Dr. Paul Harnetty

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Dr. Paul Harnetty accused of abandoning patients

WARNER ROBINS — Mary Fitch of Warner Robins said that she visited the Medical Center of Central Georgia on Oct. 3 where she expected to meet her obstetrics and gynecology physician and was supposed to deliver her baby. On arriving there, she found out that he did not have any privileges there.
Fitch said that she experienced an extra lot of stress while being in labor because of this. She delivered a healthy baby girl later, by cesarean section.
Lisette Nelson of Perry had a similar experience with Dr. Paul Harnetty of Warner Robins where she wasn’t told that he will not be able to deliver her baby boy. She came to know about the same quite late in her pregnancy.
The women have filed a complaint against Harnetty with the Georgia Composite Medical Board, with the help of Warner Robins attorney Kelly Burke, stating that the physician abandoned them.
Since Oct. 15, when the complaint was filed, Burke said that he has come across 10 other women who had similar experience of being under the care of Harnetty and didn’t come to know that he couldn’t deliver their babies until a very short time before their delivery. Most of them found out on arriving at the hospital for delivery, Burke said.
Harnetty was reached for comment by telephone on Thursday, where he said that he is advised by his attorney to not to comment, but he steadfastly denied abandoning any patient. He denied to give any additional information and didn’t even reveal the name of his attorney.
Representatives at the Houston Healthcare, which also operates ‘Houston Medical Center’, ‘The Medical Center of Central Georgia’ and the ‘Coliseum Health System’ gave a confirming statement revealing that Harnetty did not have privileges at the hospitals. They did not elaborate the reason though.
He also wasn’t associated with Cornerstone Medical Associates. Its website says that its a physician-owned and physician-controlled medical group which provides medical billing services.
Burke provided an unsigned letter from Cornerstone Medical Associates to the patients, through the Telegraph. The letter states that Dr. Paul Harnetty would no longer be associated with Cornerstone Medical Associates, from Oct. 25, 2010.
The letter instructs patients on obtaining their medical records, whether they chose to be Harnetty’s patients or wish to get transferred to another doctor. The letter gives no explanation for the end of the business relationship though.
Susan Sanders, who is the chief executive officer for Cornerstone Medical Associates, was not available for comment.
The state medical board has been investigating the complaint, as per the statement given by Burke. The two women who filed the original complaint have been interviewed and Burke expects that other women will also be interviewed by the board’s investigators.
The Georgia Composite Medical Board offices remained closed on Thursday for the Veterans Day holiday. There were no public orders issued against Harnetty on the agency’s website.
Burke said that the complaint was filed in order to spread the information in fellow women that Harnetty did not have privileges to carry out deliveries at hospitals in Houston or Bibb counties. They should be saved in case they were also expecting him to carry out delivery procedure on them.
Burke is looking into whether any female experienced any complications because of this alleged abandonment. Thankfully, all 12 women delivered healthy babies, and none of them delivered babies before reaching a hospital, Burke said.
Harnetty’s office was closed on Thursday and according to a recording at the doctor’s office, located at 304 Margie Drive, the office would remain closed for the Veterans Day holiday until Monday.

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