Bartlett issued trespass warning at MCH

·5 min read

Oct. 22—Dr. Richard Bartlett was issued a criminal trespass warning from Ector County Hospital District police after he was caught on a video first putting his hands in the trash and later in a patient area looking for plastic bags — without a mask or gloves on.

Bartlett does not have medical privileges at Medical Center Hospital and cannot be in the dock area or restricted patient areas or storerooms. The criminal trespass was issued Tuesday and means that Bartlett is not allowed in any MCH building unless he is actually a patient. If he violates the no trespass he can be arrested.

MCH CEO Russell Tippin said the matter was handled with a criminal trespass "to protect our staff and the integrity of our hospital... someone claiming to be a doctor and digging through your trash is not something you see every day."

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Bartlett was confronted by a respiratory employee who recognized him and asked him what he was doing in the restricted area of the hospital. Bartlett then snapped a photo of an equipment bag and turned and left. The incident was reported to the ECHD police and a criminal trespass was issued to Bartlett through his attorney.

MCH, like most hospitals during the COVID crisis, requires visitors to go through the front door for a health screening and to wear masks in the hospital.

Bartlett, via phone on Friday, said he didn't see any no trespassing signs and simply went into the hospital after being invited in by the hospital worker. "It never crossed my mind a doctor couldn't go into a hospital," he said but didn't indicate why he went through the back instead of the front.

When asked if he was blaming the worker for his unauthorized entry he said he never "thought of going in until he was invited in" and added that the worker offered to let him speak to someone in the respiratory department.

The dock area is in the back of the hospital, which requires an MCH badge for entry.

Bartlett said he hasn't had privileges at MCH in a number of years and doesn't want them but would not respond when asked what hospitals he does have privileges at.

"He told the worker he needed to find where we keep our COVID bags," Tippin said. "Our employee thought he was being helpful to a doctor who needed help."

Bartlett on Friday said he only went in to the hospital because he was invited but later said he had "heard a lot about putting bags on patient's heads" when questioned about what bags he was looking for.

A social media post showing a photo of a young patient at MCH with a bag on her head who was being treated for COVID went viral and MCH staff members have been bombarded with threats and claims of poor health care at the hospital and substandard care of patients.

One of the written reports from a staff member who encountered Bartlett detailed that Bartlett told the staff member that he was looking for the "COVID bags."

For the full MCH report obtained by the Odessa American click here.

The records and videos were obtained by the Odessa American through a public information request. Numerous video from the hospital shows Bartlett unmasked walking through the area with the staff member.

The officer notes on the criminal trespass report indicated that Bartlett used "deception" to enter through the dock area "un-masked, un-screened and no ID, as required. Dr. Bartlett then went to the respiratory unit taking pictures of the equipment that was covered with clear coverings located on 2 west."

The bag controversy was addressed during a Monday Zoom news conference when Tippin said MCH's exposure committee and transportation committee met about how to transport patients around the hospital.

Tippin on Monday said he had spoken with the mother of the girl in the photo and apologized. "We at Medical Center realize that we had a situation that we failed to do our best and that we failed to give them the best experience possible. We do apologize for that."

On Friday Tippin said complaints are taken seriously. "We look at what did we do right and what we can do better. This situation has given us an opportunity to figure out how we can get better."

This week the Department of State and Health Services on behalf of the Centers for Medicare Services investigated a complaint based on the photo. Tippin said. On Friday, Tippin said a report from the DSHS should be issued in about 10 days.

Bartlett has been at odds with health officials over what Bartlett has called his "silver bullet" treatment to cure COVID. Local health officials, as well as many national officials, say there is no silver bullet or single treatment that can "cure" COVID.

Bartlett each week is on local radio stations touting his treatment and also warning patients away from vaccines, which local health officials have strongly supported. On a Friday morning radio show Bartlett indicated he has little faith in vaccines including the influenza vaccine, which he said only has about a 40 percent effectiveness rate.

Tippin said he has never been involved in a situation like someone sneaking into a hospital.

"We are educating our staff to make sure they are guarded and this is an eye opener. Not everyone wants to do good by the hospital. ...the hospital is doing the best as we know how to do it and it is a new struggle every time we turn around."

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