Shut Up, Doc!

Western Med doctors are afraid to speak out after one of their own was sued for criticizing management

Fitzgibbons refused the offer, saying his legal costs are already so high that he's had to ask other doctors to contribute to his defense fund.

Though he concedes many of Fitzgibbons' complaints are true, Shah insists the doctor has "slandered" IHHI. "He is on a crusade to malign us for no reason," Shah said. He denied that recent cleaning efforts at the hospital were a response to last month's Weekly article. "Six months prior to the article . . . we negotiated a contract with a new company because we wanted to improve the cleanliness at the hospital," Shah said. "The timing of the change occurred a few weeks prior to the article."

While Shah denied that Western Medical Center is losing patients or doctors at a higher rate than in the past, he did acknowledge the recent sewer break. That problem, he said, was immediately fixed, but the broken elevator and CAT scanner are still undergoing repairs.

"As to supplies and paying our bills, we manage our cash much more carefully than the previous owners," said Shah, reading from Mogel's e-mail. "We do keep supplies at lower levels but have never run out of supplies or failed to meet the needs of our patients, and we never will . . . Had Dr. Fitzgibbons decided not to slander and damage our company, we never would have sued him."

Speaking of that lawsuit: contacted by the Weekly for a response, Fitzgibbons referred us to his lawyer.


nschou@ocweekly.com

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