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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Conversation with Sister Canisia

Conversation With Sister Canisia

In November 2001, I was able to schedule a meeting with Sister Canisia. I was still attempting to keep my job in the ER. Two pediatric cardiologists who took care of Haitian kids, one OSF-ER doctor, and a former OSF-ER nurse accompanied me. Sister Canisia greeted us in her office and we all sat down. I discussed with her my letter regarding bed capacity at OSF and the patient delays in the ER.

There is a side door that leads into Sister’s office that comes from Keith Steffen’s office. About 10-15 minutes into the meeting with Sister, Dr. David Gorenz, an assistant administrator, and Sue Wozniak, CFO, entered Sister's office through this side door and sat down with us. They were not invited by me or any of us. It didn’t take too long to figure out where they came from and for what reason. We tried to ignore them but Dr. Gorenz interrupted and started asking me questions when we continued the discussion with Sister Canisia. Gorenz suggested that a mediator be chosen to mediate my 6 month exclusion from working in the main ER. I didn’t give him an answer because I needed time to think about this option, and usually OSF administration was not giving me good advice. Gorenz and Wozniak were sent in to disrupt the only meeting I had with Sister Canisia and they did a good job. (Frankly, it broke my heart that Dave Gorenz came in and became part of this debacle. I had so much faith in him for 20 years. He was my mentor when I was a resident physician at OSF. I would never have expected this from him.)

After one hour, I thanked Sister for meeting with me and the other physicians. The nurse was crying. We could all see what had happened. Sister then told me to stop by Keith’s adjacent office because “he wanted to speak with me”. I knocked on his door and he opened it. I asked him if he wanted to talk with me. Steffen lowered his head, looked at the floor and said “no”, and let the door quietly close.

I called Gorenz several days later and told him that I would accept a mediator.

A few days later Keith wrote me a memo stating that mediation would proceed. I was fine with this concept. When I met with Keith a few days later, I took out my legal pad to take notes as usual. Doug Marshall, OSF attorney, was in Keith’s office as he frequently was to help monitor Keith and tell Keith to “slow down” when necessary because I was writing everything down.

Keith started out by confidently stating that “mediation is a good idea” and that “I (Keith) thought of it”. I nodded my head and kept writing. Keith continued, “However, we are not going to mediate. Doug will explain.” I started laughing and looked at Marshall. With a very flat affect, Marshall said, “We don’t mediate.” I held up Keith’s memo stating that mediation would be done, and asked Marshall if it meant anything that Keith had written it down and sent it to me. Marshall replied, “It means nothing.” That was probably true…

So mediation was no longer an option. Even the Executive Committee at OSF would not hear of my plight because there is some sort of bylaw or something that states that employee problems don’t go to the Executive Committee. I would have loved to have a neutral mediator sitting around a table with the main players there. I don’t think Marshall thought Keith’s idea was so great. Hevesy probably didn’t think so either.

Later, when my brother asked Keith about the meeting with Sister Canisia that was disrupted by his two administrators entering Sister’s office from his office, Keith responded he knew nothing about the meeting.

2 comments:

been there done that said...

did it ever occur to you that canisia was just trying to pass the buck? she knew steffen had not asked to talk to you ever heard of good cop bad cop these nuns DO NOT want to deal with all these ego trips gossip and backbiting it goes against the grain of what a nun is how can they manage to be seperate and holy among such a dungheap of selfcentered egomaniacs each with thier own hidden agenda that is of no benefit to the hospital politicly or financially.

Anonymous said...

Just be glad that the nurse no longer worked for OSF. If she had, you would have both been fired summarily for "Collective Bargaining". That is how they roll.

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