Recently, a local oncologist, who was to retire in six months, was canned by the hospital. I have no idea why and there are two responses given by the hospital. The first stated that he had a pattern of behavior that “resulted in a work environment for our team members that was both hostile and unsafe. When given the opportunity, Dr. Oldham did not deny the allegations made against him.” This was later changed to say that the doctor “over the years has provided high-quality healthcare to his patients. This is not about the level of care he has provided, and we have no knowledge that any harm or bad outcomes came as a result of his behaviors.” Well, that’s weird.
The doctor responded:
In a phone interview Tuesday night, Oldham declined to comment on the situation but did take a moment to defend himself. “The letter implied that I’m a danger to patient care … which is an absolute falsehood,” Oldham said. As far as the allegations he is a danger to staff, he said he never threatened or touched anyone or made a direct comment to anyone. “I think there’s some people there that need to find other work, and I’ve said that publicly and in many forms, which is where this is coming from,” he said.
He then wrote a letter to his former staff:
“Greetings from my early retirement, which I am enjoying very much,” Oldham wrote. “Many of you are wondering what happened, and put simply, my dissenting voice has been silenced. The suggestion that I was physically threatening to anyone is both false and ludicrous. The suggestion that I have ever endangered patient care or safety in any way is also false and absurd. My goals have always been the best patient care possible, and loyalty to and protection of you, our staff,” he said.
The article goes on to say he regrets his termination has unnecessarily involved the staff and alleges the hospital has forgotten the importance of free speech and “genuine, rather than feigned collaboration.”
The newspaper did some investigation and found no board or patient complaints. There are no staff complaints. No harassment complaints. It just looks like the doctor pissed the wrong people off by being outspoken. They responded with the famous “disruptive physician” bit. It’s an old con that works well for so many hospitals. They pull it out of their evil bag of tricks whenever they need it.
In a weird coincidence, I was sent this by a reader of this blog. Let me point out that this is from another hospital in another state:
I was in a hospital elevator a few days ago. I was not on staff. I wore civies. A couple of guys got on. He said “I like Howard, He knows how to control the doctors..” The second said, “He fired one, and the others fell in line.” They got off the next floor.
Do you see how hospital administrators have the same mindset no matter where they are? The goal is to control doctors. Get them to fall in line. Physicians are pawns that can easily be replaced.
Once again I will say that the wrong people are in charge of our healthcare system. The marriage between a doctor and a hospital (when they are employed by them) is an unholy one. The losers end up being not only the physicians but the patients as well.
The more we share these types of stories the more we expose hospital administrators for who they are. If you have similar stories please send them my way.
(Editor’s note: I have the option to retract this if for some reason there are some inappropriate harassment claims that come out in the future. That has not happened so far.)