Two Former UM Organ Bank Employees Claim They Were "Karate Chopped" by Med School Vice Chair

The midtown offices of the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency.
The midtown offices of the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency.
via Google Street View

Professional arguments over the proper way to run an organ bank allegedly turned to amateur displays of karate at the University of Miami.

Two former employees of the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency, an organ bank run by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, are suing after they claim they were struck by Rafic Warwar, the vice chair of administration for the surgery department, in front of 50 people at a staff meeting in 2013.

The employees, Susan Ganz, 61, a physician and former medical director of the organ banks, and Marla Geltner, 49, a nurse and former director of clinical operations, said they had concerns after UM administrators allegedly tried to pressure the organ bank to harvest more organs to meet demands.

But Ganz claims she was concerned that the increased push for organ harvesting was coming at the expense of quality and safety.

According to the Miami Herald, the incident happened at a meeting May 21, 2013. They claim Warwar was unfairly criticizing the staff and decided to speak up.

"All of a sudden he hauls off and he bashes me on the back,'' Ganz told the Herald. "He hit me. He clearly didn't want me to say any more."

Geltner's lawsuit claims Warwar "karate chopped" her in the back during the same meeting.

Both Ganz and Geltner complained, but an internal investigation cleared Warwar of any wrongdoing. As it turns out, neither one works at the organ bank any longer. Geltner was fired, and Ganz's contract was not renewed.

The two are now seeking damages up to $15,000 and court fees from Warwar and the school.

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