by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | December 29, 2021
A former cardiovascular surgeon who was fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is trying to raise funds to take on the hospital that let him go.
Dr. Joseph Auteri served as the chief of cardiovascular surgery at Doylestown Hospital and medical director of Doylestown Health's Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care. He claimed to have natural immunity from a previous bout with COVID-19 and requested religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine mandate, but both were denied, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer
In response to his firing, Auteri set up a GoFundMe that as of 4 p.m. last Wednesday had accumulated more than $29,200 from 174 donors. “I declined the vaccine, and was promptly terminated, despite all that we’ve accomplished together. I feel what they did to me and other healthcare workers was wrong,” he wrote on his campaign page, “Help Joe Auteri fight this injustice”.
Following “two difficult weeks” with the disease, Auteri says he gained antibodies and t-cell immunity and that his personal physician describes his condition as “robust natural immunity,” according to the Courier Times
He is looking to take the Bucks County hospital to court over its mandate and his termination.
Hospital spokesperson Allyson Gilmore told The Philadelphia Inquirer that hospital administrators are “aware of the GoFundMe campaign” and that Auteri “misrepresents" the circumstances behind his firing. She declined to elaborate due to Auteri’s plans to sue the hospital but added that his funding was for “baseless legal action” and that he was one of the “most highly-compensated employed physicians” at Doylestown Hospital before he was terminated.
The hospital has fired less than 10 employees who refused to comply with its mandate, which requires either vaccination or an approved religious or medical exemption. It has granted exemptions to 96 employees.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandated
in November that healthcare organizations must require employees to get vaccinated by January 4 in order to continue to receive money from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. But federal circuit courts have temporarily suspended the rule to review lawsuits brought by several states against it.