Editor, Commonwealth:

At a board meeting earlier this month of the five persons who govern Greenwood Leflore Hospital, Mr. Sammy Foster acknowledged that someone publicly stated that “we (the board) got rid of five doctors.” But Mr. Foster asserted that “it wasn’t true. No truth to that. I called you all and told you that” (“Board may join debate in letters to editor,” March 6).

Within the past month, I’ve read a list of doctors terminated by the hospital in the last 2½ years. Five physicians were named in articles by John Pittman Hey, along with the month and year each was terminated (Feb. 18 and March 5 NewsFlashes at TheTaxpayersChannel.org).

There’s a contradiction between John Pittman Hey’s list of five doctors fired by the hospital and Sammy Foster’s declaration, “No truth to that.”

Relabeling doesn’t resolve the contradiction. Mr. Subho Basu, the hospital’s interim CEO, and Mr. Foster can cavil all they want to over whether refusing to renew a doctor’s contract is the same as getting rid of the doctor. Either way, the doctor is shut out. His name is removed from the nameplate at the hospital-owned office or clinic where he used to work. Still, the hospital’s official line is that non-renewal of the hospital’s contract with a doctor is quite different from getting rid of him.

Assigning a public relations staff person to publish letters to do damage control doesn’t resolve the contradiction. The hospital already keeps its records closed to public inspection. Board members frequently meet in executive session to exclude the media and the public. Employing a person or hiring a PR firm to write a letter to the newspaper denying that any local, well-established physicians have been terminated by majority vote of the hospital board members could add to the secrecy, but it wouldn’t explain why those five doctors no longer work with Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

Bluster doesn’t resolve the contradiction, either. Claiming “it wasn’t true” is a weak answer to a report that listed names of numerous doctors, month of termination and whether the termination was initiated by the hospital.

If Mr. Foster refuses to admit that the hospital terminated five physicians at his board meetings, how can I believe what he says in a letter to the editor?

In addition to the five doctors who’ve been terminated, several more Greenwood doctors have given up — and now work with hospitals in other cities. If Greenwood Leflore Hospital spokesmen write more letters to the editor to rebut negative publicity, will such letters explain why the other four doctors left?

George S. Whitten Sr.
Greenwood

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