Tracing Lahey Clinic’s link to Bermuda

Jan 16, 2014 -- BURLINGTON,  MA - Lahey Clinic (shot from sidewalk)  (globe staff photo; Joanne Rathe  reporter: Lizbeth Kowalczyk section: health science   topic: 19LAHEY )
Lahey Clinic. –Joanne Rathe / Boston Globe

It seemed like a golden opportunity. A small pink-sand island, just off the US coast, with too few people to support a full team of medical specialists, but enough health problems — cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other serious diseases — to require high-level care.

During a chance encounter years ago, a Bermudian doctor, Ewart Brown, floated the idea to a physician from Lahey Clinic, suggesting that the hospital could expand its business while filling a pressing health need.

The Burlington hospital now sends a rotating group of 25 cardiologists, neurologists, orthopedists, and other specialists to Bermuda, where they stay in hotels and treat patients referred by local doctors.

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Lahey is one of several US hospitals that provide specialty care on the British territory — a successful venture that on Tuesday put Lahey at the center of a federal bribery lawsuit over its relationship with Brown.

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