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St. Peter’s Well being Hit with Lawsuit Over Lacking Physician

St. Peter’s Health, located in Helena, Montana, was recently hit with a class-action lawsuit over the “unexplained absence of oncologist Dr. Tom Weiner.” Filed in Lewis and Clark District Court on Friday by attorney John Doubek of Doubek, Pyfer & Storrar in Helena, the suit argues that Weiner was “terminated/removed from his position as Tonya Hauck’s treating oncologist and escorted from the building” late last month. Huack, along with others similarly affected, is listed as plaintiffs in the case.

Dental tools lay out on a tray in preparation for a periodontal surgery at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 5, 2013. The surgery usually lasts two to three hours. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tori Schultz/Released, Public domain.

The suit further alleges that Weiner’s absence has “presented undue stress to Weiner’s patients and that the hospital has failed to fulfill its duty to patients.” After Weiner’s sudden absence, St. Peter’s CEO Wade Johnson said the following:

“The circumstances around Dr. Weiner’s absence are private and confidential, therefore, St. Peter’s is not legally allowed to provide more information.”

Since then, the hospital issued a statement “reiterating that the circumstances around Weiner’s leave of absence remain private and confidential.” It should be noted that the website still lists Weiner as “a member of the St. Peter’s Medical Group and says he is accepting new patients.” 

The suit argues that “no patients were consulted before Weiner’s absence.” It further claims that St. Peter’s has yet “to provide the name of a physician who will take over primary care for his patients.” On top of that, the hospital’s patient guide “advocates for a patient’s right to know who will be taking care of them when they receive medical care.”

As a result of Weiner’s absence, his patients have had to reschedule important appointments and life-saving treatments. Some of the patients argue that “every few visits, they’re assigned new doctors who are unfamiliar with their care plans.” It also alleges the doctor’s unexplained absence “has resulted in gaps in patient care, inadequate care because the other doctors are unfamiliar with patient conditions, and stress and anxiety during what is already a stressful time in patients’ lives.”

S a result, the plaintiffs are accusing the hospital of “negligent interference with physician-patient relationships, tortious interference with physician-patient relationships, intentional interference with prospective physician-patient relationships, bad faith dealings with patients and negligent infliction of emotional distress on patients,” according to the suit.

On Monday, the hospital issued the following statement:

“As we’ve shared, patient care remains our highest priority and our Cancer Treatment Center continues to care for patients. Three board-certified oncologists are closely evaluating each patient’s care to ensure they are receiving the most effective treatments. While patients with the most urgent needs are being given priority, all patients will soon receive appointments for these evaluations.”

Sources:

Lawsuit filed over Helena physician’s unexplained absence

Montana health system sued over oncologist’s sudden absence

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