Patients Concerned Over Doctorâ€™s Sudden Departure
Friday, May 11th 2007, 7:12 PM CDT
Recently some medical patients contacted The News On 6 when their doctor closed up shop without any notice, and didn't return their calls. They were concerned for the safety of the doctor and also needed their medical records. The people we spoke with all say Dr. Shirley Welden is a smart, kind, compassionate doctor, so they asked News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright to look into it. She reports they felt for her to leave with no word was very out of character.
Cheryl Kelley recently went to a doctor's appointment, but when she arrived she discovered the doors were locked and the doctorâ€™s office was empty. She says she left several messages for her doctor of 20-years, Shirley Welden, but she didn't hear back from her.
"I thought maybe somebody had done something to her because this kind of lady, such a moral, caring person, I know she would've called. So I talked to friends who also have her as a doctor, then thought we should call police to be sure she's okay," said concerned patient Cheryl Kelley.
The landlords are referring Dr. Welden's patients to a medical clinic in west Tulsa. The doctor there told The News On 6 she brought in her personal effects, saw patients for two days, then hasn't been back or returned calls.
The office is keeping a list of patients who call for her.
"I really like Dr. Welden. She's a very good doctor," concerned patient Diane Zike said.
Diane Zike says she's been Dr. Welden's patient for six years.
"I'm quite concerned about her, but also have an appointment for next week. I'm supposed to repeat some blood tests. I can't do that now, guess I'll have to call another doctor," said Zike.
Public records reveal the doctor and her husband are having financial problems, a foreclosure on their home, and a notice to pay $15,000 to their office landlord.
News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright received a call from a man who wouldn't identify himself, but he eventually put a woman on the phone who did identified herself as Dr. Welden. Lori told her some patients need information.
"All she has to do is leave a message," said Dr. Shirley Welden over the phone.
"She (Cheryl Kelley) and Diane Zike say they have called repeatedly. They are very concerned about you and about getting their medical records," News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright said to Welden.
Dr. Welden says she was seeing patients, but couldn't tell us where, then she said she was making house calls, but couldn't provide a number. She also declined to meet in person.
"We are under a lot of stress because of the stupid landlord, and I would appreciate it if there was no more stress," Welden said.
Dr. Welden told Lori she hasn't been back to the West Tulsa clinic because that contract fell through. She said she couldn't reveal her new location until negotiations are complete.
The Welden's attorney told The News On 6 they had to leave their previous office due to health concerns in the building, and she is looking for a place to practice. He says the medical records are safe and patients will be taken care of.
The Better Business Bureau told us any person in this situation should first send a registered letter to their doctor, requesting their medical files. The next step is to call the state medical licensure board at 405-848-6841, or visit their website,
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