Story last updated at 4:04 p.m. Thursday, October 24, 2002

Longtime hospital surgeon suspended

Administrator cites 'nonmedical' reasons for 60-day disciplinary action

by Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

The South Peninsula Hospital Operating Board recently suspended Homer surgeon Paul Sayer for nonmedical reasons.

The 60-day suspension began Sept. 22 and prevents him from performing surgeries at South Peninsula Hospital. Sayer maintains privileges at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna and Providence Hospital in Anchorage.

Consideration of Sayer's suspension was not listed on the agenda for the board meeting at which it occurred, and no public hearing was held.

Board members contacted by the Homer News referred all calls to South Peninsula Hospital CEO Charlie Franz, who would not comment.

"I'm not going to talk about this," he said. "This is hospital business."

Sayer said that under counsel from his attorney, he, too, was unable to speak about the suspension.

"It has nothing to do with my medical competence or my abilities to perform surgery," he said. "It's unfortunate that for nonmedical reasons, they won't even let me save lives."

Former board member Luke Welles is one of several people who sent letters to the Homer News criticizing the board for its action.

"The board was well within its rights, but that doesn't make its decision appropriate," he said. "I don't care what (Sayer) did. You don't suspend your best surgeon for nonmedical reasons -- that's putting the health care of the entire community at risk."

Sayer is the only American Surgical Board-certified general surgeon in Homer.

"I wish I could talk about this," Sayer said. "It's very unfair."

Chris Bernard can be reached at