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Auburn Community Hospital, ex-doctor deny lawsuit claims

Auburn Community Hospital is denying claims made in a former employee’s lawsuit alleging the hospital failed to address a doctor’s dangerous behavior, while an attorney for the doctor described in the lawsuit calls the complaints against him and the hospital “a settlement shakedown.”

In an official response filed in U.S. District Court last week, the hospital denied the claims in a suit by Dr. Gregory Serfer that he was pressured into resigning for reporting another doctor whose behavior was cited as problematic in a state report.

Serfer’s lawsuit, filed late last year, is one of three legal complaints from former employees against the hospital around the same issue. Former hospital stroke program director Dr. Karen Odrzywolski filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court last month and former intensive care unit nurse practitioner Dan Dennis filed a discrimination and hostile workplace complaint earlier this month with the state Division of Human Rights.

The cases all make similar allegations that the hospital either retaliated or failed to respond to complaints made regarding Dr. Jeremy Barnett, who worked in the ICU.

Barnett is not named as a defendant in Serfer’s complaint but is in the complaints from Odrzywolski and Dennis. The law firm Gattuso and Ciotoli is representing all three plaintiffs.

Barnett has not responded to calls seeking comment, but this week a lawyer representing him emailed The Citizen and said Barnett has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the hospital and the state.

Serfer has said Barnett was the same doctor identified in a state review of the hospital on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding similar complaints. As part of that review, the hospital was required to enact a “plan of correction,” the implementation of which has been accepted by the state.

The Auburn Citizen:
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