Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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March 7, 2014

Whitlatch addresses lawsuits in open letter to community

ASHLAND — New King’s Daughters CEO Kristie Whitlatch is keeping her pledge to be open to the community - even when it comes to bad news.

In a letter to the community on Wednesday, Whitlatch addressed the issue of the more than 500 lawsuits filed by a Texas-based law firm against King’s Daughters and Dr. Richard Paulus earlier this week.

The lawsuits, she said, were something that they knew was coming.

“We believe the large number of plaintiffs is for a ‘shock factor’ to get attention,” she wrote in the open letter. “The claims are vague and cover a wide range of tests and procedures including X-rays, EKGs and pacemakers.

“While we never want our patients to be unhappy with their care, from my perspective we leave the lawsuits for the lawyers and ask our team to concentrate on providing the best patient care possible, one patient at a time.”

Whitlatch said it was disappointing to read about the lawsuits but stands behind what the hospital has done and is doing for patients in the community.

“When I look at the heart disease and program statistics for our community, I don’t see numbers - I see people,” she wrote. “People like my parents, who were both affected by heart disease. My father is living today because of the care he received at King’s Daughters. I’m proud of the program we have built and grateful we don’t have to leave our community for high quality care.”

The Texas law firm began advertising for clients on television less than a year ago.

“When I accepted the CEO position, I was fully aware of the financial and legal issues,” she said. “I expect the next 90 days to very busy from the legal standpoint, but I have every confidence we will be able to get past the rough spots.”

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Paul and Kristen Shively at their new shop, Phoenix Vapors, on 16th Street in downtown Ashland.

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