State Considering Changes Amid All Children’s Scandal
The state is considering an initiative that would force hospitals that operate pediatric heart surgery programs release mortality statistics to the public. Ostensibly, this would force these programs to operate in full transparency.
This is a result of the backlash surrounding the All Children’s Hospital scandal that saw unprecedented rates of fatal surgical outcomes during the period beginning in 2015 and ending in 2017. According to sources, All Children’s’ had the worst success rate of any Florida hospital over the past decade. Despite growing concerns, then-CEO Jonathan Ellen reportedly refused to release the program’s mortality rate to the press. Had this information been made available to the public, the question remains as to how many lives could have been saved.
Several months following several state investigations into the hospital, no fines or punishments of any kind have been handed down. Ellen has resigned as CEO and All Children’s was cited for failing to disclose to adverse medical incidents, but the hospital appears to remain in the state’s favor even after the tragedy was made public.
Parents Were Unaware of Serious Problems with the Department
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital had a reputation to rival the best medical facilities in the country. But subsequent to the loss of some personnel and the reshuffling of the department hierarchy, the results rapidly dwindled. The most complex cases had long been sent to Dr. James Quintessenza but upon the arrival of Dr. Tom Karl, that changed. It’s hard to blame one doctor for the failure of the entire department, the executive hierarchy at the hospital, and state regulators, but as the cases were distributed among the three surgeons working in the department, the results appeared to get worse and worse.
At the same time, All Children’s was involved in a merger with Johns Hopkins in an effort to raise its profile. When Johns Hopkins came in, they began replacing the hospital’s personnel with their own. Many blamed this lack of chemistry for the serious problems that the department suffered over that period. In the meantime, one of the surgeons who had been with the department before the merger, Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, became the focus of media and regulatory inquiries into the hospital’s problems.
In essence, Johns Hopkins came in and replaced most of the nursing staff while losing one doctor and adding another one. In addition, the doctor who handled the most complex cases, Dr. James Quintessenza, was sharing duties with the other two doctors.
Will Transparency Protect Patients from Bad Programs?
As the hospital staff and administration reportedly lost control of the situation, many problems arose. The question becomes: Would more frequent updates to public records have prevented harm to the pediatric patients during that time period?
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