Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

Dr. Church's statement before Medical Executive Committee of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - Feb. 18, 2015

At hearing to decide whether to expel him for voicing concerns about the hospital's aggressive promotion of homosexual events

(See the entire history of the Dr. Church incident HERE.)

Here is the statement that Dr. Church read to the 25-member Committee which governs the hospital, defending his actions, statements, and professionalism:

Thank you for this opportunity to appear before the Medical Executive Committee and address disciplinary action under consideration relating to my professional conduct.  I understand that according to provisions of Section 6.3 of the bylaws, I am allowed to communicate my views on this subject and defend them today.

The charges involve accusations of harassment and discrimination, as well as violations of a “Letter of Reprimand” issued in 2011. I expect to show that the accusations are baseless, and that the Letter of Reprimand contains terms that violate my rights of freedom of speech and religious expression protected by the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and therefore are invalid and unenforceable, and cannot be the basis for professional discipline. Because I am here without the benefit of legal counsel, the details for that conclusion and legal defense are outlined in this letter I offer to the committee for its deliberations in this matter.

In my clinical practice I have had dozens of patients who would self identify as members of the LGBT community, for whom I have provided compassionate, respectful care, and none have lodged accusations of discrimination or unprofessional behavior.  Indeed, I want to make it very clear that I am not here today because of any charges relating to patient care or professional conduct involving doctor-patient interactions. Former president Paul Levy did conduct his own in-house review of my record and found no indiscretions. He later defended the right of staff, including me, to hold contrary views without being subjected to disciplinary action or dismissal. In an exchange on his own blog on May 19, 2007, he stated, “This is a free country, and people are allowed to express their views. As long as we have no indication that patients are harmed by a doctor, or likely to be harmed, we have no right to remove privileges.” I point this out, because it is still absolutely applicable today.

The medical center has not remained neutral on what is primarily a political-social agenda of the LGBT community. Annual emails, postings on its intranet, and activities hosted on campus surrounding “Pride Week“ are clearly intended to be promotional and endorsing. In doing so, the medical center ignores and marginalizes opposing worldviews on morality and sexual behaviors often based on strong religious convictions that are represented within the diversity of its staff and larger community.  Furthermore, it indicates a peculiar willingness to overlook high risk behaviors common to the LGBT community, which is contradictory to the larger mission of a healthcare institution to promote and model healthy choices and lifestyles. The evidence for the health risks and serious medical consequences is drawn from peer reviewed medical literature and information compiled periodically by the Centers for Disease Control.

In the last 10 years, I have brought these concerns and the medical evidence to the highest levels of management in the medical center, and also two ad hoc investigating committees. I have been met by efforts to silence the criticism and accused of discrimination and harassment. I stopped using the hospital email system for communications and requested that I be removed from the directory of recipients for any further notices regarding LGBT activities;  a request that was either ignored or denied. Despite these efforts to “play by the rules,” the administration became even more aggressive about trying to silence objections and opposition to their LGBT social agenda and subjected me to an intensive investigation in 2011, which resulted in the “Letter of Reprimand,” which contains terms in “part 1” prohibiting any further communications regarding my views on homosexuality. This “gag rule” is an assault on freedom of speech and violates rights guaranteed to me in both the public and private forum under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.

In terms of the specific charges lodged by Dr. Chaikof regarding my professional conduct, I wish to make the following points. I have not engaged in discrimination, as I am not withholding or altering services I provide, or suggesting that anyone else do so. I have not engaged in harassment, because the communications have always been only reactive to provocative emails, website stories, or solicited invitations for comments in a blog-like forum open to the readership, of which I am part. It was within my rights as a member of the staff to post comments in response to promotional news stories on the website in 2013 and 2014. These “comment sections” are open to all staff and readers in a blog-like forum; a “virtual conversation” if you will. The posted comments fell within the scope of allowable language, were not profane or directed to individuals, and were medical factual and biblically sound. I make no apologies for their content.

In appearing here today, I appeal to the collective wisdom of this governance body to understand that there is a major problem with the medical center putting a political-social agenda ahead of its higher mission to protect the public from unhealthy behaviors and fully educate the public about those risks.  By failing to warn the public about risks and dangers of certain behaviors common to homosexuality and the LGBT group, the medical center does a great disservice to the public at best, and at worst is complicit with a deception perpetrated on the public by a self-serving political-social agenda. This is not only BAD policy, it’s BAD medicine. There is a major problem with the medical center attempting to silence criticism of its policies when those policies contradict commonsense, common decency, and sound medical evidence that supports another worldview.  There is a major problem when the medical center shows favoritism for one social ideology over another, and then attempts to limit free speech and expression to the point of disciplining and intimidating members who object. My counsel advises that my right to dissent and object on this matter without threats and intimidation for termination of staff privileges is protected by the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act and the Massachusetts Whistleblower Protection Act.  I sincerely hope that we do not need to go to court to settle this, but we are prepared to do so if my rights to object on medical or religious grounds are being trampled to promote a political-social agenda and the newly minted rights of “sexual orientation.”

The views that I represent are shared by colleagues within and outside the medical center, and by friends at the Massachusetts Family Institute, MassResistance, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and other pro-family, pro-traditional values organizations, some of whom have submitted letters of support to Dr. Tabb and Dr. Brown. I call upon this committee to dismiss disciplinary action involving my conduct.  I have done nothing wrong, unprofessional, or unethical.   I respectfully submit that the administration acknowledge the diversity of moralities and worldviews, including religious convictions, represented among its staff, employees, patients, and larger community and remain neutral to any social agendas, including that of the LGBT advocates. This also means being mindful of the Judeo-Christian roots of our two institutions and respectful of the orthodox views of those religious traditions that do not accept homosexuality as normative or admirable. Furthermore, I urge the medical center to honor its greater commitment and higher calling to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

Members of the BIDMC Medical Executive Committee, which voted to expel Dr. Church from the hospital staff for telling the truth:

Jonathan Kruskal, MD - MEC Chair, Chair, Radiology
Hope Ricciotti, MD - MEC Vice-Chair, Chief, OB/Gyn
Kenneth Sands, MD - MEC Secretary, Chief Quality Officer and Senior Vice President, Health Care Quality
Robert Gabbay , MD - Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Joslin Diabetes Center
Nancy Formella - Chief Operating Officer
Peter Weller, MD - Member-at-Large
Lynne Uhl, MD - Member-at-Large
Jeffrey Saffitz, MD - Chief of Pathology
Mark Gebhardt, MD - Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery
Sheila Barnett, MD - Member-at-Large
Elizabeth Buechler, MD - Member-at-Large
Jeff Garber, MD - Senior Atrius Health Physician Liason
Robert Brown, MD - Credentials Committee Chair
Mark Zeidel, MD - Chair, Dept. of Medicine
Richard Whyte, MD - Member-at-Large
DeWayne Pursley, MD - Neonatologist-in-Chief
Stuart Rosenberg, MD - HMFP CEO
Clifford Saper, MD - Chief, Department of Neurology
Richard Schwartzstein, MD - Vice President for Education
Robert Stern, MD - Chief, Department of Dermatology
Mary Ann Stevenson, MD - Chief, Department of Radiation Oncology
Richard Wolfe, MD - Chief, Emergency Medicine
Elliot Chaikof, MD - Chief, Department of Surgery
William Greenberg, MD - Chief, Psychiatry
Carrie Tibbles, MD - Member-at-Large
Daniel Talmor, MD - Interim Chief, Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Kevin Tabb, MD - President and CEO
Marsha Maurer - SVP of Patient Care Services (has been active in LGBT activities at BIDMC)
Eileen McCarthy - Senior VP for Compliance, Audit and Risk



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