Voicemail causes Boston hospital exec's ouster

Physician recruitment is a rough-and-tumble business under the best of circumstances. But a recent case in Boston shows just how high tempers can run--and how quickly things can get out of hand--when that competition gets intense.

The story began at Caritas Christi Health Care, where senior vice president Dr. Timothy J. Crowley found out that a competitor was romancing three of his physicians. Upon learning that the pursuer was James Blakeley, recruiter at Mount Auburn Hospital--and a long-time friend--Dr. Crowley shot off a voicemail intended to be joke threatening to "take everything you got and everything you love and kill it."

To Crowley, the voicemail was "unfortunate," but still a "light-hearted" joke between friend and former colleagues with a history of sharp-elbowed jokes. Unfortunately for him, an executive at Mount Auburn saw things differently, and Crowley ended up being pushed out of his job.

Boston executives say the brouhaha underscores not only the intense competition for qualified physicians, but especially the battle for primary-care physicians, 40 of which Crowley had managed to attract during his tenure. An ironic P.S.: the doctors Blakeley was pursuing remain with Caritas today.

To learn more about this incident:
- read this piece in The Boston Globe