Story last updated at 2:59 p.m. Thursday, October 10, 2002

Surgeon should be reinstated
I'm writing this letter to publicly express my concern and displeasure with the decision of the South Peninsula Hospital operating board's decision to suspend Dr. Paul Sayer for at least 60 days for non-medical reasons, especially since a physician's suspension was never on the agenda of the meeting when the action occurred.

There was absolutely no public notice given that the only local American Surgical Board surgeon in Homer could potentially be suspended for non-medical reasons. Dr. Sayer is Homer's only board-certified general surgeon and has been providing quality medical service to the Homer community since the early 1970s. It is very frustrating to request that the board rescind this decision due to the corporate structure of the hospital.

The corporate self-appointed board members for South Peninsula Hospital Inc. -- which is responsible for hospital operations -- have no accountability to the general public for their decisions as board members because they are not elected, only appointed. The service area board members, who are elected, are only responsible for two duties: 1) contract out the management of the hospital (which they chose to do with South Peninsula Hospital Inc.); and 2) oversee that property tax dollars collected in the service area are used appropriately.

The hospital has received my tax dollars over the last 10 years, and I cannot request Dr. Sayer as my surgeon at SPH Inc. But if I travel to Soldotna or Anchorage to hospitals that haven't received my tax dollars, I can request Dr. Sayer as my surgeon. My request to the corporate board of SPH Inc. is to immediately call a special meeting to rescind the suspension of Dr. Sayer, especially since the suspension is for non-medical reasons, and allow him to perform surgeries on the patients who specifically request his services.

The only way for this to happen is for enough people to convince the SPH Inc. board members to take this action. The chairman of the board is Fred Lau, who has the authority to call a special meeting.

Luke Welles

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