open heart surgery, which he regards as the most challenging and rewarding type of thoracic surgery. In order to broaden his base of contacts with referring physicians, Dr. Robinson applied for, and was granted, staff privileges at several additional area hospitals.

 B. The Defendants

 1. Allegheny General Hospital

 Allegheny General Hospital is a 726-bed, regional referral, teaching hospital located in the North Side area of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. *fn3" The hospital offers total health care service to the residents of the North Side and secondary and tertiary care service to referral patients from the "tri-state area," which encompasses Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia. *fn4"

 Allegheny General is organized into clinical departments, each of which is headed by a director appointed by the hospital's Board of Trustees. Some of the departments are subdivided into two or more divisions. Open heart surgery, for example, comes within the jurisdiction of the Department of Surgery and the Division of Thoracic Surgery.

 The keystone for the clinical operation of the hospital is the medical staff. A physician must apply for and receive staff privileges at Allegheny General before he may admit patients to the hospital or use its facilities. Regional referral, teaching hospitals, such as Allegheny General, strive to cultivate and maintain a balanced staff whose members will provide high quality clinical care while also making a contribution to the hospital's teaching and research programs.

 In order to succeed professionally and financially, a regional referral hospital must develop and market services in numerous subspecialties. This, Allegheny General has done, in such fields as renalogy, cardiology, radiology, pulmonary medicine, and sports medicine. In addition, Allegheny General has achieved modest success in establishing comprehensive centers for the care and treatment of trauma, cardiac and cancer cases. The hospital aggressively markets its secondary and tertiary level services both within and beyond Allegheny County by encouraging members of its staff to participate in educational programs at various hospitals and medical societies, by distributing information and research results to referring physicians, and by encouraging members of its staff to produce articles for publication. The fact that two-thirds of Allegheny General's open heart patients in 1976 lived outside of Allegheny County exemplifies the success that the hospital has experienced in marketing its services over a broad geographic area.

 Laboratories at Allegheny General perform significant research in the basic and applied medical and biomedical sciences. The hospital established a separate research facility for thoracic surgery in the late 1960's, and this facility has since made important contributions to the medical literature in the field.

 2. The Trustees

 Twenty-six of the persons whom the plaintiff names as defendants in his complaint served as members of the Board of Trustees of Allegheny General during the period when the hospital considered and denied Dr. Robinson's application for staff privileges. The Board of Trustees is legally responsible for the operation of the hospital. It meets quarterly to review and approve the decisions and actions of its executive committee. The Board consists of thirty-seven members, who are elected from among prominent citizens in the community or who are appointed because of their position within the hospital administration. Appointed members include the president of the hospital, the president of the medical staff, and the chairman of the executive committee of the medical staff. Elected members serve without compensation.

 The executive committee of the Board of Trustees, which is empowered to exercise the full authority of the Board of Trustees when the Board is not in session, provides continuous supervision over the operation of the hospital. Members of the executive committee include the officers of the Board of Trustees, the president of the hospital, the president of the medical staff, and the chairman of the executive committee of the medical staff. Among its duties, the executive committee reviews and approves or disapproves the recommendations made by the executive committee of the medical staff on applications for staff privileges, subject to ratification by the Board of Trustees.

 3. George J. Magovern, M.D.

 Defendant, Dr. George J. Magovern, is a nationally prominent thoracic surgeon who has served as the Director of the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital since 1968. As Director of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Magovern actively participates in the evaluation of candidates who are seeking staff privileges in the Department of Surgery.

 Dr. Magovern began his career as a physician in 1947, after graduating from Marquette University Medical School. His post-graduate training included a two-year internship and a four-year general surgical residency at various hospitals in the New York area, service in the Army Medical Corps, a two-year residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at George Washington University Medical School, and six months of work in Pittsburgh at Presbyterian University, Children's and Allegheny General Hospitals. After completing his training in 1957, Dr. Magovern chose to remain in Pittsburgh. He joined the medical staffs of Presbyterian University and Allegheny General Hospitals, and he became a member of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Dr. Magovern maintained a loose affiliation with Dr. Edward Kent, the then Director of the Department of Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital and a pioneer in the field of open heart surgery. When the time came to select a successor to Dr. Kent, the Board of Trustees of Allegheny General appointed Dr. Magovern as Director of the Department of Surgery because of his clinical skills and his demonstrated commitment to academic medicine and research.

 Simultaneously with performing his administrative duties at Allegheny General, Dr. Magovern has engaged in a highly successful private practice in thoracic surgery through a professional corporation known as "Cardio-Thoracic Surgical Associates, Inc." He also has made many notable contributions to medical science through publications, research and experimental surgery. *fn5"

 4. Cardio-Thoracic Surgical Associates, Inc.

 Defendant, Cardio-Thoracic Surgical Associates, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "CTSA"), is a Pennsylvania professional corporation with a membership of five physicians. Dr. William Cushing, a former resident in thoracic surgery under Dr. Kent, and Dr. George Magovern founded CTSA in 1970. Dr. George Liebler joined the group in 1972, Dr. Sang Park in 1973 and Dr. John Burkholder in 1975. Drs. Liebler and Park had trained as residents at Allegheny General under Dr. Magovern. Dr. Burkholder had taken his general surgical and thoracic surgical residencies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and trained under Dr. Magovern during operations performed at Presbyterian University Hospital and during a three-month rotation to Allegheny General as part of his general surgical residency. All members of CTSA have board certification in thoracic surgery. Each participates in the teaching program at Allegheny General, but only Drs. Magovern, Liebler and Burkholder have university faculty appointments.

 CTSA generates substantial revenues for Allegheny General. From 1976 to 1978, for example, CTSA accounted for between 9% and 11% of the total patient admissions to Allegheny General; it was one of the five most active services (group or sole practitioner) during that period. The statistics for patient days are even more impressive. In 1977 and 1978, CTSA's patients spent 19,417 and 20,021 days respectively at Allegheny General. These figures are roughly equivalent to the total patient days for the entire Division of General Surgery and are double the number of patient days attributable to any other single group for that time period.

 CTSA dominates the open heart surgical practice at Allegheny General. Open heart procedures account for approximately 60% of CTSA's work, and its members perform about 95% of the open heart operations at Allegheny General. The explanation for this dominance lies in the decision by the CTSA members to concentrate their practices at Allegheny General (Drs. Magovern, Liebler and Burkholder also perform a small number of operations at Presbyterian University Hospital and Children's Hospital), while most of the other thoracic surgeons on Allegheny General's staff center their practices elsewhere. In addition to the members of CTSA, the staff of the Thoracic Surgery Division includes five other surgeons. *fn6"

 The Claims

 Dr. Robinson alleges in his complaint that when his application for staff privileges was denied, the defendants violated the United States Constitution, several federal statutes and three legal duties imposed by state common law. A synopsis of the six-count complaint follows:

 1. Count I alleges violations of section 1 and section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2 (1976), based on agreements and acts that were designed to ensure that only members of CTSA received staff privileges in Allegheny General's Division of Thoracic Surgery.

 2. Count II alleges a denial of due process and equal protection in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and section 1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1976 & Supp. III 1979).

 3. Count III asserts a third-party beneficiary right of action based on the defendants' alleged failure to comply with regulations that the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare promulgated pursuant to section 102(a) of the Health Insurance for the Aged Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395hh (1976).

 4. Count IV asserts a pendent state third-party beneficiary claim for breach of contract based on the defendants' alleged violation of the hospital's Medical Staff Bylaws.

 5. Count V asserts a pendent state claim for tortious interference with a prospective contractual relationship that denied the plaintiff the right to freely practice his profession and resulted in damage to his reputation.

 6. Count VI asserts a pendent state claim of conspiracy in restraint of trade.

 Early in the history of this litigation, the defendants moved for summary judgment. The late Judge Daniel Snyder of this Court entered judgment in favor of all defendants on Count II and Count III. Robinson v. Magovern, 456 F. Supp. 1000 (W.D.Pa.1978).

 The evidence presented at the trial and counsels' subsequent arguments focused primarily on the alleged violations of the Sherman Act. Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits any contract, combination or conspiracy that unreasonably restrains trade *fn7" ; section 2 of the Sherman Act prohibits any entity from monopolizing, attempting to monopolize or conspiring to monopolize a particular market. *fn8" Dr. Robinson seeks both damages and injunctive relief for the alleged antitrust violations, pursuant to section 4 and section 16 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 15, 26 (1976). *fn9"

 Delivery of Open Heart Surgical Services

 Congress enacted the antitrust laws to protect competition in the marketplace, which is the essence of our private enterprise system. An allegation that these laws have been violated requires the court to familiarize itself in some detail with the industry within which the illegal conduct is alleged to have occurred. The technical complexity involved in the delivery of open heart surgical services and the absence of prior case law addressing the antitrust implications of a denial of hospital staff privileges *fn10" makes such an inquiry especially important in the present case.

 A. Diagnosis

 Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States. It presents major health care problems, both medically and financially. The term "heart disease" encompasses a wide variety of cardiovascular disorders. These disorders may be either congenital or acquired, and may involve either the heart itself, such as a septal defect or an abnormality of the valves, or the great vessels within the thorax, such as a blockage in a coronary artery.

 Most heart problems are discovered by general practitioners and internists through blood tests, x-rays or electrocardiograms that are taken during routine physical examinations. Depending on the type of disorder, the primary care physician may begin treatment or he may refer the patient to a cardiologist *fn11" for further testing. The cardiologist must determine the scope of the disorder and develop an appropriate treatment program. Many cardiovascular problems can be successfully treated with medication. For example, anti-coagulant drugs can prevent the formation of blood clots or the enlargement of existing clots, thereby reducing the possibility of blockage of a major blood vessel. Other drugs can increase the pumping power of the heart or control irregularities in the heart beat. A few disorders, however, can be corrected only by surgery.

 Cardiac catheterization in combination with coronary arteriography is currently the definitive method for diagnosing heart disorders that may require corrective surgery. This procedure involves passing a catheter through a vein of the arm or leg and through a heart valve and into one of the chambers of the heart. The cardiologist then injects an opaque fluid into the chamber and takes a high speed X-ray motion picture, a cineangiogram, that records the passage of the dye through the heart. Blood samples and pressure readings from inside the heart also may be taken. As the description of the procedure indicates, cardiac catheterization requires sophisticated equipment and involves some risk to the patient. Most cardiologists therefore perform the procedure in a "catheterization laboratory" at a hospital that has surgical facilities.

 If the cardiologist determines that a patient has a heart disorder that can be treated only through surgery, the patient next must obtain the services of a cardiothoracic surgeon. Few open heart candidates are familiar with the cardiothoracic surgeons who practice in their community. Therefore, most patients rely on the recommendation of their primary care physician or their cardiologist. Recognizing the delicate and dangerous nature of open heart surgery, the referring physician will base his selection of a surgeon primarily on his perception of the surgeon's ability to provide the particular patient with high quality service. A variety of other considerations may influence the referring physician's decision in the event that he must choose among several equally skilled surgeons. The referring physician may consider the proximity of the patient's home to the hospital where the surgeon performs his operations. If the patient has a strong religious preference, the referring physician may attempt to select a surgeon who performs his operations at a hospital that is affiliated with the particular religious denomination. If a primary care physician is making the referral, he may consider the accessibility and the cooperativeness of the surgeon because he will be responsible for monitoring the patient's health after the patient leaves the surgeon's care. If a cardiologist is making the referral, he may prefer a surgeon who previously has referred patients to his catheterization laboratory or who performs surgery in the same hospital that houses his catheterization laboratory. Over time, each referring physician will develop a referral pattern based on these various factors.

 B. Open Heart Surgery The Procedure

 Open heart surgery is a complex procedure requiring costly, sophisticated equipment and personnel from a variety of medical disciplines. The surgery must be performed by a cohesive, well-trained team, headed by an experienced cardiothoracic surgeon and including an additional thoracic surgeon or a resident in the thoracic surgery program, scrub nurses, circulating nurses, two pump technicians (perfusionists) and an anesthesiologist. The operating room must accommodate the team and the special equipment, some of which has extraordinary electrical and plumbing specifications. Also, a special coronary care unit is needed for the postoperative phase. The estimated capital expenditure for a fully equipped operating room and a postoperative unit is about one million dollars.

 Open heart surgery became practical with the introduction of the cardiopulmonary by-pass (heart/lung) machine during the 1960's. This machine is actually an amalgam of several devices that takes the blood returning to the heart, filters it, oxygenates it, regulates its temperature and then pumps the blood back through the body. With the patient connected to the cardiopulmonary by-pass machine, surgeons can operate on a relaxed, non-functioning heart while the integrity of the patient's circulatory system is preserved. *fn12"

 An open heart procedure begins with the opening of the chest cavity. The junior surgeon or the resident makes an incision down the center of the chest with a scalpel and then cuts the sternum and ribs with a saw. The exposed blood vessels are cauterized. This phase of the procedure generally requires one to two hours. The perfusionists spend this time setting up the components of the heart/lung machine.

 The lead surgeon becomes involved after the initial phase has been completed successfully. Under the lead surgeon's supervision, the chest opening is widened through the use of a retractor and the patient's veinous and arterial systems are connected to the heart/lung machine via flexible cannulae. With the flow of blood now diverted from the heart, the surgeon slits the thin tissue surrounding the heart and begins corrective surgery. The most common open heart procedure is the coronary artery by-pass. *fn13" Other common procedures are the repair of the great vessels, the replacement of heart valves and the repair of septal defects.

 During the surgery, the perfusionists operating the heart/lung machine are responsible for maintaining the proper oxygen and carbon dioxide content and the proper acid/base ratio in the blood by adjusting blood flow and pressure and by adding drugs and solutions to the circulation. Deviations from acceptable levels endanger the patient. Even if the perfusionists regulate the circulatory system perfectly, however, a patient can remain on the heart/lung machine for a maximum of only four hours before his blood begins to suffer irreparable damage. Therefore, the surgeon must work quickly.

 After completion of the surgical procedure, veinous flow to the oxygenator is gradually reduced as the heart assumes the circulatory load. Irregular beating or failure to beat are frequent problems, and electric defibrillation or drugs may be required. When the heart can sustain circulation, the patient is taken off the heart/lung machine. With the natural cardiopulmonary system functioning again, the lead surgeon's participation in the operation is complete. The junior surgeon or the resident performs additional cauterization and closes the chest. The patient then is removed to the coronary care unit for continual monitoring during the critical postoperative phase. Postoperative recovery time normally is twelve days. If the patient experiences difficulty during the recovery period, the lead surgeon will supervise additional treatment and may perform a second operation.

 Not surprisingly, open heart surgery is expensive. Currently, the simplest by-pass procedure will result in a total bill to the patient of $ 9,000 to $ 18,000; a complicated procedure might result in a total bill of $ 35,000 or more. The surgeon's fee alone will range from $ 1500 to $ 5000. Few patients could afford the costs of surgery without receiving some assistance. Fortunately, the government through Medicare and Medicaid and insurance companies through health care insurance plans absorb most of these costs. Without the existence of these third-party payor systems, open heart surgery would not have expanded beyond the experimental stage.

 C. Open Heart Surgery The Major Players

 1. The Lead Surgeon

 Surgeons who perform open heart operations are among the most highly trained individuals in the medical profession. Following medical school and an internship, the physician must complete a four-year general surgical residency and a two-year thoracic surgical residency. Upon completion of his formal training, the doctor is eligible for examination by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. If successful on the examination, the doctor becomes board-certified in thoracic surgery.

 Although board-certified thoracic surgeons are qualified to perform a wide variety of procedures, they usually emphasize one facet of thoracic surgery in their practices because each type of procedure has its own peculiarities that must be mastered. Studies indicate that the mortality rate of open heart patients increases as the frequency of open heart procedures performed by a given surgical team declines. A surgeon should perform a minimum of three open heart procedures per week in order to maintain his proficiency. Those doctors concentrating on open heart surgery generally augment their surgical schedules and their incomes with less complex thoracic or vascular procedures.

 The open heart surgeon may work as a sole practitioner or as a member of a group of cardiothoracic or cardiovascular surgeons. After reviewing the voluminous evidence presented at trial on the delivery of open heart surgical care nationally and in the Pittsburgh area, we perceive a trend toward group practice.

 Without doubt, a group practice achieves certain efficiencies. As noted earlier, open heart surgery requires at least two surgeons. If no qualified resident is available for a particular operation, the group can provide the second surgeon. A group also can more readily provide coverage during the critical postoperative phase. Furthermore, association with an established group can give a young surgeon a mix of instruction and practice that will help him to develop his skills.

 In 1979, surgeons performed approximately 118,000 open heart procedures in the United States. Experts predict a modest growth in open heart surgery over the next few years. The glamour and high fees associated with open heart surgery have combined to ensure that there is no shortage of open heart surgeons. In fact, in many areas of the country, a young sole practitioner faces a formidable task in obtaining open heart patients.

 2. The Hospital

 The host hospital for an open heart operation provides equipment and support personnel to the surgeon. The nurses, perfusionists and physicians from related fields, such as anesthesiology, are either employees of the hospital or independent contractors. Often, the hospital undertakes the responsibility of recruiting, training and supervising the nurses and/or the perfusionists.

 Although the cost of establishing and maintaining an open heart surgical facility is high, the revenue that such a facility generates also can be substantial. Open heart patients require lengthy postoperative recovery periods in a specialized unit that has sophisticated monitoring equipment and a high nurse-to-patient ratio. As we mentioned earlier, patients admitted to Allegheny General by CTSA in the years considered accumulated as many patient days as did all of the patients admitted by the Division of General Surgery.

 Not all hospitals have the capability of hosting an open heart operation, which is a tertiary level service. Hospitals in the United States fall into one of three general categories: community, teaching or regional referral, secondary teaching. *fn14" All three types of hospitals provide some degree of patient care, but each has a different primary mission.

 The vast majority of hospitals in the United States are community hospitals. They are essentially arenas or workshops, as it were, supplied by the community for physicians who provide basic health care services to local patients. In keeping with their purpose, community hospitals usually grant staff privileges to any licensed physician from the surrounding area who applies. Most of these physicians are not under contract to the hospital, but rather, they use the hospital's facilities and the hospital bills the patients separately for this use. *fn15" The members of the staff perform minimal hospital committee responsibilities on a rotating basis and department heads, if they exist, frequently are elected by their colleagues. Generally, little teaching or research occurs in community hospitals.

 For economic reasons, community hospitals cannot offer most tertiary level services. Such services require specialized personnel and sophisticated equipment, which must be used on a daily basis if the cost per procedure is to be held within an acceptable range. Each community hospital provides coverage for a relatively small population base. This population base would not generate a sufficient number of tertiary level procedures to keep a given tertiary care unit at anywhere near optimum utilization. Therefore, community hospitals offer only basic medical care. If a local patient needs more complex treatment, the physician will transfer that patient to the care of a specialist at a regional hospital.

 At the opposite end of the spectrum from the community hospitals lie the major teaching hospitals, which are relatively few in number and closely linked to, or owned outright by, universities. These hospitals serve as centers of learning, where medical students and residents receive training and where doctors work to increase the pool of medical knowledge through research. A teaching hospital has a large medical staff relative to its bed capacity. Many members of this staff are employees of the hospital with no private practice or with an arrangement by which all patient fees exceeding a certain amount are turned over to the hospital. The staff has extensive research and teaching responsibilities, and therefore, appointments to the staff often are greatly influenced by the candidates' interest in these activities. Most doctors on the staff hold university appointments, and the full-time staff members are jointly selected and appointed by the university and the hospital. Teaching hospitals possess highly sophisticated equipment and operate at the front line of advancing medical science. Often they use the treatment of complex, tertiary level cases as pedagogical devices. The excellent quality of care and the advanced technology available at the teaching hospitals attract patients needing tertiary level services from a broad geographic area, and even occasionally from foreign countries.

 In the middle of the spectrum lie the regional referral, secondary teaching hospitals such as Allegheny General. These hospitals are more numerous than the major teaching hospitals, but much less common than the community hospitals. Regional referral hospitals often provide basic medical care to the people living in the immediate vicinity, thus serving the function of a community hospital for that area. In addition, however, they have developed advanced care units in a limited number of subspecialties. These units receive referrals from primary care physicians and from the surrounding community hospitals.

 A particular region may contain several regional referral hospitals, each of which will offer advanced care units in a different set of subspecialties. Thus, any one hospital will have the capability of providing advanced care only in a few types of cases, but optimally, there will be at least one hospital in the region that can satisfy a given patient's needs.

 In conjunction with its advanced care units, a regional referral hospital often will conduct clinical research and operate post-graduate training programs. Although the hospital hires a few physicians as full-time employees, it provides instruction to the participants in its residency programs primarily through the voluntary efforts of the doctors who concentrate their private practices at the hospital. A symbiotic relationship should develop between these private practitioners and the residents. For example, residents in a surgical program will save time for the private practitioner by opening and closing the patients, while the private practitioner will instruct these residents during the course of the operations and at regularly scheduled conferences.

 Much of the responsibility for maintaining the hospital's performance standards in patient care, teaching and research falls on the departmental chairmen. One of the critical tasks that most departmental chairmen perform is the evaluation of applications for appointment to the staff. When considering such an application, the chairman must compare the interests and abilities of the applicant with the department's present needs in patient care, teaching and research. He also must determine whether an additional doctor would overburden the hospital's physical facilities.

 IV.

 Allegheny General's Competitive Strategy

 A. Institutional Objectives

 Allegheny General formulated its present institutional objectives and competitive strategy during 1967 and 1968 in response to a study that the management consultant firm of Cresap, McCormick and Paget performed at the request of the Board of Trustees. During the early and mid 1960's, a phalanx of problems confronted Allegheny General. These problems included an antiquated physical plant, a lack of parking facilities, a serious deterioration in the surrounding neighborhood, an operating deficit, a medical staff that did not hold many university appointments and did not display great loyalty toward the hospital, discontent among hospital personnel, and the placing of three of the hospital's residency programs on probation. Realizing that the hospital would have to take decisive action if it was to rectify the situation, the Trustees retained Cresap, McCormick and Paget to assist them in charting the hospital's future course.

 After making the initial decision to rebuild at the present site rather than to relocate in the suburbs, the Trustees began a nationwide search to find the right administrator to lead the efforts to revitalize Allegheny General. On January 1, 1968, Allegheny General hired Lad F. Grapski as the new president of the hospital. Mr. Grapski had extensive experience in hospital administration and academic medicine, having served as associate director or director of three university hospitals during the period 1947 through 1967.

 In the months following Mr. Grapski's appointment, he worked with certain Trustees and members of the medical staff to draft a statement of objectives that would give direction to the hospital's revitalization campaign. These objectives, which the executive committee of the Board of Trustees formally approved on March 25, 1968, reflect the belief that secondary and tertiary medical care can best be provided by an institution that also has developed flourishing educational and research programs. "The primary objective of Allegheny General Hospital is to protect and improve the health of the people it services through the maintenance of the scope and quality of patient care ...." Definition, Purpose and Statement of Objectives of the Allegheny General Hospital, AGH Exh. 102, at 2. The leadership of Allegheny General stated, however, that "(a) true standard of excellence in patient care can be achieved only in those hospitals in which a stimulating and challenging educational environment is maintained. Allegheny General Hospital is committed to a role in graduate medical education for interns and residents to support patient care." Id. at 3. Furthermore, the leadership expressed

 
a firm commitment to the continued fostering and encouragement of research and investigation. The principal focus for such research is presently in the basic and applied medical and biomedical sciences. Allegheny General Hospital encourages and supports the strengthening of clinical departmental staffs with research scientists, or the appointment of physicians who devote a portion of their professional work to research activity. Allegheny General Hospital's commitment to the research objective is integral to, and a part of the commitment to excellence in patient care and education.

 Id. at 4. The theory underlying this integrated approach to the delivery of medical services is that practicing physicians who participate in teaching or research, or who interact regularly with such participants, will thereby keep abreast of the latest developments in the field, which in turn should enhance patient care. Moreover, the obligation to teach students by example places continuous pressure on all of the medical staff and the support personnel to maintain high standards of patient care.

 When formulating the set of institutional objectives, Allegheny General's leadership also had to consider the marketing of the hospital's services. Hospitals no longer can afford to sit back and hope that the patients will present themselves. Cf. Norris & Szabo, Communication Between The Antitrust And The Health Law Bars: Appeals For More Effective Dialogue And A New Rule Of Reason, 7 Am.J.L. & Med. i, ii (1981) ("The classical model of collegial physician control over health care delivery is being replaced rapidly by a view of health care providers (institutional as well as individual) as intense competitors for a limited health care dollar."). In order to financially support research programs, educational programs and the personnel and equipment necessary for tertiary level procedures, the hospital must attract enough patients to enable it to operate at near full capacity. Other regional referral hospitals and one university hospital in the Pittsburgh area compete with Allegheny General in the delivery of secondary and tertiary level medical services. St. Francis General Hospital, Mercy Hospital, The Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Shadyside Hospital and Presbyterian University Hospital compete with Allegheny General for adult open heart patients, and some excess capacity exists in the market.

 Allegheny General's strategy for marketing secondary and tertiary level medical services is intimately connected with its institutional objectives. Mr. Grapski and the Trustees believe that a reputation for excellence and innovation in medical care will attract patients, both directly and through referrals. Prospective patients and referring physicians will perceive an institution whose staff provides formal instruction for young doctors as an institution that has a commitment to excellence in the delivery of medical services and has the talent available on the medical staff to fulfill that commitment. Likewise, they will perceive an institution whose staff participates in medical research as an institution that will provide its patients with care that incorporates the latest advances in medical science.

 Allegheny General contacts prospective patients and the medical community through several channels. The hospital conducts a small amount of commercial advertising. The local news media provide the hospital with a far greater amount of publicity, however, through their coverage of research breakthroughs, unusual or dramatic cases and operations, and special services that the hospital offers. Naturally, the relative success that the hospital achieves in its research programs and in its treatment of tertiary level patients will affect the amount of media coverage that it receives. As we noted earlier, Allegheny General also distributes information and research data to the medical community, encourages the members of its staff to participate in educational programs sponsored by various medical organizations, and supports the efforts of members of its staff to write and publish scholarly works. Thus, for the past fifteen years, Allegheny General has anchored its marketing strategy on the proposition that a regional referral hospital will attract large numbers of patients if it develops a reputation for high quality programs in patient care, teaching and research.

 C. Role of the Department Directors

  Although Mr. Grapski and the Trustees had the primary responsibility for formulating the revitalization campaign, they realized that, as a practical matter, they would have to place on the shoulders of the directors of the hospital's clinical departments the primary responsibility for improving the performance of each of the three components of the hospital's integrated medical services delivery system. *fn16" Therefore, the leadership placed a high priority on the selection of multitalented, dynamic individuals to head the hospital's major departments. *fn17" In order to perform effectively, these individuals would need managerial skills, experience in academic medicine, technical proficiency in their respective fields and an appreciation for the role of research.

  On April 22, 1968, the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Dr. George J. Magovern, an eminent thoracic surgeon and scholar, to the position of Director of the Department of Surgery. Dr. Magovern received authority to use his own judgment in building an integrated department that would achieve the hospital's institutional objectives. In his capacity as director, Dr. Magovern's duties have included establishing and maintaining high standards of clinical care, developing and supervising educational programs, encouraging and overseeing research activities, and making recommendations on staff applications and reappointments.

  Dr. Magovern has had to devote particular attention to Allegheny General's residency program in thoracic surgery. The national accrediting agency, known as the Liaison Committee for Graduate Medical Education ("LCGME"), imposes very demanding requirements on such residency programs. A document entitled "Essentials of Accredited Residencies" sets forth these requirements in general terms. AGH Exh. 104. This document reads in part:

  
The teaching staff should be composed of physicians and other health professionals qualified on the basis of educational background and professional accomplishment, oriented to the requirements and responsibilities of the teaching appointment and motivated to assign acceptable priority to teaching duties. A well organized and well qualified staff ... may well be the determining factor in the development and approval of a graduate training program....
  
....
  
Members of the attending staff should be assigned by the department head to specific responsibility as far as the work of the services is concerned. The service of each attending physician should include an adequate number of patients and extend over a sufficient period to elicit his full interest and attention while on service. On the other hand the service should not be so large as to be a burden to the attending staff and thus result in reduced attention to the educational program....
  
The staff must hold an adequate number of regularly scheduled clinical pathological conferences and other staff conferences, in addition to meetings of the staff at which the histories, clinical observations, laboratory studies, and pathology of selected cases are reviewed. Scientific meetings at which papers are presented by members of the staff or guest speakers are considered commendable but do not serve to meet the requirements of these scheduled conferences.

  D. Results of the Revitalization Campaign

  Under Mr. Grapski's leadership, Allegheny General has built a reputation as a vibrant and productive regional referral, secondary teaching hospital. Although it offered some secondary and tertiary level services before Mr. Grapski's arrival, the hospital has greatly expanded such services during the past fifteen years while deemphasizing its role in providing basic medical services. Specifically, the hospital has developed a cardiac center and an oncology center that provide comprehensive services for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and cancer respectively. It also has devoted substantial efforts to the establishment of a trauma center and a sports medicine clinic. In conjunction with this shift in emphasis, the hospital constructed additional operating rooms and diagnostic and treatment rooms during a renovation of the physical plant.

  Allegheny General has improved the quality of its medical staff significantly. It has recruited several eminent physicians to serve as directors of various departments. For example, the Trustees appointed Dr. Claude Joyner, a cardiologist, as Director of the Department of Medicine. Prior to joining Allegheny General, Dr. Joyner pioneered the use of sound waves to diagnose heart disease at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In addition to serving Allegheny General as a department director, Dr. Joyner has accepted a position on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Approximately eighty other members of Allegheny General's present staff likewise hold faculty appointments at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine or School of Dentistry. The availability of such a large number of doctors with experience in academic medicine has contributed to the success of Allegheny General's residency programs, all of which now are fully accredited. Moreover, the hospital has experienced considerable success in its research activities. The staff has made many contributions to medical science, most notably in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

  Mr. Grapski and the Trustees also have attended to the hospital's physical needs. In addition to renovating the present hospital building, Allegheny General constructed a parking garage and a professional office building. A new main hospital building is scheduled for completion this year.

  The many efforts to upgrade the hospital's integrated medical services delivery system have been well received by both the general population and the medical community. As a result of substantially achieving its institutional objectives, Allegheny General has attracted large numbers of patients from a wide geographic area. The hospital's total revenues (receipts and contributions) exceed its costs.

  The Department of Surgery, and particularly its Division of Thoracic Surgery, has played an important role in the resurgence of Allegheny General. Through the efforts of Dr. Magovern, the department has maintained the accreditation of the general surgery and thoracic surgery residency programs, has greatly expanded its research activities, and has developed a reputation for providing secondary and tertiary level patients with high quality, innovative care. The achievements of the Department of Surgery have attracted a large volume of patients to Allegheny General and have won national recognition for Dr. Magovern.

  V.

  The Application of John N. Robinson, M.D.

  Allegheny General's institutional objectives and competitive strategy influence the hospital's evaluation of applications for staff privileges. Dr. Robinson initiated his effort to obtain staff privileges at Allegheny General in February, 1975, after Dr. Kian Kooros, an invasive cardiologist on the staffs of Allegheny General and North Hills Passavant Hospitals, told Dr. Robinson that he would make referrals to Dr. Robinson for open heart surgery that was to be performed at Allegheny General if Dr. Robinson could acquire staff privileges. A member of Allegheny General's Board of Trustees, whom Dr. Robinson met socially, also had encouraged him to apply for staff privileges.

  With the intention of obtaining an application form, Dr. Robinson visited the administrative office of Allegheny General. A woman in that office asked Dr. Robinson whether he was joining an established group at the hospital. He replied that he would be applying as a solo practitioner. The woman did not give Dr. Robinson an application form, but rather, told him that the hospital would mail a form to him. The following day, the woman telephoned Dr. Robinson to inform him that the Director of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Magovern, would have to interview him before the hospital would provide him with an application form. In compliance with that instruction, Dr. Robinson mailed a copy of his curriculum vitae to Dr. Magovern and obtained an appointment to see him.

  A. The Interview

  Dr. Robinson met with Dr. Magovern for approximately one-half hour on April 4, 1975 at the latter's office. The two men offered differing accounts of that meeting in their testimony. Harmonizing the testimony and resolving questions of credibility, we find that the interview began with Dr. Robinson stating that an Allegheny General Trustee and Dr. Kooros had suggested that he make application to the hospital for staff privileges. Dr. Magovern responded that Dr. Robinson had excellent credentials.

  Dr. Robinson then summarized his experience with Dr. Giacobine and explained the circumstances that led to the dissolution of their association. *fn19" During the course of his remarks, Dr. Robinson conveyed a negative attitude about St. Francis' thoracic surgery residency program, referred to certain foreign residents at St. Francis as "camel drivers," implied that a former Allegheny General resident was a homosexual, and criticized Dr. Giacobine's unwillingness to inform patients that Dr. Robinson would perform their surgery. Dr. Magovern replied that he understood Dr. Robinson's interest in establishing his own identity as a surgeon. The two men next discussed the surplus of thoracic surgeons in the United States. As a partial solution to the problem, Dr. Magovern suggested that American hospitals accept only those foreign residents who intend to return to their native lands after their training.

  The conversation eventually turned to the Department of Surgery at Allegheny General. Dr. Magovern stated that Allegheny General was suffering from a shortage of operating rooms; he did not mention that construction of new operating rooms was expected to begin that fall. Dr. Magovern also explained the importance of the thoracic surgery residency program to Allegheny General, and he emphasized the difficulties involved in maintaining accreditation for a nonuniversity residency program. In that regard, he expressed the view that Allegheny General should grant staff privileges in its Division of Thoracic Surgery only to those doctors who have the qualifications to obtain a faculty appointment at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Magovern noted that Dr. Burkholder, who was to join CTSA after completing his residency at Presbyterian University Hospital, had a good chance of obtaining a faculty appointment. Dr. Robinson told Dr. Magovern that he had spoken with Dr. Henry Bahnson at the University of Pittsburgh about a faculty appointment, but that he believed that he could not now obtain such an appointment. At the conclusion of the interview, Dr. Magovern pointed the way to the office where Dr. Robinson could pick up an application form.

  Dr. Magovern testified that, based on the interview, he was not impressed with Dr. Robinson. Discovering that Dr. Robinson did not have an outgoing personality, Dr. Magovern had some difficulty in carrying on a conversation with him. Dr. Robinson did not volunteer information and gave abrupt answers to several of Dr. Magovern's questions. Dr. Magovern was surprised by Dr. Robinson's negative attitude toward the St. Francis residency program. He felt that a young thoracic surgeon should welcome the opportunity to practice at a hospital that has a residency program and should work to improve it. Dr. Robinson's attitude raised a question in Dr. Magovern's mind as to whether or not Dr. Robinson was interested in teaching. Dr. Magovern also was very concerned about Dr. Robinson's reference to certain foreign residents as "camel drivers" because Allegheny General had residents from Middle Eastern countries. Dr. Magovern did not want a physician on the staff who might have trouble working with some of the residents. Furthermore, Dr. Robinson's curriculum vitae did not reflect an interest in research. He told Dr. Magovern that he had not participated in significant research because St. Francis did not have a laboratory. Finally, Dr. Magovern was irritated by Dr. Robinson's suggestion that a former Allegheny General resident was a homosexual. Dr. Magovern had trained that resident and had written letters of recommendation on his behalf. He did not believe that the accusation was true, and in any case, he felt that it was an inappropriate comment.

  Disturbed by the interview with Dr. Robinson, Dr. Magovern telephoned Dr. Giacobine to ask about Dr. Robinson and about the former resident, who was related to Dr. Giacobine by marriage. Dr. Magovern's negative impressions of Dr. Robinson were reenforced by his conversation with Dr. Giacobine. He also learned that Dr. Robinson was suing Dr. Giacobine over certain aspects of the dissolution of their association.

  Although Dr. Robinson described the interview as "friendly," he left it with the belief that Dr. Magovern, in effect, had rejected his request for staff privileges. AGH Exh. 1, at 190; Tr. 178-79. Therefore, he did not bother to obtain an application form following the interview. Angered by what he considered to be an infringement on his right to practice medicine, Dr. Robinson complained to the Allegheny County Medical Society about the "closed shop" at Allegheny General. Tr. 180-81. After speaking with the president of the medical society and with the society's attorney, Dr. Robinson retained private counsel in the person of Roslyn M. Litman, Esquire.

  B. Submission of the Application

  Following the Magovern-Robinson meeting on April 4, 1975, no one at Allegheny General heard from Dr. Robinson for almost five months, that is, until August 27, 1975, when the hospital received a letter from Mrs. Litman, Dr. Robinson's attorney. That letter read in full as follows:

  
August 26, 1975
  
Allegheny General Hospital
  
320 East North Avenue
  
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212
  
Attention: Chief Administrative Officer
  
Gentlemen:
  
This office has been retained by Dr. John N. Robinson who has advised us that his several attempts to be favorably considered for admission to your surgical staff have been frustrated by the personnel of your hospital. After I learned of Dr. Robinson's credentials, I was frankly surprised that an appointment of Dr. Robinson to your staff had not been made. The information I have received on this case leads to the conclusion that your failure to process my client's application to a just conclusion in accordance with the various applicable statutes and regulations governing the operation of hospitals like yours has caused our client serious damage.
  
I would be grateful if you would advise me as soon as possible the reasons for your failure to justly process Dr. Robinson's request to join your surgical staff. If your actions are supported by by-laws or other governing rules of the hospital, please submit a copy of these documents to me. I would appreciate, as well, your sending a copy of your written rules and regulations covering applications for staff membership, methods of processing applications, procedures related to submission and processing of applications and particularly your defined criteria for staff membership.
  
I will be happy to meet with a representative of your hospital to further discuss the problem presented by what has occurred since Dr. Robinson first attempted to file an application for membership on your staff. Since Dr. Robinson's extensive damages to date are continuing, I submit that it is necessary that the problem be resolved with minimal delay. If, of course, I do not receive an indication from you of a desire to resolve this problem within the next 15 days, I will have no further choice but to institute appropriate legal proceedings for the benefit of Dr. Robinson.
  
Very truly yours,
  
(Signed)
  
ROSLYN M. LITMAN
  
RML:esf
  
cc: Dr. George J. Magovern

  Jt. Exh. 1-B.

  The hospital administration immediately notified in-house counsel of the contents of Mrs. Litman's letter, and counsel thereafter participated in processing Dr. Robinson's application. Lad Grapski, the president of Allegheny General, investigated the assertions contained in the Litman letter and determined that Dr. Robinson never had submitted an application for staff privileges.

  On September 16, 1975, after an exchange of correspondence with Mrs. Litman, Allegheny General mailed to Dr. Robinson an application form and a copy of the Medical Staff Bylaws. Dr. Robinson completed the application form, attached a copy of his curriculum vitae, and returned the form to Allegheny General on September 29, 1975.

  Mr. Grapski gave copies of Dr. Robinson's application to Dr. Magovern and to Dr. John Feist, who was the chairman of the hospital's credentials committee. Article III, section 3(c) of the Medical Staff Bylaws places on the director of the relevant department the duty of preparing a report and recommendation, which are submitted for consideration by the credentials committee. Jt. Exh. 88. Article III, section 3(b) of those same bylaws provides that the credentials committee "shall investigate the personal character and professional ethics of the applicant, and shall evaluate his professional competence to exercise the privileges he requests, or to undertake the professional responsibility he seeks, and shall verify, through references given by the applicant and other sources available to it, that he meets and has established all the necessary qualifications set forth in these bylaws." Id.

  In support of the work of the credentials committee, Mr. Grapski requested Boston City Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital at Little Rock, Arkansas to confirm that Dr. Robinson had received a portion of his training at those institutions. He also requested letters of recommendation from McKeesport Hospital, North Hills Passavant Hospital, Western Pennsylvania Hospital and St. Francis Hospital, which Dr. Robinson had listed on his application as "Present Affiliations," and from Drs. Denton Cooley, Edward Longabaugh and Michael Levis, whom Dr. Robinson had listed on his application as "References."

  Upon learning that Dr. Robinson had submitted an application for staff privileges, Dr. Magovern again telephoned Dr. Giacobine. When he told Dr. Giacobine that Allegheny General had received the application through the office of an attorney, Dr. Giacobine, referring to the lawsuit that Dr. Robinson had filed against him, responded: "Join the crowd." Tr. 4967.

  Dr. Magovern also wrote letters to Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. Grady Hallman, both surgeons at the Texas Heart Institute whom Dr. Magovern knew. The plaintiff contends that these letters were an attempt by Dr. Magovern to generate negative recommendations. We disagree. Although Dr. Magovern did delineate in his letters the reasons that made him inclined to recommend denial of Dr. Robinson's application, he also asked both men to provide him with any positive information about Dr. Robinson that might cast a different light on the application. For example, in the letter to Dr. Hallman, Dr. Magovern wrote:

  
Since I felt I knew you well enough to at least inquire of your feelings, as he rotated through your service, I would like to hear from you. My feeling would be that unless he had such superb credentials that the above difficulty in getting along with people would be overcome by this, I would be less than pleased if he joined the staff. Basically what I'm saying if I have become over prejudice (sic) by this, I would like to know. If you think he is really a good fellow, then we can certainly try to look at the other side of the story.

  Jt. Exh. 10. Dr. Magovern never received a response from either Dr. Cooley or Dr. Hallman.

  On October 13, 1975, Dr. Magovern submitted his department director's report on the Robinson application. The report recommended that the hospital reject the application. It set forth the following seven reasons in support of this recommendation:

  
1) a shortage of operating room space and time existed;
  
2) Dr. Robinson is on the staffs of seven other hospitals, so it is doubtful that he would have time to contribute to a teaching program at an eighth institution;
  
3) Dr. Robinson's former associate, Dr. Giacobine, did not give a favorable recommendation;
  
4) Dr. Robinson has not published any papers since leaving medical school;
  
5) the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has refused to appoint Dr. Robinson to the faculty; *fn20"
  
6) Dr. Robinson has displayed a willingness to resort to legal action; and
  
7) Dr. Magovern did not initiate or encourage Dr. Robinson's application.

  Jt. Exh. 1-S.

  D. The Credentials Committee

  The six-member credentials committee *fn21" received an unusually large volume of information about Dr. Robinson between October 13, 1975, the day on which Dr. Magovern submitted his department director's report, and March 4, 1976, the day on which the committee met to consider Dr. Robinson's application. All four hospitals that Dr. Robinson had listed on his application form as "Present Affiliations" responded promptly to Mr. Grapski's request for information. Dr. John Gaisford, chief of the Division of Surgery at West Penn Hospital, replied that he was unable to evaluate the applicant because Dr. Robinson had not performed any surgery at West Penn since joining the staff. Jt. Exh. 1-DD. Mr. Robert Bigge, the executive director of McKeesport Hospital, wrote that "I have had no occasion to question his ethics or his morals and have heard nothing derogatory about him. His fellow surgeons respect his work and tell me that he shows good judgment and skill in the operating room." Jt. Exh. 1-CC. Dr. Harry Feather, medical director of St. Francis Hospital, informed Allegheny General that

  
I did not know Dr. Robinson before he joined our staff. Since that time I have found him to be completely ethical and his character to be above reproach. He is not too "outgoing" but gets along well with the staff and nursing personnel. He is a competent surgeon and I can recommend him to you.

  Jt. Exh. 1-EE. Mr. Alexander McAliley, the executive director of North Hills Passavant Hospital, responded succinctly, stating that "I have enjoyed a business acquaintance with Dr. Robinson and feel that he would be an outstanding addition to any hospital staff ...." Jt. Exh. 1-FF.

  A letter of recommendation from Dr. Edward Longabaugh supplemented Mr. McAliley's evaluation of Dr. Robinson's work at North Hills Passavant. Dr. Longabaugh's letter read in part:

  
He has been, but briefly, a member of our staff, yet our impression of Dr. Robinson is highly favorable and I am pleased to recommend him to you.
  
I feel personally unqualified to judge his competence in Cardiovascular Surgery, except to affirm that his work has been exceptable (sic), in so far as one can judge from the records. I have assisted him only occasionally in the operating room, but in so far as this brief exposure permits evaluation, I regard his technique as excellent.
  
I've found no reason to question his moral character or the ethics of his practice. I would like to add that he has been exceptionally helpful to the physicians of the North Hills Passavant Hospital in answering consultations, in caring for emergency patients, at any and all hours, and he has been cooperative in carrying out his staff assignments.
  
He has been a most welcome addition to our staff, and I feel that if he is granted privileges in Cardiovascular Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital, an admirable continuity of care may be offered the North Hills patient with cardiopulmonary problems.

  Jt. Exh. 1-AA. A second physician on the staff of North Hills Passavant, Dr. Michael Levis, also submitted a letter of recommendation on Dr. Robinson's behalf. Dr. Levis, who at that time was the president of the Allegheny County Medical Society, wrote that

  
(it) has been my privilege to know Dr. Robinson for approximately six months. During this time I have found him to be an extremely dedicated, conscientious, and capable thoracic surgeon. He has had excellent training and in my brief acquaintance with him has demonstrated outstanding qualities as a clinician.

  Jt. Exh. 1-V.

  Several doctors who had participated in Dr. Robinson's training likewise responded to Allegheny General's request for information. *fn22" Dr. William McDermott, who had supervised Dr. Robinson's internship at Boston City Hospital from July, 1963 to June, 1964, wrote that Dr. Robinson "showed competence as a physician, was of unquestioned high moral character and had good relationships with his colleagues and patients." Jt. Exh. 1-HH. Two surgeons from the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Stanley Crawford and Dr. Michael DeBakey, submitted letters to the credentials committee. Dr. Crawford's letter read in part:

  
I found him to be a tall, attractive person with good professional bearing. He was well informed medically and his technical skill was quite satisfactory. He got along well with all the people here and I think he made a good reputation.

  Jt. Exh. 1-PP. Dr. DeBakey informed the committee that Dr. Robinson

  Jt. Exh. 1-SS. At the Veterans Administration Hospital in Little Rock, Dr. Robinson worked for four months under the supervision of Dr. Raymond Read, the chief of surgical services. Dr. Read wrote to the committee that he thinks

  
very highly of Dr. Robinson. He is an ex-Marine who fought in Korea. He is an excellent cardiovascular surgeon, is conscientious, takes care of his patients very well and gets along with his peers, and to the best of my knowledge has excellent moral and ethical standards. I think he would be a considerable asset to your staff and I would recommend wholeheartedly that he be appointed.

  Jt. Exh. 1-U. Dr. Robinson completed his training at the Texas Heart Institute under the supervision of Dr. Denton Cooley. After two requests from Mr. Grapski and one request from Dr. Magovern for information about Dr. Robinson, Dr. Cooley sent the following response to Mr. Grapski:

  
(Dr. Robinson) served as a Resident in Thoracic Surgery for the period July 1, 1971 to July 1, 1972 at the Texas Heart Institute of St. Luke's and Texas Children's Hospital. He performed his duties well, and we believe that he is an accomplished and capable cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon.
  
Dr. Robinson can be a rather stern, rigid person in his dealings with others, but this does not necessarily indicate a serious personality handicap. I believe that he shows promise of success in his chosen specialty.
  
Since I have not been in contact with Dr. Robinson since his departure from Houston, may I suggest that you get a reference from Dr. James Giacobine of Pittsburg. (sic) Dr. Giacobine and Dr. Robinson were associated in practice.
  
I would appreciate any consideration given to him.

  Jt. Exh. 1-RR.

  The committee already had written to Dr. Giacobine to inquire about his experience with Dr. Robinson. Dr. Giacobine's reply read in part:

  
I am sure his curriculum vitae is a fair assessment of his professional training. In successfully passing the examination of the Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, he has achieved the minimum requirement of our specialty. Absence of special qualification or achievement, I am sure, are also evident in his staff application.
  
Several years ago, when I requested a recommendation from Doctor Denton Cooley, of Houston, Texas, his letter among other things, indicated Doctor Robinson's inability to accept criticism. I have since assessed this as ...

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