Search for a new surgeon continues

The surgeon who practiced for more than a month in Craig as part of her recruitment will not be hired by The Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Gianna Scannell visited Craig several times and pursued contract negotiations with TMH.

The hospital is trying to find a replacement for Dr. David James, a longtime local surgeon who scaled back his practice in October.

Ultimately, TMH decided Scannell was not the right person for the job.

"The physicians, the personnel, the management and the board, after having had Dr. Scannell here for 45 days, came to the conclusion that she was not the answer to all our general surgery needs in Craig," said Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps.

The recruitment process continues, Phelps said.

A professional recruitment firm is helping TMH find a new surgeon. Phelps said he asked the firm to narrow its focus when recommending physicians in the future.

"I don't want them to bring to us to be interviewed physicians who are at the tail end of their practice," Phelps said.

An ideal candidate would be a physician with recent training, who wants a long-term career in Craig, Phelps said.

In the meantime, James is working for the hospital at least two weeks a month as part of a three-year contract to bridge the gap between James' practice and that of his successor. TMH contracts with outside physicians to provide coverage when James is off.

James addressed TMH's Board of Trustees at its April board meeting, and he told officials not to be concerned.

James said he knows how difficult it can be to recruit physicians, and he expected the process to take a long time, which is why he agreed to provide coverage for three years.

He said he was a little surprised when it looked as if TMH had found a surgeon so soon in Scannell.

Although TMH has 2 1/2 years to find a replacement before James' contract is up, sooner is better, Phelps said.

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