The Getaway

What the Paul Levy saga says about the city’s most powerful institutions.

The scrutiny, though, is not over for Levy and his enablers. In 2008 a sex discrimination lawsuit was brought against Levy, Beth Israel, and Dr. Josef E. Fischer, the former head of surgery, by a doctor Levy demoted from the head of anesthesiology; the suit may see trial next year. In her complaint, Dr. Carol Warfield says she repeatedly reported Fischer’s demeaning and sexist treatment of her and that when she asked Levy to intervene, he accused her of “playing the victim” and creating a “culture of whining.”

If only Warfield read Running a Hospital, she would understand Levy’s point of view. After a Columbus Day youth soccer tournament this fall, Levy, a longtime soccer referee, took to his blog to chastise a coach whose players had challenged his calls. “The referee is always right,” Levy lectured, “even if s/he has made a mistake: A player never wins in the long run by dissenting. If children are to be effective players as they grow older, it is best to learn that lesson, too.”

  • Ellen

    Bravo to Eileen Macnamara for her fantastic article about
    Paul Levy. I had a soul searing experience in 2005 with him at BIDMC and I shall never forget it. You can read about it on my blog It is a chapter of my book, Ellen In Medicaland and it is called Medical Care From Hell. You can also listen to radio and tv shows about this experience at

  • Ben

    Where was Helen Drinan when the BI needed her. Mrs. Drinan filed a complaint to the Caritas Christi trustees when a ceo misbehaved. Like the BI,Caritas Christi is a religious based hospital. At the BI,Levy drove out a beloved rabbi who sat on the ethics commission.

  • Pilar

    This article is dead on. It does not matter what Mr Levy did, individually. What is concerniong, deeply concerning, is that powerful institutions in Boston not only tolerate infringements of law and policy but, in addition, promote those who are responsible. Philantropists should reserve their donations for institutions that promote abiding by the law!

  • Shawna

    Tip of the iceberg, Eileen, tip of the iceberg. The network protects criminals, too.