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Bellingham doctor allegedly fired for blowing whistle on hospital conditions

A doctor walks into an Auburn hospital. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A Bellingham doctor became the poster child recently for emergency workers struggling to stay safe while treating coronavirus patients, after he was allegedly fired for speaking out against conditions in his hospital.

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Dr. Ming Lin has been an outspoken critic of the conditions at his Bellingham hospital during the coronavirus response, posting a letter he sent to the head of PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s Medical Center on Facebook. It highlighted how the hospital was mismanaging patient testing and putting health care workers at risk.

He decried the lack of an emergency triage facility outside the hospital to help manage incoming patients, and called for the hospital to step up its efforts.

What did Dr. Lin get for his efforts? He was let go from the hospital.

The staffing company that provides doctors to the hospital says Dr. Lin wasn’t fired, but reassigned.

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine has called on the Washington State Attorney General’s Office and others to investigate the controversy.

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The Washington Nurses Association has also filed complaint. Ruth Schubert with the nurses association said it’s never acceptable to fire someone who is trying to make things better, especially a much needed emergency room doctor.

“We really feel like he was very brave, speaking out about the safety of staff and the safety of patients who are afraid to speak out,” she said.

The company that runs the hospital says its health care workers have all they need to treat patients.

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