Top All Children’s Hospital executives, including the CEO, have resigned amidst the release of a Tampa Bay Times investigation into the transparency and care its Heart Institute has provided over the past few years. The Times spent a year examining the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, uncovering an alarming amount of concerning issues. The investigation included review of thousands of medical reports, analysis of millions of hospital admissions, interviews with current and former employees, and discussion of concerns with families whose lives have been drastically changed by their experiences at the Heart Institute.
What did the Tampa Bay Times Discover at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute?
The investigation reports a number of issues discovered, including the following:
- Numerous failed surgeries led to permanent injuries and death. The Times reports the 2017 death rate was the highest of any pediatric heart program in Florida within the last decade.
- In 2017, heart surgery patients at All Children’s were three times more likely to die than at hospitals across the state and four times as likely to come out of surgery needing machine assistance. Additionally, it took twice as long for patients to recover from surgery.
- Dr. Quintessenza, one of the surgeons responsible for the majority of complicated yet successful surgeries over the years, was pushed out of the program in June 2016. When Dr. Quintessenza left, Dr. Tom Karl (who had spent the last six years practicing in Australia) and Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs (who was known as a leader outside the operating room) were responsible for conducting all complicated surgeries.
- Multiple staff members, including for physician assistants and four other employees, had brought serious concerns to supervisors and the chief of pediatric surgery (Dr. Paul Colombani), about Dr. Karl and Dr. Jacobs’ abilities to successfully conduct complicated surgeries. The concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears and remained unresolved.
- Inaccurate marketing claims stated the Institute performs more than 1,000 heart surgeries per year. In 2017, the institute conducted 164 procedures.
- Information about patient care was withheld from parents. A surgical needle was left inside a patient on at least two occasions in 2016. In at least one of these incidents, the parent was not informed.
Top All Children’s Executives Resign
The Tampa Bay Times released the article on its investigation on November 28, 2018. Less than two week later, CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen, Vice President Jackie Crain, and Dr. Jacobs resigned. Additionally, Dr. Paul Colombani stepped down as chair of the department of surgery. He remains employed at the hospital. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital released an official statement, saying they took action to address challenges with the Heart Institute, halting surgeries and reducing the complexity of cases they would handle.
Physicians take an oath to do no harm. We put our trust in doctors to provide a high standard of care, especially for the smallest among us. If you have concerns about the care a doctor provided to you or your child, contact an experienced birth injury attorney. We can be reached at (888) 783-8378.