The surgeon at the center of reported sex discrimination and patient care complaints at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta is taking a voluntary three-month leave of absence, the hospital said Tuesday.
Dr. Ian Reight’s decision came after a Nov. 15 investigation by the Bangor Daily News showed he took on and kept leadership roles despite at least five complaints filed against him within a year reporting that he was treating women in demeaning ways and being lax in his medical duties.
On Nov. 21, Reight told his colleagues he was resigning from his position as president of medical staff, a role that had put him on MaineGeneral Health’s board.
Now he is “voluntarily taking time off and will return after the new year. As with any time off, the department is communicating with patients directly,” said Joy McKenna, a spokesperson for the health system. “We expect him to return at the end of February.”
McKenna didn’t answer questions about whether Reight’s time off would be paid, or if there was a reason he would be out for three months in particular.
Reight did not respond to an email asking him to talk about his specific reasons for taking the leave of absence.
The BDN’s investigation showed how medical providers alerted higher-ups in 2020 and 2021 — human resources staff, the medical director for surgery, the hospital’s chief executive officer, the chief medical officers for the hospital and the health system, and at least four health system board members — about Reight making degrading statements to women, and not responding when nurses called him about patients. They said their concerns went unaddressed.
A sixth person, the former surgical medical director, Dr. Carlo Gammaitoni, said he was demoted after he brought forward others’ complaints to administrators.
Gammaitoni filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission, alleging whistleblower retaliation. A hospital lawyer, meanwhile, placed the blame not on Reight but on Gammaitoni, saying he didn’t do enough to address complaints. Gammaitoni later settled with the hospital.