Is Somervell County Hospital District Board Attempting to Railroad The Turks? UPDATED

Witchhunt Because They Have Safety Concerns?

Is Somervell County Hospital District Board Attempting to Railroad The Turks? UPDATED

28 May 2015 at 12:43:16 PM

Updated: Shelley Turk has been fired.

I saw this on the agenda for the May 28 2015 Somervell County Hospital District meeting. Note that the person to be discussed is not listed on the agenda but since it deals with Glen Rose Healthcare Inc, it's clear it pertains to a doctor. 

Could this be the Turks? The attorney for the Turks believes that could be and, unsolicited, sent me 3 documents today, correspondence between the Somervell County Hospital District attorneys and his firm, the Schulman Law Firm, P.C. 

From March 17, 2015 where the Schulman Law Firm sent a letter to Kevin Reed re: Claims of Albert J Turk, MD and Shelley R Turk RN, which says, in part

Dear Mr Reed:

This firm has been engaged to represent Albert J Turk, MD and Shelley Turk, RN, in connection with claims arising out of their employment at Glen Rose Medical Center a hospital operated by the Somervell County Hospital District. Dr Turk is also employed by an entity known as Glen Rose Healthcare Inc. It is my understanding that you represent the Somervell County Hospital District and other entities associated with Glen Rose Medical Center. If that understanding is correct, please advise me.

As you may know, our clients have repeatedly spoken out about urgent matters of public interest in regard to the operation of the public facility known as Glen Rose Medical Center. Their outcries were made to numerous persons and entities, starting first with a lengthy history of vergal presentations to management seeking corrections to unsafe and dangerous practices at Glen Rose Medical Center, as well as seeking implementation of new and better practices, especially when instances of neglect resulted in adverse patient outcomes, including what appeared to be premature deaths. When the history of speaking out verbally to management did not result in substantial improvement, Dr and Nurse Turk began to make written and verbal outcries to a number of additional persons and entities, including but not limited ot the elected members of the Board of the Somervell County Hospital District, Hospital committees, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Texas Board of Nursing.

The issues our clients have addressed include:

  • inadequate training, especially in regard to patient emergencies occurring outside of the Emergency Department
  • Patient neglect, especially by floor nursing staff and management
  • Specific adverse patient outcomes, including deaths
  • Indifference by management to ongoing patient related issues 
  • Placing unqualified or inadequately oriented staff in positions of responsibility. (For example, the Hospital Quality Officer is not a licensed medical professional and Hospital management assigned inexperienced nurses to charge nurse positions without proper orientatoin.
  • Short staffing
  • Delays in patient care, including responses to code blue situations.
  • Ordering employees not to document "patient safety" issues as such; and 
  • Inadequate investigations, glossing over or falsely describing adverse patient related events and outcomes.

The retaliation against our clients for speaking out about these and other matters has been ugly and is escalating and their work environment has become openly hostile. 

Our clients have been repeatedly told that they never should have advised Somervell County Hospital District Board members or the Texas Department of State Health Services of their concerns. For example, in response to a verbal outcry about retaliation, Nurse Turk was told that she and Dr Turk brought the retaliation upon themselves.

False reports of alleged professional misconduct have been filed against both Nurse Turk and Dr Turk. Dr Turk has lost wages and benefits and reasonable accomodations made necessary by a congenital defect to all five digits of his right hand have been denied. Despite the fact that the Emergency Department is grossly under budgeted and understaffed as compared to the Medical Surgical Unit, Shelley Turk, RN, who is the Hospital's Emergency Services Director and Trauma Coordinator, has been ordered not to allow overtime work for her nursing staff and has her stattinf rquests for Emergency Department vacancies delayed. As a result, Nurse Turk is burdened with working the additional hours that her staff is not allowed to work due to overtime limitations. In addition, Nurse Turk was disciplined and threatened with termination for raising questions and concerns about the competency or appropriateness of care rendered by visiting emergency room physicians and by nurses from the medical surgical unit. This is despite the fact that the requirement of her license is to advocate fully and promptly to assure competent and appropriate patient care. 

Based upon the information available to us, we assert that Dr Turk and Nurse Turk, have viable constitutional, statutory and common law claims against their employees and associated individuals. 

Please be sure that all formal or informal paper, electronic or magnetic records, and all computer memories are maintained fully intact, related to our clients claims, including all of the following

all employment contracts

all personnel and benefits files which refer to either of our clients

all pay related and compensation-related files which refer to Albert J Turk, MD or Shelly R Turk, RN

each and every complaint ore report by Albert J Turk MD or Shelly R Turk, RN, to the effect that Glen Rose Medical Center or affiliated persons or entities were not in compliance with applicable federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations, any investigation of such allegations, and any response to such allegations, and.

each and every complaint or report by Albert J Turk, MD or Shelley R Turk, RN or any other person, to the effect that Glen Rose Medical or affiilated persons or entities were not in compliance with professional standards of practice, any investigation of such allegations and any response to such allegations. 

We respectfully claim that all such documents and date are reasonably likely to be needed for administrative investigations or litigation. Therefore all versions of the same should be maintained fully intact and not erased, modified or destroyed. 

Please feel free to forward this letter of representation to your clients and any applicable Employment Practices Liability insurance carrier or otherwise as you deem it appropriate. We look forward to communicating with the appropriate person or persons, as this matter progresses. We hope that it will be possible to reach a prompt and amicable resolution of these claims and welcome your thoughts about that possiblity. 

Please do not communicate directly with our clients about these matters and please instruct all agents and servants or your clients not to do so. Please direct all further communications to my attention and to my co-counsel, Margaret K Schulman at the above address. 

From March 30, 2015 from Reed, Claymon, Meeker & Hargett, which says, in part

This is in response to your letter to Kevin Reed dated March 17, 2015 regarding Dr Turk's and Mrs.Turk's claims against Glen Rose Medical Center and Glen Rose Healthcare, Inc. This firm does represent the Somervell County Hospital District dba Glen Rose Medical Center and the nonprofit health corporation Glen Rose Healthcare, Inc. 

We have advised our clients to maintain all records (hard copy and electronic) relating to Dr Turk and Mrs. Turk. At this time, we are still investigating the claims raised in your letter. Please feel free to direct further correspondence in this matter to either me or Kevin Reed.

Jennifer R Claymon

On May 27, 2015, John Schulman sent a letter to Kevin Reed re: Employment of Albert J Turk MD

RE Employment of Albert J Turk, MD

Dear Mr Reed and Ms Claymon

As you know, this firm represents Jay Turk, MD. Dr Turk has been advised that the Somervell County Hospital District Board of Trustees has scheduled a personnel item for tomorrow in regards to his employment and specifically involving alleged quality of care issues. 

Please be advised that Dr Turk does not consent to any form of closed-executive session regarding his continued employment, or any other personnel matter related to this employment. Dr Turk insists that all proceedings of that sort must be conected in public to the maximum extent specified in Texas law.

Further, as Dr Turk has a property interest in his employment and alleged patient care issues are likely to implicate his liberty interests under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, Dr Turk insists upon pre-termination due process. This includes, being advised of the specific charges against him, if any, and access to the alleged evidence against him in advance of any hearing. It also includes an opportunity to respond to any such evidence. It also includes presentation of evidence to neutral decision makers with an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and, in this case, a public proceeding. Thank you very much for your attention.

John E Schulman

P.S. The Turks have been attempting for quite some time to get the attention of the powers that be, including Ray Reynolds, and later, the Somervell County Hospital Board. To see what state officials said, after they did a safety inspection in December 2015, on their report re: GRMC, click here. 

Update: 7:21 pm. Just read my email and another letter from Mr Schulman to Mr Reed dated today, May 28, 2015  was attached

Re: Employment of Albert J Turk, MD

Dear Mr Reed and Ms Claymon

I called your firm today in follow-up to my letter of May 27, 2015, a copy of which is attached. I spoke to Jennifer Claymon who said she was not familiar with the Somerville County Hospital District Board of Trustees agenda item for tonight set forth below 

(See above-salon)

Ms Claymon said that she would ask you to call me about this matter. Please note that Texas Government Code Section 551.074 does not allow a closed meeting, if the subject of the deliberation requests a public hearing. Dr Turk has made it clear that he insists that any and all deliberations about personnel matters involving him must be held in open session. 

You called me at approximately 2:20 pm. You advised me that the above-quoted agenda item does indeed concern my client Jay Turk, MD. Because Dr Turk has elected an open session, it is our position, first of all, that this matter must be reposted, with appropriate notice, for an open session.

You also suggested that the item was not really about "termination of an employee agreement (admittedly Dr Turk's employment agreement), although that is what has been noticed to the public. You suggested that this was instead, some form of "peer review" item which was properly shielded from the public. When I ask you specifically how the members of the Somervell County Hospital District Board of Trustees coudl participate in a *peer review* process, as distinguished from holding a meeting of the governmental body of a public entity, you did not answer my question. Instead, you made a conclusory statement that the agenda item concerning my client would proceed in an executive session, without his consent. We agreed to disagree.

Please advise your clients, including all of the involved Board members, that we consider the position you have articulated to be an announcement that the Board will violate Texas law this evening. I wanted to memorialize our disagreement about that and remind you of the 14th Amendment Due Process implications of this situation, also reference in my letter of May 27, 2015. Thank you for your attention.

John E Schulman

Will be interesting to see after the meeting what actually happened regarding this. Have to say, that Ray Reynolds requested an open, public hearing for the agenda item in January which called for his review.  In fact, his attorney came to represent him at the meeting I call the Hate Fest. Sure seems like a double standard to give him what he wanted and completely not only ignore the same request from the Turks.

After the meeting. Don't know really what happened because it all occurred in executive session


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