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Hospital leaders resign in wake of scandal

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital came under fire for heart surgery problems that led to a rise in patient deaths.

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  • | 10:24 a.m. December 12, 2018
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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ST. PETERSBURG — Facing backlash over a series of newspaper reports that revealed a sharp uptick in deaths of heart surgery patients, multiple members of the executive leadership team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, including President Jonathan Ellen, have resigned.

According to a statement, the hospital board also accepted the resignations of Vice President Jackie Crain; Jeffrey Jacobs, chief of the cardiovascular surgery division; and Paul Colombani, chairman of the surgery department. The resignations are effective immediately.

A Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed major problems plaguing the hospital’s Heart Institute — deficiencies that resulted in a mortality rate that tripled from 2015 to 2017. According to the newspaper, supervisors were alerted to substandard surgical practices by at least eight workers at the hospital.

In the statement, the hospital announced that Kevin Sowers, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, will lead All Children’s on an interim basis until a new president can be hired.

“The leadership transition announced today marks a new chapter as we work to earn back the trust of the children, families and community we serve,” the statement reads. “We are devastated when children suffer. Losing a child is something no family should have to endure, and we are committed to learning everything we can about what happened at the Heart Institute, including a top-to-bottom evaluation of its leadership and key processes. The events described in recent news reports are unacceptable.”

The hospital also says its board will commission “a comprehensive external review of the issues within the program.” The statement adds, “We will share the lessons learned from that review to ensure that Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins All Children’s and other hospitals around the country can learn from and avoid the mistakes that were made.”


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