Video over social distancing costs California physician hospital privileges

A California OB-GYN says she lost her hospital privileges after posting a video online about other healthcare workers not socially distancing, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Ana Sanchez, MD, saw patients at St. Joseph Hospital Orange (Calif.), part of Providence in Southern California.

She told CBS Los Angeles the St. Joseph medical executive committee suspended her hospital privileges as of March 31 after she recorded healthcare workers gathering for free food during a local promotion near St. Joseph, without following Gov. Gavin Newsom's social distancing rules.

In the video, Dr. Sanchez asks the crowd, "Are you guys all healthcare workers? All of you standing right here next to each other, getting coronavirus?"

The medical executive committee told Dr. Sanchez that her actions instilled fear amid the public health crisis and amounted to harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Dr. Sanchez — who admitted she recorded the video and has also complained about what she considers lack of masks during the second phase of labor — disagreed, telling the TV station, "They said that I had engaged in unprofessional conduct that was going to put patients at risk. The way I saw it, it was the opposite."

The medical executive committee in a statement said physicians working at the hospital are independent practitioners and granted privileges based on bylaws, rules and regulations. The committee added that it is "charged with the oversight of the quality of care provided at the hospital" and that disciplinary matters are handled via a confidential peer review process. 

St. Joseph Hospital said in a statement that corrective actions taken by the independent medical executive committee are privileged, and the hospital can't comment on their behalf. As far as personal protective equipment, the hospital said it is "taking precautions sanctioned by leading world, national, state and local health agencies—the same protocols followed by most hospitals around the country."

"We have been working for weeks to activate our own local reprocessing center," the hospital added. "We have been successful with these efforts and so we are beginning to expand usage of N95 masks to all caregivers who are in contact with COVID-19 patients as well as patients awaiting test results."


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