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Hundreds rally in Fergus Falls for recently fired surgeon

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 5:42 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - In Fergus Falls, MN, hundreds of people gathered in the town for a peaceful protest in support of Dr. Jeffrey Horak outside the Lake Region Healthcare Facility. While it is not clear why Dr. Horak is no longer with the hospital, some speculate that it has to do with statements he made earlier this month at the Fergus Falls school board meeting, where he spoke out against their mask mandate.

“We’re very proud of him. For him to stand up and lose his job tells you something about the man,” said Rick Bolinske, a family friend of Dr. Horak. “We’re actually family friends. He’s an incredible man, there’s no way he should lose his job for what he has said. We’ve lost our freedoms.”

Some of the signs that the protestors held said, ‘I stand with Dr. Horak’ while others had messages about ‘personal choice is freedom’ and ‘no to vaccine mandates’.

“When you have something like this, people here are standing up for liberty,” said Travis Bull Johnson. “There are standing up for their freedoms. And we have to support that.”

A group of nurses from the Lake Region Healthcare provided a statement to Valley News Live:

“We would be willing to speak up if we were not fearful that our job would be in jeopardy for expressing our First Amendment Rights.”

Dr. Horak spoke at the rally, thanking the community for their support.

Dr. Greg Smith, the president of the Medical Group Board, also provided a statement to Valley News Live:

“The Medical Group Board made a decision to discontinue Dr. Jeff Horak’s employment contract after a thorough review process. The Board is comprised of nine of Dr. Horak’s partners, physicians in specialties ranging from Primary to Specialty and Surgical Care, who have been serving our communities for decades, and who care deeply about the people we serve together with Lake Region Healthcare.”

Smith also said the reasons for Dr. Horak’s separation are confidential. He reiterated that the decision was solely made by Horak’s peers serving on the Medical Group Board and not by Lake Region Healthcare.

The Medical Group Board is comprised of nine of Dr. Horak’s partners, including physicians in specialties ranging from Primary to Specialty and Surgical Care.

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