Samaritan Agrees To Help E.J. Noble With Lab Problems


Samaritan Medical Center has agreed to help E.J. Noble Hospital fix the problems with its troubled laboratory.

The details are still being worked out, according to a Samaritan spokeswoman, but the hospital will provide a letter detailing what it will do in time for a meeting between E.J. Noble and the state health department Friday.

E.J. Noble chief operating officer Chuck Conole met Tuesday with the head of Samaritan, Tom Carman.

In addition, Canton-Potsdam Hospital is sending five lab technicians to E.J. Noble Wednesday to assess the lab.

Problems with the laboratory prompted the state to shut it down last Friday, which forced the closure of most of the rest of the hospital.

Hospital officials have said they hope to have a 'handshake deal' in place for management of the laboratory by the end of the week, with an eye toward reopening the hospital next week.

The good news for E.J. Noble came at the end of a day in which more details emerged about a troubling incident that was part of the reason for the state's action.

A Gouverneur area man, Jack Hutton, received the wrong blood in a transfusion on September 5.

Hutton, who suffered from cancer, died exactly two weeks later.

Hospital officials reportedly have evaluated the incident, and have ruled out the transfusion being connected to the death.

Hutton's family is not convinced.

"We have many questions unanswered," Lisa McAdam, Hutton's daughter, told 7 News Tuesday evening.

"I'm telling you - he was not on his death bed from cancer."

McAdam said the family is contacting a lawyer Wednesday.

Also Tuesday:

- One of the unions representing hospital employees says 58 of its members have been told not to report to work.

Kathy Tucker, spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union Local 1199, says the union has filed a grievance.

The union says the hospital is not following the collective bargaining agreement when it comes to layoffs and seniority.

Many sources say they fear the hospital's problems won't be over once the lab reopens.

They say there's an underlying cash flow problem that needs to be addressed.

- Gouverneur's acting mayor met with state officials in Albany Monday night in hopes of getting his community's hospital back in business.

Acting mayor Ron McDougall wouldn't say who he met with, except that it wasn't with local state representatives.

McDougall says he now has a better understanding of why the state Health Department decided to close the laboratory at E.J. Noble Hospital.

That decision essentially shut down the hospital's emergency and operating rooms.

McDougall said he took the message to Albany that there needs to be a quick solution to protect the hospital's financial well-being and put dozens of employees back to work.

"I want to make sure the hospital is viable and financially stable," McDougall said.

"One of the ways to do that is to get it open as soon as possible," he said, but not before appropriate procedures are in place.

"There's no time line," he said, "but I do remain optimistic that in the not-too-distant future, the hospital will be up and running again."

McDougall is well-connected in Albany. He's a well-known labor leader and his wife is former Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who is now part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.


Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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