By Geena Martinez
MARTIN COUNTY - There's controversy in Martin County. One of the hospital's doctor's was recently stripped of his privileges to work in the emergency room but the doctor says he wasn't given a straight answer as to why.
This is a story NewsWest 9 began looking into after we were contacted by concerned patients.
Dr. Pablo Teveni has been practicing medicine in Martin County for over 20 years. He's the only full time doctor at the Martin County Hospital and he also serves as the ER director.
But at the beginning of the year, Dr. Teveni was stripped of his ER privileges and he says he's not exactly sure why.
Although he declined an on camera interview, Dr. Teveni tells NewsWest 9 he was told it's because he was a liability to the hospital.
NewsWest 9 asked hospital CEO Paul McKinney for an answer.
"We had an issue in ER and it was concerning patient issues and we can't really discuss that outside of the hospital," McKinney said.
But Dr. Teveni says that's not the case.
In a statement, he wrote, "I have not done anything wrong for the hospital administration to revoke my emergency room privileges. I believe their action was as a result of a difference of opinion but it does not warrant such action on their part."
Other contracted physicians have taken over in the ER since then. McKinney says that's the only change they've made.
"He still has privileges here," McKinney said. "He can admit, he still has clinic space, he has access to everything in the building except the ER."
Meanwhile patients are standing behind the doctor.
In a town of about 3,000 people, Dr. Teveni has over 7,000 patients that come from near and far. Larry Strain is one of them.
"He's been a good doctor," Strain said. "It's a shame. Maybe it's small town politics."
Strain has been Dr. Teveni's patient for about 18 years.
"I live in Hobbs, NM and I drive down here," Strain said. "That oughta say something, I drive over a hundred miles to see him."
NewsWest 9 has also received e-mails from patients voicing their support.
Teveni was scheduled to talk with the hospital board on Monday but it was canceled last minute due to member emergencies.
However Strain says the doctor will be back.
"His patients need to support him and rally around him if they wanna keep him," Strain said.