Contrary to what Anthony J. Garcia told a medical licensing board, his departure from a residency in Chicago wasn't entirely his own decision.
The University of Illinois at Chicago declined to renew Garcia's contract after he took multiple extended, paid medical leaves and failed to communicate with the pathology department.
According to recently released documents:
Garcia started his pathology residency in Chicago in August 2001, about a month after being fired from a Creighton University residency.
By January 2003 he began having health problems. He repeatedly called in sick, and later sought long-term disability.
Dr. Michele Raible, an assistant pathology professor, wrote to Garcia numerous times, seeking documentation from his physician if Garcia wished to be put on sick leave.
She asked him to communicate regularly about his health. Even so, it took several letters and a warning that Garcia was facing probation before she received the documentation.
He last worked at the university on July 11, 2003 — two months after the State of Illinois issued him a full medical license.
He showed up at Raible's office unannounced in March 2004, after not communicating with the department for five months.
Garcia told her he wanted to return to work. A few weeks later he phoned her at 3 a.m. to say he was too sick to return.
Raible sent him a letter questioning his health, his ability to render patient care safely and his desire to be a pathology resident.
The university ended his contract that May.
“Your professional behavior in dealing with your residency position and its associated responsibilities has been substandard over the past year ...” Raible wrote in her letter informing Garcia of the decision. “... I am very concerned about you and remain available to discuss your career plans and professional aspirations.”
Garcia noted his Chicago residency when he applied for a medical license in Indiana in 2008 and 2012. He said he left the program because of poor health, migraines and depression.