Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
War Continues

By Jeanne Sager
HARRIS — May 16, 2006 – Dr. Hal Teitelbaum may be asked to put his money where his mouth is.
Catskill Regional Medical Center CEO Art Brien said he’s asked the hospital’s lawyers to look into a libel/slander suit against Crystal Run Healthcare and its managing partner.
Nearly two weeks ago, Teitelbaum announced that he’s pulling Crystal Run doctors and their patients out of Catskill Regional – effective around May 31.
Since then, word has spread across the area – even onto New York City news stations.
It’s been two weeks of what Brien termed rampant attacks in the media.
Teitelbaum has said the reason for the move is quality concerns with Catskill Regional’s practices – at least a dozen complaints are centered on the obstetrics ward in Harris.
But Brien said he’s invited the state Department of Health into the hospital for two separate visits since Teitelbaum’s announcement.
“Both visits uncovered no quality concerns at all,” he said. “And that review wasn’t forced on us!”
Brien said Teitelbaum’s comments in the press “have crossed the line.
“This has to do with control,” Brien said, “with power of the hospital.”
Brien said Teitelbaum does have a chance to make a difference on the hospital staff – he’s been given the chance to become an attending physician at Catskill Regional, a position from which a doctor can move into the head of medical staff slot.
That’s how Teitelbaum could make a real difference in the way medicine is practiced at the hospital, Brien said.
“However, he chooses to sit in Rock Hill and take shots at us,” Brien noted.
Brien did say the Crystal Run announcement has not yet bred ill effects for the hospital.
Even among the cases Crystal Run has cited as quality complaints, there are patients Brien said are very happy with the hospital.
In one case reported to the health department by Crystal Run, Brien said Teitelbaum’s complaint is that anesthesia did not arrive fast enough for an emergency Cesarean section.
Brien said guidelines call for an anesthesiologist to arrive on the scene to administer a general anesthetic within 30 minutes of the decision to remove a baby via an emergency C-section.
The hospital anesthesiologist arrived 22 minutes after the call went out, Brien said.
Meanwhile, the doctor, a CRMC physician, had made the decision to proceed with the surgery under local anesthesia because he feared for the life of both the baby and the mother.
Brien said the woman and her family have both said the physician made the right choice and are extremely happy with the hospital’s care.
Brien said patients currently being served by Crystal Run doctors at CRMC have begun making requests to see CRMC physicians.
That includes pregnant women who plan to deliver on the obstetrics ward at CRMC – a ward that’s currently under construction as the hospital puts in modern birthing suites.
“Our OB nursing staff is spectacular,” Brien said. “Any woman who’s delivered here will tell you that – they walk on water!”
That said, Brien surmised there’s a clear case of libel or slander.
If the hospital’s attorneys agree, Brien said the hospital will follow through with a lawsuit.

top of page  |  home  |  archives