North Country Doctors Support CEO, Administration

NEWPORT, VT - Twenty-five physicians and medical personnel have come out publicly in support of North Country Hospital's CEO Claude Fort and the hospital's board of trustees in a letter to the Newport Daily Express.The hospital's administration has been taking a lot of heat lately over the firing of Dr. Leslie Lockridge, oncologist. Several hundred of Dr. Lockridge's patients and their family members protested the firing at a public meeting held last week in the Newport Municipal Building. Another group continued the protest at the hospital's annual dinner meeting at the Eastside Restaurant the following night. Two or three dozen of his patients have written letters of support to various local newspapers. A few letters, however, have painted a different picture of Dr. Lockridge by criticizing his demeanor and ability to relate to his patients and his lack of compassion.Whichever side of the issue people find themselves on, one thing remained unanswered: How do the staff, doctors and medical personnel at the hospital feel about this controversy?That answer came yesterday when Dr. Robert Trembly hand delivered a letter to the Newport Daily Express containing 19 signatures and stating, "We physicians and associate clinicians working at and with North Country Hospital wish to express our support for the Hospital's Board of Trustees and Administration." Six more signatures arrived from various individuals in the next eight hours.While the letter does not specifically address the firing of Dr. Lockridge or take a position on the controversy, it nevertheless expresses the opinion that the CEO and the board consist of hard-working, well-intentioned individuals doing the best they can in difficult times to serve the community. The letter reads as follows:Dear Editor:We physicians and associate clinicians working at and with North Country Hospital wish to express our support for the Hospital's Board of Trustees and Administration. The Hospital Board of Trustees is comprised of hard-working and dedicated people from our community who devote countless hours without compensation, responsibly guiding the use of the Hospital's resources to the maximum benefit of our community. The Hospital's Administrative Team has worked diligently and competently, and always with the physicians and other providers, to manage hospital resources in the face of an increasingly difficult financial environment. The vision of all involved has been and continues to be providing the safest, most effective, cost-efficient, and patient-centered health care to our community. We know decisions that may seem short-sighted on the surface are made with careful consideration, focusing on strategic planning, the future of the Hospital, and the needs of the entire patient community. We all recognize that at times difficult decisions must be made, and that strong and effective leadership cannot be accomplished by consensus alone. We look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Fort and the Board of Trustees to sustain and grow our hospital and improve the health of our community in the years ahead.Robert Trembley, M.D.Vivian Calobrisi, P.A.C.Peter Harris, M.D.Maria D. Fatigati, M.D.Linda Chasse, F.N.P.Alexandra Bannach, M.D.Megan H. Batchelder, M.D.John Lippmann, .M.DWilliam J. Arban, M.D.Aydin Lathari, MDBetsy Hartman, F.N.P.Rachel B. DiSanto, M.D.Cynthia Fort, F.N.P.Peter Stuart, M.D.Christopher Sullivan, M.D.William Peck, M.D.Paul Newton, M.D.Greg Walker, M.D.Veronika Tedlovszky, M.D.David Alsobrook, M.D.Jennifer Ladd, M.D.Thomas A. E. Moseley, M.D.Patrick Heaney P.A.-C.James Holcomb, M.D.Nelson S. Haas, M.D.