SEATTLE — An arbitrator has awarded $17.5 million to a former Swedish Health neurosurgeon who says he was fired in retaliation for questioning the practices of another top surgeon.

The Seattle Times reports ( ) Dr. David Newell lost his job a year ago, and Swedish says he was fired for failing to notify the organization that he had been arrested and jailed in a Seattle prostitution sting. Swedish is challenging the arbitrator’s award.

In a statement Swedish’s CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson, said the arbitration amount was “unconscionable and outrageous.”

Newell says the prostitution issue was used as cover to get rid of him after he raised internal concerns about Dr. Johnny Delashaw, a star surgeon and the subject of a recent Seattle Times investigation, who subsequently resigned and had his state license suspended.

In July 2016, police say, Newell went to a massage parlor where police had set up a sting operation. Newell later pleaded guilty to soliciting a prostitute, according to records, and agreed to pay a fine and do 80 hours of community service.

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