Dr. Ramirez, who served as Stevenson's Chief of Staff (2013-2016), and
continues to serve as an emergency room physician, is one of the
article's focal points due to his Facebook post on a private group page
devoted to OMA matters. And of late, the biggest matter is internal
strife between its approximate 34,000 members, and last summer's
rejection of a negotiated deal reached between the OMA's executive and
the provincial government.
The comments were directed at St. Michael's Hospital family physician Dr. Philip Berger
who penned an opinion piece published Feb. 10, 2017 in the Star
suggesting, "The public will not be fooled by such sanctimonious
declarations and moral cover for what lies at the heart of the dispute
between government and doctors - physician incomes. And higher wages
for doctors will do nothing to remedy the flaws in our health care
In response to Dr. Berger's piece, Dr. Ramirez posted the following on
the OMA discussion page, "Cono hijo de puta anda a chupar Berger.
Sorry. Couldn't hold that rant back. I revert to my native tongue when
(ED NOTE: The Toronto
Star amended the translation it originally published attributed to Dr.
Ramirez as follows: "F--- you son of a whore. Why don’t you go and suck
Berger." It remains at odds with the
translation Dr. Ramirez provided to Free Press Online for this article
The Star reported that Dr.
Ramirez did not comment for the article written by the Star's health
reporter, Theresa Boyle, a previous National Newspaper Award winner.
The Star did quote SMH Chief of Staff Dr. Barry Nathanson who noted
"Stevenson Memorial does have a policy that prohibits this very kind of
activity on social media. Dr. Berger is entitled to express his views,
as we all are, without vulgar responses, public or private, from
anyone. As a physician myself, I am embarrassed that any colleague
would conduct themselves in a manner which lacks the dignity and
professionalism that medicine is based upon."
SMH CEO Jody Levac told Free Press Online this morning via email, "Dr
Nathanson stated the hospital's position. You can reach out to Dr
Ramirez as he represents himself in the matter."
Dr. Ramirez did provide Free Press Online with comments this morning in
email replies, including a suggestion the Star's translation was
"So my reply is (proper translation: f**king son of a bitch! Go get
drunk Berger). That is a typical Ecuadorean Spanish rant," he told Free
He said he was responding "on a private Facebook page where doctors
only can meet to discuss the issues with the OMA and the Ministry of
Health. What the comment does not include is why I was mad."
"I am mad that ivory tower physicians who are paid a salary with health
benefits and a pension plan can be judgemental about the front line
physicians who work hard and, yes, earn over $340,000 per year," said
Dr. Ramirez. "However he (Berger) doesn't have to pay for his office
rent, staff, internet, hydro and heat. He had a pension waiting for him
upon retirement from academia. He has a defined benefits to cover
medications and health. Front line family doctors spend over half of
their earnings on overhead. Then whatever is left is taxed at 48.9 per
cent. Anyone can do that math. Physicians make less than teachers over
the lifetime of work because we have no benefits. We have to earn our
own pension savings, after taxes, and we have to still provide for our
families. So we are workaholics. We work more to have more. We have
sacrificed our twenties and thirties studying to help people live after
they make bad life choices."
Dr. Ramirez admitted, "there have been issues with direct personal
attacks toward OMA executives but to say this amounts to bullying
belittles the true meaning."
He said that as of this morning, Dr. Nathanson had not spoken to him
nor has any
formal reprimand or communication been
delivered in writing or in person."
"No, I don't expect anything from administration because they are aware
of the mud slinging and they know me," said Dr. Ramirez. "One of the
reasons I stepped down from chief of staff was to protect the
organization brand and administration while I actively slog through the
political battlefield that is in front. I don't worry what people sling
at me. I have been bullied all my life for my skin, my intellect, my
origins and my religion. So what? I know who I am and I'm ok. But to
try to turn it around on me, painting me as the bully, that is rich