Nurses, stabbing victim's father rally behind fired VA surgeon

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Before Scott Russi was fired by the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, he worked as a trauma surgeon at the Peace Health Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.

Nurses who worked with him at Sacred Heart said Russi was one of the best surgeons they ever worked with and an all-around great guy. Many described him as compassionate and matter-of-fact, a man of honesty and integrity, and an advocate for good patient care. The nurses were stunned to learn he had lost his job caring for veterans. So was the father of a stabbing victim, who said his son was saved by Russi.

Russi said he was fired from the VA’s Eugene clinic, which is operated by the Roseburg VA, in August because he was a whistle-blower who stood up to Dinesh Ranjan, the VA’s chief of surgery. Russi’s case became the centerpiece of Rep. Peter DeFazio’s testimony in Congress last week supporting new whistle-blower protections. The VA has declined to comment on Russi’s case, saying it cannot discuss personnel issues.