Dr. Lockridge To Open Practice

NEWPORT - Dr. Leslie Lockridge, the oncologist who was terminated from North County Hospital, is opening a private practice in Newport. Lockridge will continue his oncology work and also provide primary care for adults, he said in an interview Friday. Lockridge will share a building located about a mile from North Country Hospital with Dr. Paul Julien, who is an otolaryngologist.In early January, Lockridge was notified that his position at the hospital was ending. Many community members, including current and past patients, friends and others, were outraged. A couple hundred turned out for a public meeting to show their support for the doctor and to express their dismay to the hospital board of trustees and CEO Claudio Fort for the decision. Fort had said the move would save the hospital money and connect it with the world-class Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. The decision made was to have two, part-time, visiting doctors from Dartmouth provide care for oncology patients.A group of protesters had also picketed the hospital’s annual meeting at the end of January to show their opposition to the hospital’s decision. The police were called to prevent the protesters from entering the meeting space.Lockridge, with the help of an attorney, began working on a severance package with the hospital and decided to work on a way to continue practicing in the area. A crucial part of the plan was receiving approval from the North Country Hospital credentials committees. Lockridge received approval last Thursday."We are very excited about this opportunity. We’re anxious to start seeing patients again in a new setting,” Lockridge said.Lockridge will see patients for clinic visits in his new offices and will order therapy at the hospital infusion area, as well as testing. Plans include off-hour clinic appointments to accommodate patients who have difficulty missing work or who depend on others for rides.Lockridge plans to open his new doors to patients around April 24.