St. Joseph's Candler Health System and CEO Being Sued - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/27/07

St. Joseph's Candler Health System and CEO Being Sued

Tuesday's News Conference Tuesday's News Conference
Dr. Herbert Hoover Dr. Herbert Hoover

Just one year into his contract with St. Joseph's Candler, Dr. Herbert Hoover wasn't able to finish the mission he felt he was hired to achieve at the Lewis Cancer Pavilion. While he wanted to recruit doctors from the outside, which he said was within his rights in his contract, other doctors and hospital administrators did not.

At news conference on Tuesday, Hoover's attorneys produced a letter they say was sent to CEO Paul Hinchey from several local doctors who wanted to see Hoover gone. "The administration chose to side with the local doctors. When Doctor Hoover contended it gave him the right to recruit other physicians to the staff, he was fired and given a week to clean out his office," said Hoover's attorney, Susan Cox.

Dr. Hoover was let go last month after a little over a year on the job. He was under a five year contract with the Lewis Cancer Pavilion but was terminated under what some are calling local office politics.

Cox also had a copy of another letter sent anonymously to patients, detailing other reasons Hoover was let go, including pending malpractice suits and allegations of sexual harassment. Rumors Hoover and his lawyer vigorously deny.

Hoover was not at Tuesday's news conference, but in a written statement said "I wish I could remedy it without having to pursue this legal avenue, but I cannot, in good conscience allow this malicious and arrogant behavior on the part of St. Joseph's Candler to continue."

Dr. Jules Toraya is an OBGYN at St. Joseph's Candler and feels Dr. Hoovers termination is unjust. " It is our loss, it is the communities loss, and my own personal embarrassment that St. Joseph's Candler would not let Dr. Hoover fulfill the original mission and vision of the cancer pavilion," responded Toraya.

Several patients of Dr. Hoover's also spoke on his behalf at the news conference. Marion Forest says he was told by other doctors he would not survive his cancer diagnosis. He says he turned to Dr. Hoover and is now cancer free. " I feel sad in my heart, because I know there was no one else I could go to with his caliber."

Another of Dr. Hoover's patients agreed." He has such great skill, great knowledge of cancer," said Willie J. Williams," I think it's a great loss to this community to have him leave and go somewhere else."

While this lawsuit took St. Joseph's Candler officials by surprise, they are very concerned. St. Joseph's Candler President and CEO, Paul Hinchey, had just flown back in to town when we caught up with him. While he wouldn't comment on specific allegations in the lawsuit, Mr. Hinchey did say that Hoover leaving the director position was more about administration, leadership, and professional differences, and not what he is implying in his lawsuit." We really regret that that had to happen. We've been trying to resolve this issue in amicable fashion and a professional way as we could since we announced we had a separation several weeks ago, stated President and CEO of St. Joseph's Candler, Paul Hinchey," Our attorneys are working on the brief which will be a rebuttal to Dr. Hoover's accusations, which we vehemently deny, and we will clarify every one of them in our rebuttal."

That response should be available within the next 30 days.

Dr. Hoover is seeking to clear his name and wants more than nine million dollars for things including breach of contract, libel and slander, and emotional distress.

Reported By: Melanie A. Ruberti; mruberti@wtoc.com 

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