Top Doc calls Phoebe actions "cowardly" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Top Doc calls Phoebe actions "cowardly"

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August 23, 2004

Albany-- Phoebe Chief of Surgery Dr. John Bagnato says hospital administrators are acting irrationally.

In a letter highly critical of Phoebe. Dr. Bagnato calls the hospital "cowardly." He doesn't think the hospital should have filed a lawsuit against a man accused of sending Phoebe Factoids-- faxes critical of the hospital.

Dr. Bagnato wants his colleagues to stand up against the Phoebe board. Dr. John Bagnato says about Phoebe's lawsuit, "The actions of Phoebe's board certainly cannot be described as rational."

The Chief of Surgery at Phoebe Putney Hospital faxed the letter to the hospital's medical staff Friday.

Richard Scruggs, a lawyer who has filed suit against Phoebe and other non profit hospitals for billing practices, says he is glad Doctors are taking a stand. "I am glad that the Albany surgical organization came to Charles Rehberg's support," he said.

Phoebe Putney filed a libel suit against Charles Rehberg who is office Administrator for Albany Surgical, P.C., Dr. Bagnato's practice. Phoebe claims Rehberg sent out faxes called 'Phoebe Factoids', that probe the hospital's finances.

In his letter, Dr. Bagnato says "Hatred cannot be condoned.The Phoebe board's heart is hollow and it's intentions shallow."

Today, Dr. Bagnato through his Atlanta lawyer, sent out copies of a letter to Phoebe's Board Chairman, Lemuel Griffin. It starts "We are shocked at the behavior of Phoebe Putney Health System."

It continues "We strongly protest Phoebe Putney's tactics to intimidate and harass Charles Rehberg."

Rehberg says two private detectives hired by Phoebe confronted Rehberg in the Albany Surgical Parking lot, threatening him and his family. "And I think they will offend physicians and patients and citizens alike, that this hospital would attempt to silence someone who is bringing to the public's attention some of the pratices that Phoebe Putney has been engaged in for some time," said Scruggs.

 Dr. Bagnato concluded "The medical profession is supposed to hold ethical standards dearly. We are very disappointed in the conduct of Phoebe Putney."

Dr. Bagnato's letter to Griffin is signed by four other surgeons in his practice.

Phoebe Putney spokespersons say they intend in the next few days to respond to the untruths and manipulative tactics of Mr. Rehberg and Albany Surgical P.C.

posted at 5:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com