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Porter Medical Center's President Resigned Over Plagiarized Emails. Here's An Update On The Hospital

Porter Medical Center in Middlebury.
Melody Bodette
VPR File
Seleem Choudhury, who became president and COO of Porter Medical Center in June, resigned in October amid allegations he plagiarized emails to staff.

A scandal rocked Middlebury's Porter Medical Center last month, leading to an investigation by the center's board of directors and the resignation of the hospital's president just months after he took on the job. But the scandal didn't involve money, mismanagement or other issues many might associate with such scandals — it was anonymous allegations about plagiarized emails that led to the resignation. 

At issue are emails sent to Porter Medical Center staff by President and COO Seleem Choudhury, who took on the hospital's top job in June.

Anonymous tips flagged multiple instances of plagiarism within Choudhury's informal weekly emails. VTDigger reported that online plagiarism checkersfound seven examples of plagiarism in Choudhury's weekly emails, pulling from websites associated with Psychology Today, Scientific American blogs and the American Journal of Managed Care.

Choudhury resigned Oct. 8, apologizing for the emails and stating he was "no longer the right person" to lead Porter.

Even the media coverage of the plagiarism allegations stirred controversy: the biweekly Addison County Independent  noted it likely received the same anonymous tips as VTDigger, but the paper opted to not write a story because it deemed the issue "an internal matter for the board to handle with its new president," according to an op-edby the paper's 20-year editor and publisher Angelo Lynn.

In that op-ed, Lynn called VTDigger's coverage "clickbait" and "gotcha journalism." However, the Addison County Independent did eventually follow up with its own coverage of the plagiarized email allegations.

John Flowers, senior reporter for the Addison County Independent, joins Vermont Edition to discuss Choudhury's resignation, the plagiarism allegations against Choudhury and how the hospital is continuing to pursue major projects like an electronic health records upgrade amid interim leadership.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.
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