EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — A former paramedic is taking AtlantiCare to court next month alleging wrongful termination after a patient under his care refused traditional treatment and he practiced holistic medicine on her instead.
Michael Senisch, of Bridgeton, who is also a licensed physician assistant and Reiki practitioner, alleges AtlantiCare retaliated against him by firing him after he did not place an intraosseous infusion into Wendy Johnson, who refused it based on her beliefs in new age, holistic medicine.
AtlantiCare says Senisch’s claims are untrue.
“It is unfortunate that the former paramedic and his attorney waited until now, only weeks before jury selection, to publicize his false allegations in the media,” company spokeswoman Jennifer Tornetta said. “We look forward to presenting the actual facts of the case to a jury in a few weeks.”
“We believe that the prejudices and the bias against holistic medicine weighed heavily in the minds of the decision-makers of AtlantiCare,” attorney Michelle Douglass said Tuesday during a news conference. “All he did, according to our complaint, was honor the patient, Mr. Johnson’s wife, her refusal to a procedure.”
On Feb. 28, 2016, while working as an AtlantiCare paramedic, Senisch responded to the Mays Landing home of Wendy Johnson, who had an open wound in her right breast, according to the complaint filed in Atlantic County Superior Court in September 2016.
Johnson was initially treated five years prior at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus, where she contracted an infection of MRSA, an experience that made her stay away from hospitals, according to the complaint.
After two failed attempts to place an IV in Johnson, Senisch called an AtlantiCare doctor who recommended an intraosseous infusion, a process of drilling and injecting directly into the bone marrow when an IV won’t take.
Johnson refused to have the procedure at least twice, according to the complaint. Senisch then offered to perform Reiki, or energy healing, on her, to which she consented.
At AtlantiCare, the emergency room doctor was “visibly angry” that the infusion was not done, according to the complaint, and, without asking for her consent, did the infusion himself.
On March 3, 2016, Senisch was fired, and AtlantiCare said his “clinical judgment is questionable,” according to the complaint.
Wendy Johnson’s husband, Brian, a retired deputy chief with the Pleasantville Fire Department and a former EMT, said Tuesday he felt like Senisch was “scapegoated” and “railroaded,” and said he plans to speak at the trial to support him.
“I want this gentleman’s name cleared,” Brian Johnson said. “I want his professional knowledge and his professional approach to things to be understood that he did the correct thing.”
The case is scheduled for jury selection May 13 before Judge James P. Savio.