FLORENCE, Ore. — Dozens of people took to the streets Thursday, rallying together to support a Florence doctor they believe was wrongfully fired.
“I found out when I returned to work after a week vacation, at 8 o’clock on Thursday, April 24th, that I was being terminated with no cause,” said Doctor John Egar. “There was no prior hearing, no disciplinary question, and no issue of patient care involved.”
Doctor Egar had been a PeaceHealth employee since 2009, working as a primary care physician at Peace Harbor Medical Center. He says when he pressed hospital executives about the reasoning behind his termination, they told him, “We cannot tell you to not write letters to the editor, but the forum was not right.” Doctor Egar says the hospital was referring to three letters he wrote to the local paper, The Siuslaw News, in March.
“It was public concern issues, it wasn’t anything about PeaceHealth internally,” said Dr. Egar.
He said the letters addressed health care issues like high deductible insurance rates, dwindling access to primary care, and price transparency.
“I haven’t heard a lot of controversy about those opinions, or ideas, in the general public, but it’s very controversial among PeaceHealth executives,” said Dr. Egar.
It was clear at the protest, many people are upset.
“I can’t believe this.” said Kathy Shamey, a resident of Florence. “This is a rural community, we’ve not replaced some of the previous doctors who’ve left, it’s hard to get doctors here, and they’re firing a beloved doctor? For posting public information in the newspaper that they should have posted in their hospital?”
So far, more than 60 people have signed a petition regarding not only Dr. Egar’s termination, but also, what sort of retaliation can happen for any medical professional who publicly discusses their opinion about health care issues and health care costs.
Those protesting are asking that the hospital give Dr. Egar his job back. We reached out to the hospital, but they say they can’t comment on personnel issues.