In response: St. Luke's attempts to denigrate doctors who oppose hospital actions
The lawsuit initiated by St Luke's against the News Tribune apparently includes an assertion that the newspaper published false statements made by physicians who are competitors of St. Luke's and who have a financial motive to harm St. Luke's. To...
The lawsuit initiated by St Luke's against the News Tribune apparently includes an assertion that the newspaper published false statements made by physicians who are competitors of St. Luke's and who have a financial motive to harm St. Luke's. To the best of my knowledge, all of the published statements were accurate and were made with sincerity ("St. Luke's sues Duluth News Tribune over reporting on surgeon," Sept. 20).
The hospital's suggestion of financial motivation was defamatory in its own right and demands a rebuttal.
My practice, Northland Neurology and Myology, was mentioned as one of the supposed competitor organizations. Since St. Luke's never has employed neurologists it is hard to fathom how I could be a competitor. On the contrary, during the 19 years I have been in Duluth, the hospital component of my practice always has been based at St. Luke's. During that time, Northland Neurology has provided constant call coverage for St. Luke's. I personally have provided call coverage for more than 96,000 hours, including a 33-month stretch during which I was off-call only nine days. I have provided consultations to the St. Luke's emergency room on thousands of occasions. All of this work was provided without any compensation from St. Luke's.
Further, Dr. Stefan Konasiewicz was, for several years, among my most important referral sources. In bringing his deficiencies to light, I stood only to lose a great deal of money in terms of lost business.
It may well be that altruism doesn't receive the highest priority from the administrator behind the lawsuit; in that case, the assumption of a financial motivation would be understandable.
It was outrageous, but hardly surprising, that the St. Luke's administration would try yet again to denigrate the physicians who have stood up to the hospital's actions. I never have considered myself in opposition to St. Luke's because I do not equate St. Luke's with its administration or, for that matter, its board of directors. St. Luke's is primarily the physicians, nurses and support staff who do their best to care for patients.
Dr. David McKee of Duluth is a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology and was quoted in the News Tribune's May 29 story, "Former Duluth doctor racked up high pay, accolades - and a host of malpractice suits."