Ontario doctor claims he was fired because he was critical of province’s pandemic response

TORONTO — An Ontario doctor alleged he was removed as the interim medical director of critical care at William Osler Health System this month because of his comments regarding the province’s pandemic response.

Dr. Brooks Fallis said in a statement to CP24 that he was disappointed with the decision of William Osler to terminate his contract.

“When I met with some of the members of the senior leadership team about this, I was told I was being let go as Interim Medical Director – not because of my performance as a physician or as a hospital leader – but because of my outspoken, public statements regarding Ontario’s pandemic response,” Fallis said.

“As a result of my actions, the hospital was under pressure from the provincial government, leading to concern about the possible loss of funding for the hospital.”

Fallis also said his termination came as a surprise as he only received positive feedback about his performance over the past year. In fact, the doctor said he had received a contract extension.

Recently, Fallis has called on the province to focus on containing the UK coronavirus variant. He tweeted that officials should be “laser focused on containing B.1.1.7.”

“If we wait for more data to act we will be unable to regain control & sustained reopening of the economy & schools may become impossible,” Fallis tweeted on Jan. 23 after the variant was detected at a Barrie long-term care home dealing with an outbreak.

Despite being fired, Fallis said he does not regret speaking out.

“As a physician, my greatest responsibility is to care for people. In these times of uncertainty, my only goal in speaking out is to advocate for informed decision making and a better more transparent response to the COVID crisis,” he said.

William Osler said they can’t comment on human resources matter but refuted Fallis’ allegation that the provincial government pressured the hospital.

“Any suggestion otherwise is absolutely false,” the hospital said.

“Currently, the medical director of Critical Care role at Osler is an interim one, and we have recently announced the launch of a comprehensive, open process to recruit a physician for this position permanently.”

The hospital said Fallis will continue to be a critical part of their COVID-19 response efforts.

Twenty-three ICU doctors at William Osler sent a letter to senior management, expressing concern about their decision.

“The ICU physician group is shocked and saddened by this news. Over the past year, Dr. Fallis has been an exemplary leader, not only for the ICU but for Osler as a whole,” the group wrote in the letter.

“The ICU physician group is shocked and saddened by this news. Over the past year, Dr. Fallis has been an exemplary leader, not only for the ICU but for Osler as a whole,” the group wrote in the letter.

“He has taken a leading role in shaping our institutional response to the pandemic and has been a constant source of support for the ICU physicians and staff.”

Furthermore, the group wrote that it does not understand and does not support the decision.

“We feel strongly that this decision does not serve the best interests of our patients, staff, or the institution. We urgently request the opportunity to discuss this with you, by videoconference, given the limitations imposed by the pandemic.”

CP24 has reached out to the province for comment.

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