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PERRY, Utah (AP) -- An orthopedic surgeon's plan to expand his office at Perry into a small operating and research center has been opposed by 20 area physicians, who contend it potentially could force the Brigham City Community Hospital to close.
"My life is research," Dr. Marlowe Goble said. "The idea that I will compete with the local hospitals is absolutely wrong."
Goble said he wants to expand into a one-level, 12,000-square-foot facility, which would include one operating room and four to six beds for recovery, with large areas set aside for research.
Goble said he has no associates and is the only one who would operate at the facility.
Goble's specialty is total knee replacement surgery. He said that he will work only on knees and does not see how it will greatly affect the Brigham hospital.
Brigham City physicians have written to city officials against the plan.
Drs. David G. Hess and Kent G. Johnson said Goble would be "reaping profits from owning the same facility and at the same time collecting fees for services rendered on a professional basis."
Dr. Barry Gardner wrote that "surgical services in hospitals are one of the few areas where hospitals see a profit."
Goble said he doesn't expect to make a lot of money with the facility and may have to subsidize many of the surgeries since more than 60 percent of the operations he performs are paid by Medicare.
"When you have one operating room and only one surgeon there, the chances of making money are very slim," Goble said.
Goble said he chose Perry to build his practice because it is centrally located between his home in Logan and his work as a professor at the University of Utah.
Goble's plans are subject to Perry officials extending the commercial zone for his property by 40 feet.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)