Dr Lin fired from St Joseph Hospital

Byy On

Update Sat afternoon, Mar 28 - will post two or more paragraph updates

The story of Dr. Lin being fired from his job at St Joseph Hospital in Bellingham is rapidly going viral in newspapers and online news sites across the United States today. The Washington Post has it, as well as several other prominent sites. Bellingham gains national attention for something stupid. PeaceHealth and the contract corporation that provides ER doctors to the hospital, TeamHealth, are each saying they did not fire Dr Lin. A close reading of what they have told the Seattle Times and Associated Press suggests that St Joseph asked TeamHealth to terminate his working at St Joseph. That gives them both cover and allows each to say they are not responsible. TeamHealth says they plan to find another location for Dr Lin. While Bellingham gains the national ‘stupid move’ publicity today, the TeamHealth in Knoxville, Tennessee is really where the ‘stupid move’ label belongs. I am trying to learn more. Hopefully the Seattle Times is also seeking clarification on who and why Dr Lin was fired. He was fired. He reported for work Friday noon for his shift and was marched off the hospital campus by administrative staff.

This is NOT a Bellingham stupid move. Our St Joseph hospital used to be owned and managed locally. But now PeaceHealth in Vancouver, Washington state, over 250 miles from Bellingham, owns the hospital. And TeamHealth, the company that jobs out doctors to PeaceHealth and thus St Joseph Hospital, is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, over 2,000 miles from Bellingham. Dr. Lin had to work for TeamHealth in order to work at St. Joseph hospital. These two corporations, in protecting their images and their profits, worked together to fire Dr. Lin. They don’t have any connection to Bellingham beyond our contributing to their profits. Through skillful public relations processes, they are each denying that they fired Dr. Lin. The stupid move we did was allowing St Joseph to be sold to a group outside our community. They are now showing how little regard they have for our health. Don’t miss taking a look at the top 8 executives at TeamHealth. These guys in the old deep south are in charge of what doctors we have at our only local hospital. After this pandemic is over, perhaps it would be a prudent idea for us in Bellingham to organize a second hospital, locally owned and staffed. We should be able to do better.

Below posted Friday and Saturday morning, Mar 27 & 28.

Dr. Ming Lin was fired from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital today. I spoke with him earlier this evening. He was escorted off the hospital campus this afternoon. We should have more info from him later this evening or on Saturday and we will update this post.

Update: He has posted a 10 minute video with a message to all of us in the community. It is posted on YouTube. More info added Sat: The video was made by Casey Schmidt of Northwest Grip in Seattle. He traveled up to Bellingham to film the doctor in his home.

The Seattle Times has an excellent article on his firing. They posted it up at about 8 pm Friday evening. The Bellingham Herald has briefly mentioned his name once in one article. (corrected from saying no mention) Normal for the Herald.

Seattle Times, Saturday, Mar 28 morning.
Seattle Times, Saturday, Mar 28 morning.

Saturday morning Update: See graphic to right for the most read article in the Seattle Times this morning. The Bellingham Herald followed after the Times story by 15 hours with the Associated Press (AP) story written and distributed nation wide. The Herald has belatedly recognized they cannot totally ignore this story. There is no Saturday print Herald, so this online story may or may not make it into the Sunday print edition of the Herald. To say it again, the Herald policy of ignoring or minimizing local news that is negative for their advertising clients is the whole reason NW Citizen was started 25 years ago and continues to report.

The AP story makes plain that St Joseph Hospital caused the termination of Dr. Lin, not his employer, TeamHealth, the firm that provides emergency room doctors to St Joseph. TeamHealth made it clear they had not fired Dr. Lin and are now seeking to place Dr. Lin in another health facility. You can read the AP story at the AP website. It is the same as what the Herald has - but you will miss the plethora of ads.

If you are new to this, Dr Lin, an emergency room doctor, has been posting on his facebook page with criticism of how the hospital is not protecting staff - doctors and nurses - and not protecting the public. Indeed, “several” hospital staff have become infected with the virus - but Charles Prosper, the CEO, says - without any evidence - that they did not get it from their work at the hospital.

Dr. Lin posted this on Thursday morning.

SHAME ON PEACEHEALTH

Chuck is telling us we r having adequate supplies but got a memo today as well as reliable sources today that the OR is allocating one surgical mask a day to their staff

They are to keep their used one in a paper bag

I hate to think what happens when we run low on toilet paper

Please share and pass the word

We are making a difference

Healthcarelivesmatter

- - - - -

Additions to this post.

Dr. Ming Lin has over 1,500 followers as of this Friday evening on his facebook page. He has provided factual and honest information to Whatcom County residents. And he has nudged St Joseph Hospital to implement several safer practices - ones to protect their doctors and nurses as well as patients. He has done our community a service by using his right to freedom of speech. He performed his work with outstanding reviews and was fired for speaking out. We need all our doctors as this pandemic continues to grow.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Dick Conoboy

Mar 27, 2020

How utterly shameful.  Especially in the face of the values of the hospital as presented on their own website.  The management with this odious action gives lie to and mocks their own words:

Our Values

Respect
We respect the dignity and appreciate the worth of each person as demonstrated by our compassion, caring, and acceptance of individual differences.

Stewardship
We choose to serve the community and hold ourselves accountable to exercise ethical and responsible stewardship in the allocation and utilization of human, financial, and environmental resources.

Collaboration
We value the involvement, cooperation, and creativity of all who work together to promote the health of the community.

Social Justice
We build and evaluate the structures of our organization and those of society to promote the just distribution of health care resources.

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Bob Burr

Mar 28, 2020

Shameful indeed but the good doctor could not have been fired by PeaceHealth because he was not their employee. He was the employee of an independent comtractor that supplies emergency room personnel to PeaceHealth.

I suppose it is remotely possible that PeaceHealth could have orchestrated his firing, After all, it is not good to its employees, even though it is a Catholic faith based organization.. Assuming that PeaceHealth was totally shocked by—what is the word—this whistleblowers fiinding, I fully expect that he will be hired by PeaceHealth directly tomorrow and that they will chastise their comtractor fot this dastardly move,.

I could be paranoid and wrong (there are a paucity of times in the past where that has been the case); but, in these trying times, I think it entrirely possible that there are evil forces at wotk that are not operating in the best injterests of life on Planet Earth.., Check that. I don’t really mean evil.. I mean ignorant and insouciant. God Bless you and God Bless the remaining species on Earth.

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Sean Wheeler

Mar 28, 2020

This is utterly appauling, heads need to roll at Peaehealth over this stageringly negligent and shameful decision.

To Dr. Lin, thank you for the sacrifice and service, you embody the best of what we are in the midst of a very dark period, we’re deeply indebted to you.

I highly encourage everyone to take the opportunity to hear from Dr. Lin himself - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4QXdtUXJzc

As I post this comment, at 1:20pm on 3/28/20, this story has been retweeted more than 1,700 times by the likes of Edward Snowden, https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/1243960389899112448, and a petition on Change.org has garnered more than 2,300 signatures, https://www.change.org/p/team-health-and-peace-health-st-joseph-s-medical-center-rehire-dr-ming-lin?source_location=topic_page

I would encourage anyone reading this to show your support and spread the news as to how PeaceHealth conducts business and treats our community and invaluable healthcare workforce in times of unprecidented international crisis.

Dr. Lin, our doctors, nurses, all healthcare workers, and community members not only deserve but demand far better.

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 28, 2020

This has now gone international in the Guardian.

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Michael Riordan

Mar 28, 2020

As a person who grew up in the Catholic faith, I was appalled when the news broke in Boston and elsewhere about how its once-exalted priests had turned to buggery.

Now a local Catholic institution has turned to buggery of another sort.

Perhaps it should drop the name “Saint Joseph’s” and instead call itself “Judas Iscariot’s”. 

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Sam Crawford

Mar 29, 2020

From St. Joe’s:

As the medical director of the emergency department at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center I want to reassure the local Whatcom community that the emergency department has the equipment, supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) available that we need to take care of whomever presents to us for care.

Our preparations have been ongoing for many weeks and continue as information becomes available about emerging best practices and how they fit into our physical plant design of our ED and hospital.

There are stories of no masks, no gowns, no beds, and no equipment that unfortunately exist in other parts of the nation. For right now, that is not the case in our emergency department and our hospital.

We also acknowledge that there may come a time when there are real shortages and have worked on conserving strategies now in anticipation for that day.

We have very strong working relationships with our EMS partners externally, and internally with our medicine, infection prevention, intensive care unit, radiology, lab, and palliative care colleagues and the dozens of other dedicated healthcare workers behind the scenes as we all face the same challenges for this devastating pandemic.

—Worth Everett, MD, FACEP
Facility Medical Director, Emergency Department

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