MAY 6, 2010
[ This text is copied from Exhibits AA-472 and AA-473 of the Minnesota Defamation Lawsuit David McKee, MD V. Dennis K. Laurion ]
Gary Peterson, MD, Medical Director, St. Luke’s Hospital, 915 E. 1st. Street, Duluth, MN 55805
Re: Dennis K. Laurion
Thanks for calling me regarding the Dennis Laurion incident. I appreciate having had a chance to talk to you about this on Monday. Today I received the copy of the letter that he sent to you and to a plethora of other individuals and medical organizations. . Per our conversation, I’ll summarize the mistakes made in that letter. First, I’ll point out that in every place that Mr. Laurion used quotation marks to identify a statement that I had made, the quotation was entirely inaccurate and in some cases, completely fabricated in the sense that I made no statement even remotely similar to what he recorded. The patient’s father presented with a cerebellar hemorrhage. I was posted to see him by his attending and saw him the same day that I received the posting. The patient was initially in the ICU but had been transferred to a medical bed prior to my seeing him. When I entered the room, I certainly wasn’t angry or annoyed but did make the comment that I had looked for him in the intensive care unit and was glad to see that he had been transferred from there to a regular hospital bed, as the two possibilities when one leaves the ICU are that you a patient has improved and doesn’t need the intensive care unit or a patient has died (sic). This was no glib or morose and, obviously the situation with the patient was a favorable one in that he had left the ICU (sic). Nobody in the room, the patient, his wife or Dennis Laurion himself expressed or showed any evident disconcert with that statement.
As for the incident with the hospital gown, the lead up to this was nothing like what Dennis Laurion stated. I asked the patient if he had been out of bed that day and after hearing that the therapists had worked with him but had not gotten him out of bed that day, I asked if he felt up to that and if he wanted to try to stand and walk a little bit. He told me that he very much wanted to try to get out of bed and I held my hands out so that he could grab them to pull himself to a standing position. I certainly did not jerk him out of bed or in any way rush him. It was when he was half-standing, half sitting that Dennis Laurion, sitting in a chair on the other side of the bed, made the observation that the patient’s hospital gown was only tied at the neck. By the way that he said this, I thought that his concern was that the gown might fall off but I could see the knot was well tied and told him that I thought it would be fine. It never crossed my mind that he was concerned about his father’s modesty with the back of the gown open, since it would have been the simplest maneuver conceivable for Dennis Laurion to have reached over and tied the back of the gown if he was so concerned. You have to realize that, at this point, the patient was half-stranding and I was holding both of his forearms and he, in turn, was holding both of my forearms. For Dennis Laurion to suggest that I should have lowered his father back to the bed, walked around to the other side of the bed and tied up his hospital gown when it would have been so very simple for him to have done it himself defies comprehension. I think this, more than anything else, underscores the extent to which Dennis Laurion is a very passive-aggressive fellow. [ See Editor Footnote 1 ] When the patient was standing, one of the family members asked if he would prefer if they left the room for the rest of the physical exam. This, as you know, is a very common question put to patient’s (sic) by their family members. The patient said that he would prefer that and the family members all left. None of them seemed in the slightest upset or annoyed. Certainly, nobody said anything to imply that there was any concern on their part. I finished examining the patient, got him back into bed and left the room. The family members were not near the patient’s door when I left the room. If they had been, I would have offered to answer questions, which is something that I always do when I leave a patient’s room. Dennis Laurion’s suggestion that I went over to “a nurse sitting next to a tub of patients’ charts and stood near her scowling” is absured. It is also not germane. There is no way Dennis Laurion was in a position to have seen what I did after leaving his father’s room; certainly, he was not near enough to have assessed my mood or my facial expression. [ See Editor Footnote 2 ]
Dennis Laurion appears to be something of an oddball. I have already contacted two lawyers about a defamation suit because of comments that he made on the internet that are more inflammatory than what he wrote in the letter that you received. One of the attorney’s Marshall Tomick (sic), told me that unequivocally, Dennis Laurion is guilty of “malicious defamation” and has already written a rough draft of a cease-and-desist letter to be sent to Mr. Laurion, probably tomorrow.
Again, thanks for bringing this unfortunate issue to my attention.
David McKee, MD
Editor Footnote 1: On February 11, 2013, at 11:47 am, Dr. David McKee posted to a website column by Patient Advocate Trisha Torrey: “Dennis Laurion was sitting in a chair on the same side of his father’s bed as the patient. He would have needed only to lean forward a little to reach the ties of the gown.” While my father was lying down, and when he was seated, I was unaware that the back string was untied. It was my father who mentioned his parting gown. We then insisted on leaving the room to wait in the hall.
Editor Footnote 2: On February 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm, Dr. McKee posted to a website column by Patient Advocate Trisha Torrey: “After I left the patient’s room I was sitting at a nurses station only 30 feet from where Dennis Laurion was sitting and in plain sight. He could have discussed any concern with me then without the slightest difficulty. Instead he chose to begin his smear campaign against me.”