By CRAIG FREILICH
GOUVERNEUR – The only general surgeon on staff at E.J. Noble Hospital says the recent upheavals at the hospital have made it impossible to maintain his practice.
As the hospital struggles to find its footing after a temporary shutdown due to irregularities in its laboratory, the resignation of its CEO, and other difficulties, Dr. Stuart Hoffman, who has been staff surgeon for about three years, says he is planning on leaving the area at the beginning of February “unless they can turn things around at the hospital.
“I’d like to stay in the area, and to take care of the people I’ve been seeing for the past three years. It’s not a happy thing,” Hoffman said.
“I’ve been interested in keeping the hospital alive, to keep things going, but it’s been one hurdle after the next. I don’t think we can sustain a surgical program, at least the way we have in the past,” he said.
“I wish we could. I would love to stick around, but I have to pay my own bills.”
Hoffman, who is also on staff at Canton-Potsdam Hospital and is committed to helping to cover work there during the holidays, has sent a letter to his patients explaining that “I have been unable to plan my schedule beyond December 14th, 2012 for providing coverage of surgical services” at Noble Hospital.
He said he will be available for non-emergency visits at his clinic at 77 W. Barney St. until Feb. 1, by appointment by calling 535-9370, but is recommending that people seek another provider soon. And if a situation requires immediate care, he advises calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room.