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'My silence is not for sale': Doctor fired for COVID concerns refuses $2 million settlement

The doctor was fired after criticizing hospital administrators over pandemic safety concerns.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Dr. Ming Lin worked at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center for 17 years.

At the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, he was critical of hospital administrators for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and he's still fighting that battle.

This time, it's in a courtroom.

"I was concerned for my own health. I was concerned for my family's health. I was concerned for everybody at work's health, and my patients," the emergency department physician said.

In March of 2020, Lin posted a video critical of PeaceHealth administrators for not having proper protective gear or protocols in place to keep patients and staff safe.

Shortly thereafter, he was fired.

"It was kind of humiliating, in a way. You feel like an outcast," he said.

Lin filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination, saying the hospital accused him of "posting misinformation" and creating a "toxic environment."

Three years later his lawyers told him he should settle the suit for $2 million, but Lin refused.

He believes the hospital should publicly admit wrongdoing, especially since, he says, it eventually ended up instituting much of what Lin requested.

"It's like a bully out there terrorizing people. Unless the bully acknowledges what he did wrong, you never solve the problem," says Lin.

PeaceHealth spokesperson Beverly Mayhew tells KING 5 the hospital "can't comment specifically on active litigation, however, it's important to emphasize that patient and caregiver safety is and always has been, our top priority. This commitment drives all clinical decision-making at PeaceHealth."

For Lin, walking away from $2 million is just the next step in his march toward justice. 

"Taking the money would just say that it's OK for corporations to just pay people off to be silent," Lin said. "My silence is not for sale."

Lin's attorneys dropped him, so he is currently seeking new representation.

Lin currently works as a traveling ER doctor on Indian reservations and as a volunteer physician at the Mexican border. 

He says he has no plans to drop his lawsuit. 

A court date is set for next February.

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