Alaska hospital COO fired after sending email questioning COVID-19 threat

The COO of a hospital in Alaska was fired after she sent an email to managers that questioned the seriousness of COVID-19 and suggested it could be a political conspiracy, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Lecia Scotford, MD, COO of Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. in Dillingham, sent an email March 16 to BBAHC managers with the subject line "Do not panic." The email lists other health crises that happened during even-numbered years and questioned whether the current pandemic is political.

After news about the email surfaced, local tribe and city leaders called on the hospital corporation's CEO and board members to take corrective measures against Dr. Scotford. Her employment was terminated on March 30, although Robert Clark, president and CEO of BBAHC, said the email was one of many things leading the organization to separate with Dr. Scotford.

Dr. Scotford was also accused of returning to work without following a 14-day self-quarantine order after traveling from Florida and Seattle. Mr. Clark confirmed the travels and said they took place before an Alaska travel mandate took effect, adding that Dr. Scotford took precautions like wearing a mask and isolating in her office. He also praised Dr. Scotford for her contributions to the hospital corporation during the past decade.

Dr. Scotford did not respond to Anchorage Daily News' request for comment. 


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