On Wednesday morning, Oct. 7, 2015 – as a final appeal —Dr. Paul Church was allowed to speak for 15 minutes and present a written statement before a sub-committee of the Board of Directors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston.
According to the BIDMC bylaws, a hospital representative (likely one of their lawyers) was also able to speak for 15 minutes against Dr. Church, and also present a statement.
This “final appeal” before the Board of Directors was allowed by the bylaws if Dr. Church could demonstrate that the hospital panel that upheld his expulsion had “acted arbitrarily, capriciously or with prejudice or that the recommendation of the panel was not supported by the evidence.” In fact, Dr. Church had simply told the truth about unhealthy behaviors. People connected with Dr. Church’s defense team had indicated that the panel’s biases and actions were outrageous and were easily documented.
National physicians group: Hospital used “sham peer review” against Dr. Church
The hospital’s expulsion of Dr. Church was based completely on non-medical reasons having nothing to do with patient care, and the process used against him has now been called into question. It’s not surprising that the earlier panel was so obviously biased.
MassResistance recently received information from a representative from the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) about this. The AAPS is very upset about Dr. Church’s expulsion by the hospital, and recently sent out a national press release which was picked up by Yahoo News.
The AAPS physician who contacted us said that the approach the hospital used to expel Dr. Church is something they’ve seen many times before. He said that Dr. Church was targeted by a “sham peer review,” which he told us is “a general term describing the misuse of hospital by-laws to intimidate and control physicians.” The hospital uses a process meant for dealing with legitimate medical malpractice or abuse of a patient as a club against a doctor that they want to punish for other reasons, often ideological or political. The upper management of doctors and administrators collude to conduct a phony “peer review” against the physician in question. They use their collective influence to persuade staff members and even Board members to go along with it.
In this case, the internal process used against Dr. Church was meant for punishing actual medical malpractice or patient abuse – neither of which has ever been alleged against Dr. Church – not for settling ideological disagreements.
New worldwide petition nearing 8000 signatures
Last week our new CitizenGo petition which addresses the BIDMC Board of Directors was posted. It’s now up to nearly 8000 signatures from across the US and dozens of foreign countries. That’s almost double the number of signatures of the previous petition (which addressed the BIDMC president) regarding Dr. Church’s original appeal hearing.
According to hospital sources, the Board is very much aware of the petition and is not pleased about it.
Fired for telling the politically-incorrect truth
As MassResistance has reported, the BIDMC Medical Executive Board decided that Dr. Church’s statements to colleagues about the medical dangers of homosexual behavior, and moral issues surrounding it, were “offensive” and constituted “discrimination,” “harassment,” and “unprofessional conduct.” Thus, they expelled Dr. Church from the BIDMC medical staff.
Dr. Paul Church has been a urologist on the BIDMC staff for nearly 30 years and is a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty. He has done research on diagnosing prostate and bladder cancer, and has spoken on the subject of high-risk sexual behaviors.
An appeals panel of colleagues upheld the expulsion of Dr. Church after holding a two-day hearing in late July. As described above, he then appealed to the hospital’s Board of Directors on the basis that the process was extremely biased and arbitrary.
What is next?
His appeal to the Board of Directors is clearly the end game, but it’s not clear how long it will take, and the exact process is also unclear.
For example, the immediate time frame is inknown. The hospital by-laws state that “The Appellate Review Panel [the Board’s sub-committee] shall recommend final action to the board of Directors.” But they do not specify a particular timeframe for that to happen. So could it take weeks or months? We don’t know.
After the Panel formally recommends final action to the Board, the by-laws go on to say:
The Board of Directors may affirm, modify, or reverse the recommendation of the Appellate Review Panel or, in its discretion, it may defer final action while referring the matter for further review and recommendation. If the Board of Directors refers the matter for further review and recommendation, such recommendation shall be made promptly to the Board in accordance with its instructions.
Within twenty (20) business days after receipt of the Appellate Review Panel’s recommendation, the Board of Directors shall render a final decision in writing, including specific reasons for its actions, and shall deliver copies, in hand or by certified mail, returned receipt requested, to the subject Medical Staff Member and to the Chair of the Medical Executive Committee.
The final decision of the Board of Directors following the appeal shall be effective immediately and shall not be subject to further review.
This is continuing to anger people across America and around the world. Will the Board of Directors use common sense? Or will they follow their “professional staff” in a shameful cave-in to the political culture? We will see.
Reprinted with permission from MassResistance.