Critics are calling Dr. George Visnich the world's meanest doctor after he reportedly sent a letter to his longtime employee, Carol Jumper, informing her that he was laying her off due to her cancer diagnosis.
But the oral surgeon's attorney is defending his client's actions, saying it was the humanitarian thing to do.
According to the TimesOnline, 51-year-old Jumper sought medical treatment in August after experiencing stomach pains. She has been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, liver and ovaries.
After telling her employer of 12 years about her diagnosis, the Beaver Countian reports that Jumper received a registered letter in the mail from Visnich.
The handwritten letter informs Jumper that she is being laid off without pay, because the side effects of her disease and treatment will be "significant and distracting." Visnich writes that he doesn't think Jumper will be able to "function in my office at the level required while battling for your life."
The doctor ends the letter on a hopeful note, writing, "I hope your battle is swift, smooth and successful!"
An outraged friend of Jumper's posted the letter on Facebook, where it quickly went viral. Visnich has received threats and disparaging remarks from outraged people from all over the country.
Larry Kelly, Visnich's attorney, states that the entire incident has been blown out of proportion, claiming his client was trying to be a humanitarian. Kelly claims Visnich laid off Jumper so she would be eligible to collect unemployment benefits during her illness. The attorney says that Jumper can come back to work when she feels better.
But critics claim that to collect unemployment benefits, you have to be actively seeking work and be able to perform job duties, which may be difficult to do as Jumper undergoes cancer treatment.
Jumper has health insurance through Obamacare, according to the Beaver Countian.
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects cancer patients from being fired, as long as they can perform essential job functions. However, it is not known if ADA regulations apply in this case.
According to friends, Jumper is shocked by the outrage over the letter and wants the controversy to subside.