Chief of Staff Dr. Anna Dowling of PeachHealth St. Joseph Medical Center is circulating a letter today - Thur, Apr 2 - among hospital doctors, asking all of them to sign it. The letter basically confirms that St. Joseph Hospital is doing everything correctly; this is to counter recent news reports to the contrary. In particular, relating to news surrounding the firing of Dr. Ming Lin last week. Lin was told by management to delete facebook posts of his that were critical of the hospital, or resign. He did neither and was fired.
NWCitizen has confirmed that the letter is circulating. A PeaceHealth spokesperson insisted there is no coercion, intimidation, nor implication of being fired if doctors do not sign. PeaceHealth also insists that the idea of the letter originated with Dr. Dowling, that she wrote the letter, and that she is the one asking all doctors to sign it. PeaceHealth corporate, in their words, are only “facilitating” the signing of the letter by doctors. PeaceHealth corporate is in Vancouver, Washington. The person I spoke with in Vancouver is charged specifically with public relations for St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.
The spokesperson confirmed that the letter is intended to be released to the public, so I asked for a copy of it. They told me I should contact Dr. Dowling directly, although when asked, said they did not have contact information for Dowling. So I asked PeaceHealth to get me a copy of the letter - and was told an effort would be made to get Dr. Dowling’s permission for that. Doctors have until 5 pm today to sign the letter.
It is obvious to me that the PeaceHealth spokesperson has the letter and could forward it to me. Instead, they are insisting they need Dr. Dowling’s permission in Bellingham to do that. I am awaiting the letter, but will not hold this news by waiting for it. They have had over three hours already, plenty of time to email it to me.
This article will be updated when we have new information. Apparently, the letter is being tightly controlled at St Joseph as only doctors are seeing it, other staff are not being made aware of it. This information originally came from a source at the hospital. Once again, a whistle-blower has alerted us.
Why is this news? Because we need the doctors at our one and only hospital to be focused on patients. Further, they should not be feeling bullied into signing a letter they may not agree with, especially if they fear they could be risking their jobs by not signing. Again, Dr. Lin was fired last week in the middle of a pandemic, even while getting high marks on job reviews and evaluations. It is not uncommon for companies to ask employees and contract workers (which is what the doctors at St. Joseph Hospital are) to sign statements that can be held in their file and used against them should they say something critical in the future. This letter may not be intended to ever see the light of public release. Thus we need to learn more. Our health is at risk as PeaceHealth tries to paper over possible critical shortcomings in their operations.