Dr. Elizabeth Bigger has been named the new oncologist and hematologist at St. Peter’s Health, officials at the medical center said Monday, adding she will begin seeing patients in late February.
Bigger will join radiation oncologist Dr. Andrew Cupino and Cancer Care staff, officials said.
“This is a major step forward in rebuilding our cancer treatment program and fulfilling our promise to be the gold standard for cancer and hematology treatment in Helena,” said the president of St. Peter’s Health Medical Group, Dr. Todd Wampler, in a press release.
He said Bigger has elite training and an impressive background, and her practice “harmonizes strongly with evidence-based medicine and the team-centered culture” they cultivate at St. Peter’s.
Bigger has more than 15 years of experience providing oncological and hematological care and is moving to Helena from Massachusetts, where she practices at the Mass General Cancer Center.
Bigger replaces doctor Thomas Weiner, who was fired from the hospital more than a year ago and is now involved in an unfair dismissal case with the health center due to his dismissal. In his lawsuit, Weiner, who had been with St. Peter’s almost 25 years that he had seen as many as 1,500 patients a month. The hospital said Weiner had treated a patient incorrectly for lung cancer for 11 years and said it had learned about “alarming drug prescribing practices” by Weiner.
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The trial is scheduled to take place in a Helena courtroom on November 14, 2022.
St. Peter’s Church has hired temporary oncologists, known as “locum tenens”, to work at the hospital’s Cancer Treatment Center, which is working on a renovation project. St. Peter’s officials said in April that the hospital will join the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, and said this will give patients undergoing cancer and hematology treatment access to more treatment options and provide top cancer experts.
Wampler said earlier this month in a community forum that St. Peter’s officials were still looking for a permanent oncologist in Helena. He said they had made inroads and expected to make a statement soon.
“We have some candidates who are interested, but they are not right for our society,” he said at the time.
Bigger received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at Vanderbilt University and her scholarship to Duke University Medical Center, and she began her clinical career as an instructor in global health oncology at Harvard Medical School. Along with being board certified in oncology medicine and hematology, Bigger is also board certified in internal medicine, St. Peter’s officials.
“We are incredibly fortunate to welcome Dr. Bigger to St. Peter’s Health. It has been a long wait to find the right medical oncologist for our community, and we thank everyone for their patience,” said St. Peter’s Health Chief Executive. Officer Wade Johnson in a press release.
“To combine Dr. Bigger and Dr. Cupino’s incredible talent, training and experience with an amazing cancer care team and our association with the Huntsman Cancer Institute is a major step forward in our goal of delivering world-class cancer treatment in Helena, “he said.” The future has never been brighter. “
St. Peter’s staff and providers have worked with the Huntsman Cancer Institute to streamline nursing practices and conform to the academic medical center’s standard of care.
Huntsman clinicians have worked with St. Peter’s employees at the Regional Medical Center, and several St. Peter’s workers have been taken to Salt Lake City to train at the Academic Medical Center, St. Louis said. Peter’s officials.
Assistant Editor Phil Drake can be contacted at 406-231-9021.