Original letter from Lori R. Price, to Dr. Jack Michel, Chairman and CEO of Larkin Community Hospital, September 15, 2002:
Please re-instate the three men you illegally discharged from their training program!
Dear Dr. Michel:
Reply from Dr. Michel, September 23, 2002, to Lori Price and other folks who wrote to him:
In response to your letter
September 22, 2002
As a community hospital, we appreciate and value your input and would like to thank you for taking the time to share your views. Due to the misinformation and inaccurate reports by the media, many people were under the misconception that these students were "fired" or "kicked out" of their medical program. The medical training of Ayman Gheith, Kambiz Butt, and Omar Choudhary has never been in question, nor postponed or interrupted in any way; they have simply been reassigned to an alternate location. We have been working together with the students from the beginning of this ordeal to relocate them to other facilities to assure their safety, the safety of our patients, and the ability of our hospital to provide excellent patient care.
This is a medical school rotation, not an internship as has been incorrectly reported. They were never fired. Nor were they ever dismissed from the program by their university. Larkin Community Hospital is in full support of these students medical education. This rotation involves lectures and rotations at clinics. They were originally scheduled to be at the auditorium at Larkin for classroom lectures, not to work in the hospital. The entire class has simply been relocated to an auditorium at a different location.
Inaccurate media coverage has generated a significant amount of ill will towards the hospital triggering over 5,000 emails, phone calls, and faxes some of which have been disturbing. This interferes with our ability to provide the high quality of patient care to which we are committed. We cannot and will not jeopardize the care of these patients nor their safety--this is our first priority.
We are a hospitala place where people come to seek medical care--not just a place of business. This is not the place to make a statement that will risk peoples lives, but a place to care for patients. This has always been understood and supported by the medical students, themselves, who appreciate our concern for patient care and safety. Yet, media reports and other correspondence declared me and the hospital to be "racist," "biased," "un-American," "coward," "abhorrent," and even "the real terrorists." Many went even further and sentenced us to "deserving" various forms of punishment both on earth and in the afterlife.
Many people asked us to "look at the facts" and to "not pass summary judgement" [sic] based on media reports. So I ask you to follow this advice: look at the facts and do not pass summary judgement [sic] based on inaccurate media reports.
From the start of this misfortunate incident, we have maintained the same position. This was and continues to be the only solution that would both protect the students and allow them to continue their medical education while at the same time assuring the safety of our patients and our ability to provide excellent healthcare. I am personally involved in and committed to ensuring Ayman, Kambiz, and Omar get the best medical experience and education possible.
Dr. Jack Michel
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