Jan. 31, 2005 Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center administrator Erica McDonald was fired midday Friday.
Hospital spokesman Amos Carty said hospital chief executive officer Rodney Miller Sr. and the hospital board determined that a change in leadership was necessary. He declined to give specific reasons.
At least one health center employee, who requested anonymity, is upset at McDonald's departure.
"We want her back," the employee said.
So do other St. John residents.
St. John Administrator Julien Harley, who serves on the health center's advisory board, said McDonald "brought the health center up from nothing" during her nearly five years on the job.
He said that when she arrived, patient information was not confidential. Harley said she dealt with that matter.
"She's made so many improvements," Harley said.
Harley said every time something good like McDonald happens to St. John, someone from outside of St. John does something to ruin it.
He said that Miller did not consult with the advisory board on McDonald's termination.
Nathalie Thomas, who serves on Schneider Hospital's board, said she was not at liberty to talk about the situation.
Myrah Keating Smith operates under the Schneider Hospital umbrella.
Carty said that the hospital will look to replace McDonald. He said the preference was to hire someone already living on St. John, but Miller and the board would look off-island if necessary.
"We want to hire the best possible person," he said.
He said he was aware that the staff was upset at this change. He said he and Miller met with them Monday morning.
Carty said that McDonald did a "fantastic job."
He said, "We will build on the successes achieved and take it further."
McDonald said that she was grateful that the St. John community is supporting her.
"My phone has been ringing off the hook all weekend," she said.
She declined to go into the specifics of her firing, but said she had retained an attorney to deal with the matter. She said she didn't do anything "illegal, immoral or unethical."
McDonald, 36, said she planned to move on with her life.
"I plan to start making decisions that are good for me. I've been thinking about Myrah Keating for five years," she said.
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