A Black, gay orthopedic surgeon is suing Los Angeles County, Keck Medicine of USC and University of California Health Los Angeles for alleged discrimination, My News LA reported June 5.
In 2019, Melani Cargle, MD, began an orthopedic surgery rotation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., where her supervisor allegedly carried a concealed gun in a fanny pack, the report said. When she asked what was in the pack, the supervisor allegedly laughed.
Dr. Cargle also said she was on the receiving end of "extremely inappropriate sexist and sexual comments," the report said. Her supervisor allegedly used gay slurs and referred to some patients, residents and students with racial slurs. She reached out to hospital management about the supervisor, but the issue was never resolved, the report said.
Then in 2020, Dr. Cargle joined Keck's orthopedic surgery residency, where a leader in the hand surgery program called her "stupid," "useless" and an "idiot," the report said. She also alleged supervisors didn't accept a disability accommodation request related to charting.
In May, Dr. Cargle received a letter from the county's Department of Human Resources saying the period of time to mediate claims against her UCLA supervisor was closed, the report said. The letter came a week before she got a letter of intent to be terminated from her orthopedic program.
Dr. Cargle is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. A USC spokesperson told My News LA in a statement that the allegations "lack merit."
"As it did with Dr. Cargle, USC takes great care to provide all of its medical trainees with a professional and welcoming educational experience that is free from discrimination, harassment or retaliation," USC said in a statement to My News LA.