Flores tells judge wearing ball caps and a Bluetooth some of reasons for his dismissal
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
On Feb. 18, a temporary restraining order granted by District Judge Bradley Ambrosier banned Southwest Medical Center from closing the doors to Dr. Lamberto Flores’ medical practice.
During Wednesday afternoon’s temporary injunction hearing, attorneys for both parties agreed to a continuance of the matter. That hearing has been scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. on March 2. Flores, the plaintiff in the case, has hired Grant Shellenberger for representation and SWMC, the defendant, is being represented by Kerry McQueen.
When Flores, an OB-GYN formerly employed by SWMC, was notified by the hospital he was being let go, a letter provided to him by Vice President of Physician Services Rob Trivett noted Flores would be employed by SWMC for 120 days before his termination.
Requests have been made for comments from SWMC regarding the termination of Flores’ employment. However, SWMC publicist Nancy Kletecka said recently that it was a personnel matter, therefore SWMC could not comment.
When questioned by his own attorney Wednesday afternoon, Flores said he was being let go for three reasons: a circumcision issue, his image and a lack of passion.
Flores did not elaborate on the circumcision issue, however, said it had been resolved – as far as he knew. He added, to his knowledge, no malpractice charges have been filed nor has any money been paid out as a result of the issue.
In regards to his image, Flores said he wore ball caps from time to time and had his bluetooth at his ear. He said he was told his image was “hindering or hampering” the success of his practice.
Those reasons for termination, Flores said, were provided to him in a letter given to him by Trivett on Jan. 31.
When Flores learned SWMC intended to close his office on Feb. 21, he then was prompted to instruct his attorney to file the Feb. 18 temporary restraining order.
According to the order, “the Court finds that irreparable harm is likely to be suffered by Plaintiff if Defendant is allowed to immediately close Plaintiff’s medical practice, and a temporary restraining order should therefore issue.”
The order also stated that a letter provided by SWMC to Flores on Jan. 31, said that the employment agreement would continue through May 31.
In a recent interview with the Leader & Times, Flores said he was making plans to open a private practice. He added Liberal offered him the kind of small-town life style he had come to appreciate.
“Right now I am planning to go out on my own and start my own practice,” he said last week. “I am currently looking at space.
“I really like the small-town atmosphere,” he continued. “I’ve grown accustomed to it here.”
Flores also told the Leader & Times last week that his termination came as a shock to him, and he has never been involved in anything like this before.
Wednesday, a spokesperson from Dr. Flores’ office said his plans to stay in Liberal have not changed – he will be opening a private practice. SWMC again, declined to comment on the matter.
The temporary injunction hearing was set to be continued at 10 a.m. on March 2. Judge Ambrosier told both parties that possibly by that date, Flores and SWMC could come to an agreement.