An account of how a large Catholic medical center has lost its way. Go to to see recent updates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bishop Jenky Rejects Catholic Tribunal Court

Bishop Jenky Rejects the Catholic Tribunal Court

A Catholic tribunal court is a “search for the truth”. The church has long endorsed the principal of subsidarity, affirming that decisions should be made and disputes resolved at the lowest possible level of authority, with appeals to a higher authority only when such efforts fail. Thus, the diocesan bishop, and not the Pope, creates disciplinary policies for his local church. According to Canon Law, The bishop needs to get involved in cases where the public good may be at stake. Bishops are bound by canon law. Their actions must be in conformity with canon law. If they don’t follow canon law, their actions are invalid.

I believed that a tribunal court should be petitioned for against OSF for multiple reasons.

I will list some of the reasons below. I wrote 4 petitions for tribunal courts in 2003 and my brother wrote for one. Bishop Jenky answered only one of the five with a typed written letter. Bishop Jenky advised me to take my petition to Rome because the OSF sisters are a "pontificate of Rome". However, in his office, he told me, that there would be no tribunal court against OSF because he was the judge and he would “not judge against OSF”.

If OSF had a system of checks and balances that was functional, I would not have had to request a tribunal court from Bishop Jenky. For example, when I asked Doctor Gerald McShane, Director of the Ethics Committee, to bring up an issue regarding OSF administration to the Ethics Committee, he stated that Keith Steffen, OSF administrator, sat on the ethics board and my complaints would probably go nowhere. I asked OSF Corporate Ethicist, Joe Piccione, multiple times to take serious issues regarding abandonment of Haitian kids to the ethics committee and I never heard back any response from the ethics committee.

The American Medical Association statement on Ethics Committees in Health Care Institutions (E-9.11) state that “ethics committee members should be selected on the basis of their concerns for the welfare of the sick and infirm (which would include the pre hospital patient, the emergency department patient, and Haitian children that need heart surgery), their interest in ethical matters (Keith Steffen?), and their reputation in the community and month their peers for integrity and mature judgment (Keith Steffen?). Committee members should not have other responsibilities with their duties as members of ethics committees.”

The AMA statement was ignored by OSF. McShane, Piccione, and Steffen are all very, very high salaried members of OSF Corporate and Administration. Could they give unbiased, ethical answers regarding OSF’s actions? The governing elite of any organization can eventually think that it is the organization.

So, if Bishop Jenky would have allowed a Catholic tribunal court, in chronological order, these would have been some of the issues that would have confronted him and he would have had to search for the truth, as the tribunal dictates. However, he chose not to.

Reasons for a Catholic Tribunal Court vs. OSF:

1. The public good was at issue, with long waiting times in the ER and lack of bed capacity within OSF-SFMC. Tim Miller had stated that the “main campus had been ignored” (while the Center for Health was being built on the north side of the city). Keith Steffen had told me that there had been serious problems with leadership in the ER at OSF and Sue Wozniak said there had been "poor planning" regarding our dysfunctional Emergency Room. The ER had the lowest patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction in the medical center.

2. In my opinion, my firing from OSF had been punitive and retaliatory for pointing
out obvious problems when I wrote Keith Steffen on September 27, 2001 and copied all of the Emergency Department physicians including Dr. Hevesy. I was to learn that Dr. George Hevesy, Director of the ER and in control of all the ambulances in the Peoria area for many years, was on the payroll at Advanced Medical Transport, and according to the Peoria Fire Department had “obstructed” them as they desired to give better care for people that call 911 in an emergency. I felt that there was a very negative conflict of interest here with Hevesy on OSF’s and AMT’s salary. Also, Sue Wozniak, CFO at OSF, is on the AMT Board of Directors which I did not think was a healthy relationship either.

3. During my first meeting with Keith Steffen in October, 2001, he metaphorically referred to me as a malignancy and an “uncontrolled hemorrhage in the ER at OSF”. He also told me repeatedly that “when this comes out about you, it is not going to be good”. He called me a “bad person” to other people who told me and spoke inside outside the hospital inapprpropriatley multiple times about my termination. This was defamatory behavior on his part and very destructive. His comment that when he sees Haitian children “it makes me want to puke” seemed very wrong. Open and honest communication, and respect for Catholic social teaching, an OSF mission statement, was destroyed by Steffen.

4. Keith Steffen also brought up the concept of fear amongst employees as being a good thing. Fear plays a big role in the medical community in Peoria. Steffen shouldn’t promote this. Even Joe Piccione emailed me in November of 2005, deploring administrations fear concept.

5. Chris Lofgren, OSF spokesman, spun the truth to the media regarding the fate of Haitian Hearts after I was fired. The medical center should be honest in all forums. He also spoke to a hospital employee about my termination and on one occasion laughed and told me that “maybe Sister Canisia started the rumors”.

6. Keith Steffen stated that he was going to stop all funding for Haitian Hearts which he did on July 12, 2002. This seemed to be in opposition to what Sister Judith Ann had stated that “OSF will never turn away a child”. Again, the Sisters Mission Statements were violated as were the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

7. OSF-CHOI executive director, Paul Kramer, told the pediatric cardiology office to not schedule a Haitian child for cardiac catheterization, thus delaying her surgery. I watched him walk into a cardiology exam room while a 24 year old Haitian lady was being examined by the cardiologist. The host mother was enraged with Paul Kramer and he later apologized. OSF administration seemed to be controlling surgeries and procedures for certain Haitian Hearts children. I believe the pediatric cardiologists are afraid of the administrators at OSF. After I reported Kramer’s actions to the Pediatric Resource Center for negligence, the Haitian child was immediately placed on the schedule.

Also, Haitian Hearts had many questions regarding OSF-CHOI and Foundation handling of funds for Haitian children. Kramer admitted to asking Linda Arnold to ask for funds from Rotary Club North that were not intended to go to OSF…they were dedicated to Haitian Hearts out of hospital expenses for the Haitian children (medication, food, flights, etc.) OSF withholding donor lists to Haitian Hearts also seems very unethical. We have no idea who to thank and how much money is owed to us from OSF. And what happened to the majority of Catherpillar Foundation’s generous contribution in 2001?

8. OSF refused to accept full charges for Willie Fortune who needed his pacemaker changed. He was dying in Haiti and OSF refused him. (He was emergently operated at another medical center in the United States.) This action is in direct opposition to Catholic social teachings, the Ethical and Religious Directives, and the Sisters Mission Statements. (Since, OSF refused Willie, other former OSF patients have been denied treatement at OSF, and at least one has died (Jackson Jean-Baptiste), after 20,000 dollars was offered for his care.)

9. The OSF Corporate Ethicist and the Director of the Ethics Committee (Piccione and McShane) did not seem to respond in an “ethical fashion” to my requests for certain important topics to be brought up to the ethics committee. I never heard from the ethics committee in 5 years over any of my requests.

As a Monsignor in the Diocese of Peoria told me, there is significant “corporate malaise” at OSF. I think the people of Peoria could be much better served by OSF.

Why did Bishop Jenky not give the tribunal a chance? A review board would have looked at the above and made a recommendation to him. I could support everything reported above.

It is interesting that in 1993, the Catholic Diocese with Joe Piccione had devised a way for OSF physicians to prescribe birth control pills from OSF offices. Without the help of Bishop Meyers, this would have been much more difficult for OSF to accomplish. Bishop Jenky apparently agrees with this protocol. According to the Peoria Journal Star, OSF thought they would lose business without the ability to provide birth control pills.

Does OSF donate to the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, and if they do, how much? Do you think the Diocese or OSF will answer this question?

April 30, 2006

Pax Christi USA wrote an article in 2005 "Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero". He had great passion for the poor.

Romero stated, "A Church that doesn't provoke any crises, a Gospel that doesn't unsettle the Word of God that doesn't get under anyone's skin, a Word of God that doesn't touch the real sin of the society in which it is proclaimed--what Gospel is that?"

July 11, 2006

Below is a letter I wrote to the Catholic Post regarding Amy Riedell's April 9, 2006 column in the Post. Her article concerned OSF's new $234 million dollar expansion in Peoria.

It looks like the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and OSF are close when they need to be and that my petitioning for a tribunal court was appropriate. Bishop Jenky was in attendance when Keith Steffen was announcing the OSF expansion.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Monday, July 10, 2006 2:33 PM
Subject: Peoria's Medical Mafia

Dear Tom,

I recently read Amy Riedell's column April 9, 2006 regarding OSF's new
medical expansion. I'm a little behind in my reading.

It is very well written but also should be very embarassing for Bishop
Jenky and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. Imagine this planned $234
million dollar event announcement just several months after OSF refused
Jackson Jean-Baptiste and Haitian Hearts financial offer for his life. He
died a very painful and slow death. That, of course, was not reported in
the Catholic Post. We were with him and taking care of him the last two
months of his life.

Imagine Bishop Jenky having to listen to Keith Steffen talk about the
Sisters who founded the hospital and the current Sisters who have very
little to do with the day to day operation of the largest hospital in
downstate Illinois.

Imagine Bishop Jenky listening to Steffen talk and knowing that Willie
Fortune was refused a new pacemaker at OSF with full charges offered by
Haitian Hearts. Steffen laughed out the administrative window as Willie
stood there on the OSF sidewalk as OSF refused to see him. Willie was 16
years old at the time and weighed about 70 lbs. This doesn't sound like
"the greatest care and love" that Steffen professed in his speech, does
it? Bishop Jenky had to be nauseated at that point.

Think of Bishop Jenky's remorse when he heard Sue Wozniak, CFO at OSF, and
Board President at Catholic Charities?, talk about the new expansion as a
"place of healing". Jackson Jean-Baptiste's and Willie's mothers wouldn't
have believed her words.

Think of Bishop Jenky's mindset knowing that his vicar general and canon
law lawyer threatened me to go to the media against Haitian Hearts if I
petitioned to file a tribunal court against OSF with the Catholic Diocese
of Peoria. Bishop Jenky threatened me with the need to come to confession
to him for the "killing of 18 Haitian children" if I pursued a tribunal
court. He knew very well what the problems were, but knew he better blame
me. When I met with Bishop Jenky, I could see that he was very afraid.

Bishop Jenky must have squirmed in his chair when Steffen tied Bishop
Jenky to Steffen and OSF by stating that OSF is a "continuation of the
ministry" of the Diocese of Peoria under Bishop Jenky's leadership.
Another smart move on OSF's part. That of course implied that Bishop Jenky
was in agreement with the abandonment of dying Haitian children and OSF's
oral contraceptive policy. It also implies that Bishop Jenky and Monsignor
Rohlfs should not advise me or any of the Haitian kids to go to Rome to
Pope Benedict for pastoral care issues at OSF. Seems like Bishop Jenky
should have control according to Steffen and deal with these issues in a
Catholic way using Catholic social justice and respecting Humane Vitae
(sp) and the Ethical and Religious Directives (regarding health care) in
the United States.

I wonder how much OSF donates to the Catholic Diocese of Peoria each year?
The laity will never find out.

John Carroll


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Peacetrain said...

such a beautiful little girl in the picture even with those sad eyes full of sickness she still looks like a "little princess" "dignity never been photographed" but this sure comes close!!!! I hope you continue your work in Haiti

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