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Your Opinion: Story on physician called ‘hatchet job’

Dear Editor:

We are extremely disappointed in the News Tribune for performing a hatchet job on a fine man and esteemed physician, Dr. Randy Meyer, on the front page of your Dec. 27 edition. Your banner headline made it appear that the Board of Healing Arts had just acted the day before, on an emergency basis. In fact, as you finally got around to reporting, this temporary and contested action was apparently taken six weeks ago, on Nov. 9. Thus, your front-page story was not even current news, let alone the most important news story of the day.

Although this interim regulatory action was taken weeks ago, your reporter did not take time to report or investigate the sources of the allegations in the affidavits that reportedly formed the basis of the Board’s “emergency” action, nor to wait for comments from Dr. Meyer’s attorney or his medical group who, not surprisingly, were away for the holidays by the time she called. How convenient for you to be able to report that you tried to contact them and they were not in. Why didn’t your reporter call in November or any time in December before the holidays? Did someone send you a tip about this? If so, did you investigate their motivation?

I call this story a hatchet job because you saved it until Christmas, when nobody supporting your “target” would be available to contradict or add perspective to your pre-determined attack, and then you ran it on the front page as though the thing had just happened.

In the second-to-last paragraph of the story, you reported that “[t]he physicians are known as leaders in their field and Central Missouri Cardiology is the only practice in Jefferson City that deals exclusively with cardiology.”

Exactly. So why isn’t that news? None of the allegations against Dr. Meyer have been proven — they are merely allegations yet to be adjudicated. Medical malpractice lawsuits have become a cumbersome, expensive and routine part of practicing medicine for every physician (particularly specialists) in our increasingly litigious culture. Also, a new law now allows the Board to suspend a license based only on a “probable cause” allegation rather than after proving malpractice by a preponderance of the evidence.

When Dr. Meyer is exonerated, will you make that front-page news? You should be ashamed of yourselves for villainizing this fine local physician based on unproven allegations.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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