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NYPD doctor allegedly ‘bullied’ cancer-stricken cop off force: suit

An NYPD officer who survived a stroke and two bouts of breast cancer alleges a department doctor bullied and harassed her – ultimately causing her to quit, court papers show.

Destiny McCann, 39 — who became an officer in 2009 — got her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2018, suffered a stroke in 2019 and had a second breast cancer diagnosis in 2021, her Brooklyn Supreme Court lawsuit filed Tuesday claims.

The Jamaica, Queens, mom of a 15-year-old son, says her work problems started when a new NYPD deputy chief surgeon – John Santucci – started overseeing her disability case in 2020, the filing claims.

“He really bullied me off,” McCann told The Post. “I worked all of these years and for him to push me off … I get basically pennies.”

Dr. John J. Santucci is pictured.
McCann alleges that Santucci yelled at her, threatened her and said she wasn’t sick.
NYU Langone Health

According to the suit, when McCann, who had “trouble walking” and had “became disabled,” saw Santucci, he’d for no reason scream, telling her: “I don’t care what other doctors said. I am in charge here and you are going back to work. Resign if you don’t want to be tortured.”

Santucci, 62, who is also affiliated with NYU Langone, allegedly subjected McCann to monthly harassment and threatened to suspend her if she took anymore sick days — and tried to force her back to work before she was recovered from radiation treatment, the suit claims.

“I feel like it was unfair,” McCann said. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I just got sick.”

Destiny McCann's radiation burns
McCann claims the doctor “ignored” her third-degree burns from the radiation.

Destiny McCann's blurred radiation burns.
McCann says the doctor pressured her to go back to work the same month she finished radiation therapy for her cancer.


“You are threatening to suspend me and fire me because I’m sick with cancer?” McCann said.

The court papers claim McCann was “terrified” of Santucci, yet was forced to continue to see him over two years until she quit in January 2022 — despite asking more than once that a different doctor be assigned to her case.

Over that time period, Santucci allegedly told McCann: “You never had a stroke,” “Nothing is wrong with you,” and “my secretary has the same condition as you and she is at work.”

Destiny McCann in bed.
McCann wanted to stay on the force until retirement age in a desk position.

Destiny McCann in the hospital.
McCann claims the doctor threatened to fire her if she took more sick days.


McCann filed a complaint with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity on March 5, 2021; the case “was closed without investigation” 11 days later, according to court papers..

The next month McCann began radiation therapy, ending in June 2021 — when Santucci tried to “force” her back to work though she was still recovering from the radiation and had third-degree burns he “ignored,” the suit alleges. That July, one sergeant “saw [her] radiation burns and stated how wrong it was for [her] to be at work,” the filing alleges.

Dr. Santucci is pictured in an NYPD uniform.
McCann alleges Santucci pressured her to retire several times.
Twitter / @NYPDPersonnel

Also in July 2021, Santucci designated McCann as “Chronic B” sick — meaning she’d have to notify the NYPD every time she wanted to leave her house — remaining on “house arrest” until she retired in January 2022, the suit claims.

“I didn’t want to leave but I couldn’t take the stress, the yelling,” on top of her illnesses, McCann said.

Pictured is Destiny McCann in uniform.
McCann said she could not take the stress of her illnesses along with the stress the doctor placed on her.
“Courtesy of John Scola.”

McCann was twice denied applications for disability retirement – which would have paid out ¾ of her salary– and instead had to take early retirement with just half of her salary, according to McCann and her suit.

McCann “was forced off the job as a result of the defendants failures to accommodate [her] and harassment,” the lawsuit charges.

She wanted to continue working for the remainder of her career on modified duty or desk jobs until she was 63 and could earn full retirement, but the NYPD “never engaged in a dialogue as to how best accommodate her,” the filing claims.

The court papers noted there were other positions on the force she could have been assigned — including her last assignment as an administrative position in a courthouse.

Destiny McCann is pictured in her NYPD uniform.
McCann retired early with only half of her salary in pension wages.
“Courtesy of John Scola.”

“If I would have continued to work longer, I would have gotten more of my salary. I need that money because I have my condition and I have to take care of my family,” said McCann.

Instead, McCann will miss out on nearly $12,000 of retirement pay per year, the court papers say.

McCann’s cancer is currently in remission; she no longer works, but has a slew of health problems and side effects from medications she takes

“I have been on medicine for nine years to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back,” McCann said of hormone suppressant medications. “It makes me tired and makes my body hurt.”

McCann’s lawyer, John Scola, told The Post: “The NYPD would rather harass an employee who has cancer than follow the law and medically accommodate them.

“The callous nature of this repeated abuse and the palpable harm that it has caused Officer McCann and other officers in similar situations cannot be overstated.”

She is suing both the city and Santucci for claims of disability discrimination and retaliation and is seeking unspecified damages.

A spokesperson with the city Law Department said: “We’ll review the case when we are served and respond in the litigation.”

Santucci and the NYPD didn’t return requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy

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