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Dr. Sean resigns

Patients react with sadness, dismay
fili@samoanews.com

Head of the Primary Care Clinic at the LBJ Medical Center, Dr. Sean A. Stracensky has tendered his letter of resignation, giving the hospital’s chief executive officer Joseph Davis-Fleming a two-week notice in accordance with provisions of his contract.
 
Stracensky, chief of LBJ’s Department of Family Medicine, declined to comment when contacted last Friday by Samoa News for reasons behind his resignation. The resignation surfaced last week after a letter dated Feb. 26 was sent to Davis-Fleming, according to sources at the hospital.
 
Stracensky, a U.S. certified medical physician who has been with the government owned hospital for seven years, also declined to reveal details of his resignation letter, although he did say that as of 3p.m. last Friday he had not received an acknowledgment from the CEO that the he (CEO) had received the letter, which was left with Davis-Fleming’s office.
 
Davis-Fleming didn’t immediately respond to a phone message left with his office seeking comments, nor did he respond to email questions sent last Friday afternoon. In its emails, Samoa News asked why Stracensky had resigned, if the CEO had actually received the letter and whether the CEO will accept the resignation or not.
 
In the resignation letter, a copy of which was leaked to Samoa News over the weekend, Stracensky said his last day of employment will be March 12, 2014, as per the responsibilities under the terms of section 9.1.1 of his Physician Employment Agreement.
 
“I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at LBJ to serve the people of American Samoa. This has been an incredible experience which I will remember fondly for the rest of my life. I wish you and the hospital continued success in your mission to care for the people of this wonderful territory,” he wrote to the CEO.
 
The letter is copied to LBJ board members, chief medical officer Dr. Iotamo Saleapaga, and three other senior officials of LBJ.
 
When asked during a brief phone interview last Friday afternoon for comments about his seven years with the hospital, Stracensky said, “I really enjoyed it and it’s been one of the most unique and enjoyable experiences of my life.” Asked what he will miss most about the territory, he said, “I will miss the people and the sense of family. It is a great and wonderful territory and the Samoan people are remarkable.”
 
He also says that he will most likely return to New Jersey after spending these “wonderful years” in the territory.
 
Word of Stracensky’s resignation spread quickly late last week and many patients have voiced sadness over “losing a great doctor”.
 
“Dr. Stracensky takes the time to talk to patients to get all the necessary information about the person’s medical condition,” said a male patient, who asked not be identified, and who has been seeing Stracensky for the last three years. “It’s just like doctors in the U.S. who take notes, ask the patient questions, and afterwards, makes sure that the patient follows thru with medication and proper care of themselves.”
 
Another patient, a female in her 50s, said she no longer goes to the Emergency Room ever since she was treated by Stracensky, who “takes care of patients” and who “makes sure that I’m doing well and taking my medication.”
 
“Dr. Sean (as he is referred to by his many patients) is really a unique person and his departure is not good for LBJ or any other patients seen by him,” she said over the weekend. “I hate having to go through the old routine of going to the ER when Dr. Sean leaves.”
 
Asked why she used the ER in past years, she said, “it’s the only clinic in the hospital with the best service when it comes to physicians, even though I end up waiting for a long time at the ER, but at least they have good doctors on duty.”
 
Another of Stracensky’s patients, noted that a patient’s treatment is “more than just about tests and prescriptions — it’s about having a doctor you can trust, to know that you are getting the best care possible because he/ she cares about your health.”  She stated, “This is a catastrophe, not only for me, but to all the people he treats. Thank you, Dr. Sean for serving as long as you did — knowing about LBJ’s problems, it’s a miracle you stayed as long as you did. God bless you.”
 
BACKGROUND
 
Stracensky’s name surfaced early January this year, when he disputed Saleapaga’s reasons for recommending that LBJ board close the Primary Care Clinic, which has since been renamed the Family Medicine Clinic. Saleapaga alleged low patient numbers, overstaffing, repetition of what the medical clinics are doing, and not being “cost effective”.
 
Stracensky said there were “several inaccurate or incorrect assertions” by the CMO and suggested the board allow the Clinic to remain open and continue to serve the population they all care so deeply about.
 
 “This clinic delivers safe, effective, and efficient health care that directly has a positive impact on the lives of a large portion of the Territory’s population,” he said. (See Samoa News edition on Jan. 15 for full details of Stracensky’s letter).
 



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