It could have been a public relations disaster. Instead, Kern Medical, Bakersfield's only teaching hospital, never hired a first-year resident physician whose name has become associated with anti-Semitic declarations on Twitter.
"No offer was ever given. No contract was produced," Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd told The Californian.
Dr. Lara Kollab, a first-year resident physician, was fired from her previous position at the Cleveland Clinic in September after allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks on social media over a period of years came to light, including tweeting in 2012 that she would "purposely give all the (Jews) the wrong meds."
Months after her dismissal, Kollab — apparently trying to secure another residency position — was matched to KMC through a nationwide, computer-based organization that brings together young doctors seeking resident positions with residency programs across the country. But KMC barred Kollab from Kern Medical's Internal Medicine Residency Program before she could be hired.
"As soon as it came to light, we notified her and made it clear she is not welcome at our institution," Judd said.
According to Judd, Kollab lied on her application about why she left Cleveland Clinic, saying she left due to a death in the family.
In a statement KMC said that on March 15, Kollab's position as a Post-Graduate-Year 1 resident in the Internal Medicine Residency Program had been withdrawn effective immediately.
"Kern Medical has determined that Dr. Lara Kollab breached her Match Participant Agreement when she submitted information that was false, misleading, and incomplete to Kern Medical during the interview and match process," the statement said.
"Kern Medical is dedicated to the health and well being of our patients and expects the highest level of integrity and compassion from our staff. We look forward to welcoming our new class of residents and working with them to bring an exceptional level of care to all of our patients, regardless of race, religious background or social standing."
Judd said the National Resident Matching program uses a mathematical algorithm to place applicants into residency and fellowship positions.
"We received 893 applications for nine slots," he said. "Of those 893, we chose to interview about 130. Of that 130, we ranked 98 of them."
The applicants are typically interviewed by several programs. They also give ranking to the programs.
"The computer then lines them up," Judd said.
It was early December when the interview process took place. The news on Kollab didn't break until early January. On March 15 they received the ranking list. Kollab was No. 17 of 98.
It was at that time her name was flagged.
"To us it was a non-story," Judd said. "We did not accept her placement at Kern Medical."
Meanwhile, Canary Mission, a group that claims to publish comments that "promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses," has compiled a long list of what it considers anti-Semitic or otherwise questionable social media posts from Kollab, dating from 2011 to 2017.
According to Canary Mission, Kollab's social media accounts have been deleted or made private. She could not be reached for comment.
In a statement released Jan. 2, Cleveland Clinic said Kollab was employed as a supervised, first-year resident at its hospital from July to September 2018.
"When we learned of the social media post, we took immediate action, conducted an internal review and placed her on administrative leave. Her departure was related to those posts and she has not worked at Cleveland Clinic since September," the clinic stated.
"For first-year residents, multiple safeguards and direct supervision are required for patient care and prescribing medicine. In addition, there have been no reports of any patient harm related to her work during the time she was here," the clinic said.
"In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system."