LEBANON — Lawyers for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center want dismissed the lawsuit brought by a fired fertility doctor who claims the hospital engaged in dangerous medical practices.
Dr. Misty Blanchette Porter claims in her lawsuit that she was fired from the hospital in 2017 after she brought up her concerns about medical procedure done without consent, concerns over billing and concerns about a potential Zika virus exposure improperly handled by the hospital.
“Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s decision to terminate Dr. Blanchette Porter’s employment was motivated, in part, out of retaliation for her blowing the whistle on Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s wrongdoing and refusing to go along with or remain quiet about questionable medical practices, including a) its tolerance of medical care by members of its staff that was significantly below an acceptable standard of care; b) fraudulent billing practices; c) performing procedures on patients without consent; d) impregnating a patient through assisted reproduction where the transmission of Zika virus to the conception was a known risk; and e) failing to retain appropriate physician staff with knowledge as required to fulfill validation and reporting obligations,” wrote her attorney, Geoffrey Vitt, in the original complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Rutland, Vt.
Blanchette Porter also claims that she was fired in part because of her disability that limited the number of hours she could work. Blanchette Porter started at the hospital’s Division of Reproductive Medicine and Infertility in 1996. Sometime in 2015 she suffered an injury and was forced to work part time as a result, according to her complaint.
In a court motion filed by one of the hospital’s attorneys, Tristram Coffin, the hospital is seeking to have the case dismissed, stating that Blanchette Porter’s version of events is untrue.
“None of Dr. Porter’s conspiracy theories allow her to escape summary judgment,” Coffin wrote.
Coffin’s motion to dismiss the case claims that the hospital fired Blanchette Porter along with two other doctors in 2017 when it phased out the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Radiology department where she had been working. The closure was forced on the hospital when it lost nursing staff and was unable to find qualified replacements, according to a statement of facts prepared by the hospital’s attorneys.
The hospital’s statement goes on to claim that Blanchette Porter was offered a position to continue on at the hospital, a part-time role reading gynecologic ultrasounds through the radiology department.
At the time she was fired, according to her attorney, the hospital told staff it was because she was disabled.
“Dartmouth-Hitchcock has informed members of its professional staff that Dr. Blanchette Porter was terminated because she had been injured and was only working part-time,” Vitt wrote.
The case is slated for trial in the federal court later this year.