About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Heart surgeon at MWH placed on leave

Dr. Richard Gitter

The heart surgery program at Mary Washington Hospital suffered a setback this month when its heart surgeon was relieved of his duties.

Dr. Richard Gitter, 48,  was put on administrative leave in early December, about 10 months after he arrived in Fredericksburg.

It’s not clear why the action was taken against Gitter.

Mary Washington officials this morning declined to talk about it, saying only that the University of Virginia Health System, Gitter’s employer, took the action, and that it was an “administrative” leave and not a “clinical” one.

“Since Dr. Gitter is an employee of U.Va., they would be the ones to talk to about the administrative leave,” said Debbie McInnis, hospital spokeswoman, in an email.

Gitter arrived at Mary Washington as the first representative of a new program between the hospital and U.Va. Mary Washington signed a five-year contract with the Charlottesville university earlier this year to manage its heart surgery program.

Gitter yesterday did not return a phone call seeking comment.

A spokesman for U.Va. confirmed this afternoon that Gitter was on administrative leave but declined to comment. “Typically in cases like this we don’t discuss it any further,” said Eric Swensen.

(For more details about Gitter’s departure, see the story tomorrow in the paper. Earlier posts about Gitter can be found here and here.)