Port Angeles: Hospital commissioners rap PDN, say Witham dealings misrepresented

PORT ANGELES — Olympic Medical Center hospital board members Wednesday night assailed the Peninsula Daily News, saying coverage of their dealings with Port Angeles cancer specialist Dr. Robert Witham have been misrepresented.

Board president Dr. Jorgen Quistgaard made it clear early on that Witham’s credentials and qualifications were not in question. In fact, Quistgaard said he had been a patient of Witham’s.

“We hope you listen with an open mind, because what you hear tonight you probably won’t read in the Peninsula Daily News,” Quistgaard said in his opening remarks.

What followed was a long PowerPoint presentation by Bertha Cooper, assistant administrator of planning and development for OMC.

The presentation highlighted quotes from the PDN, and then the hospital’s views.

Cooper, mentioning that she lost her mother to cancer and that her husband is a cancer survivor, said her presentation would be posted on the hospital Web site, www.olympicmedical.org.

The presentation was followed by a question/ answer period with members of the audience addressing OMC’s administration and the seven-person board of commissioners.

There were about 70 people in the audience, split almost equally between doctors, nurses and hospital staff members, and Witham supporters.

The almost three-hour session gave OMC leaders an open forum to explain why the tax-supported hospital won’t rent or lease office space to Witham in the new Olympic Medical Cancer Center in Sequim.

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