Doctors claim owners are trying to shut down suburban hospital, defying court order

The battle over the fate of a suburban hospital is getting ugly, with doctors and staff claiming the owners are secretly trying to gut the place.

The fight to keep Westlake Community Hospital Open keeps getting more dramatic.

On Tuesday, a judge approved a temporary restraining order requiring Westlake Community Hospital in Melrose Park to stay open through the end of the month.

But on Wednesday, allegations surfaced that hospital administrators violated that order.

A Westlake employee sent FOX 32 a photo that they say shows Pipeline Health -- the new owners of Westlake -- is starting to move the hospital’s medical equipment out of the building and into other facilities. This raised many eyebrows because the judge essentially told the hospital not to change a thing for at least the next three weeks.

FOX 32 talked to a number of doctors and hospital staff who also claim that administrators turned away a number of people seeking medical treatment from the ER on Wednesday. Lawyers from the Village of Melrose park believe both of these things are a violation of the judge’s restraining order and late Wednesday afternoon, they filed a motion to find Pipeline Health in contempt of court.

In a sworn statement, the doctor who chairs the internal medicine department at Westlake said the CEO of Pipeline repeatedly told staff-members he “didn’t give an F**k” about the temporary restraining order.

A spokesperson for Pipeline Health that FOX 32 spoke to said that moving medical equipment between facilities is standard practice, and also acknowledged it did turn several would-be patients away. However, the spokesperson says neither of those things violate the judge’s restraining order.

The judge is expected to rule whether Pipeline Health is in contempt of court some time Thursday.