Doctors Duke It Out in Douglas County Courthouse: (Day 8)
Last week, Chelsea Duncan wrote a story in the News Review about a trial that had just gotten underway involving current and former local doctors. Dr. John Silver M.D. sued his former colleagues at Roseburg Clinic PC for wrongful termination claiming they did not give him a promised shareholder interest because he tried to stop an impaired doctor from harming patients. However, according to the News Review article, Roseburg Clinic PC claims it was because, according to their lawyer Randy Turn bow, “He did not play well with others.”
The trial is combined with a related case, Dr. Donald Stoddard vs. Dr. John Silver. From what I can tell so far, Dr Stoddard and Dr. Silver got into a battle in the middle of Dr. Silver’s fray with Roseburg Clinic PC. Because off this, Dr. Stoddard sued Dr. Silver for defamation, and in turn Dr. Silver sued him back. So, we have the makings of a story that should make any person in this community very concerned about some of the members of our local medical community.
The NR story piqued my interest, so a friend of mine and I have been attending portions of the trial over the past few days. It is now day eight and we have only heard one side so far, that of Dr. John Silver. Although there is another side, what we have seen so far scares the heck out of us.
The witness we observed today was local anesthesiologist and Roseburg Clinic PC shareholder, Dr. Vanessa Vu. At the time the dispute with Dr. Silver came up, she was on the Executive Committee of Roseburg Clinic PC. Today we saw clear written evidence in court that the members of Roseburg Clinic PC had reason to believe that now deceased Dr. Steven Kegeal was impaired due to his own illness when treating patients in Douglas County.
Plaintiff presented documents that show that during the time Dr. Kagele was ill and Roseburg Clinic allowed him to continue to practice, two patients had serious consequences from mistakes he made. One suffered a stroke. Another died after Dr. Kagele failed to diagnose pneumonia. It seems this is a significant impairment, yet the Roseburg Clinic PC waited about 18 months before they took action against Dr. Kagele.
All of the testimony was brought out under examination of Dr. Vu who was called to the stand by Dr. Silver’s attorney and declared an adverse witness by the judge. Although a lot came out, much of it was not based upon Dr. Vu’s memory of events. She claimed she did not remember much of what went on surround the termination of Dr. Silver, but acknowledge the written memos and emails documented she did including the email that showed Dr. Vu herself lobbied fellow Roseburg Clinic doctors to vote no on making Dr. Silver a shareholder.
Besides Dr. Vu, we have seen three Mercy ICU nurses who claim what a wonderful physician Dr. Silver is and how they circulated a petition among Mercy staff to try to get him to stay in the community. Although 129 staff signed the petition, Roseburg Clinic PC would not let Dr. Silver continue to practice in our community even if he was not part of their group because they had a non-compete clause in their employment agreement with him.
One nurse characterized Dr. Silver as a “Nurses dream and a Doctors nightmare.” Asked what that meant she claimed Dr. Silver would do what was right regardless of whether it was going to make other doctors mad.
The same nurse also described the “chart wars” between Dr. Silver and Dr. Stoddard. Apparently, doctors in our community will express their displeasure with a colleague in the chart notes of hospital patients that both are seeing. What is wrong with this picture?
This trial is disturbing at best. What it seems is the doctors of Roseburg Clinic PC did everything they could to protect one of their own. This included being willing to put members of this community at medical risk. This should scare the heck out of all of us.
So far it appears that what Roseburg Clinic PC attorney Turnbow meant when he claims Dr. Silver did not get his shareholder interest because he did not play well with others was that Dr. Silver was willing to make waves when it was the right thing to do and our local doctors at Roseburg Clinic PC do not like that.
Come see for yourself. The trial starts at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in Judge George Ambrosini’s courtroom #304. Trial usually breaks for lunch around noon and reconvenes about 1:30 p.m.