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

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Conversations With Chris

Conversations With Chris

Chris Lofgren is the OSF-SFMC spokesman. When the media want to know something about OSF-SFMC, they contact Chris. His allegiance is of course to OSF which signs his paycheck. Chris is kind of like the White House spokesman, who spins things for the White House, except that Chris spins things for OSF.

An OSF employee came to my home in the Spring of ‘02 and told me that Chris Lofgren had unusual things to say about me around the time Keith Steffen was firing me in December, ‘01. (She said Lofgren had said strange things about me in November, 2001.) Why Lofgren would be talking to her remained mysterious to me. Anyway, he made multiple comments to her regarding me. One of Lofgren’s comments was that I was not married and lived at home with my mom. This was true but why would Lofgren comment on this and what did it have to do with my impending termination from OSF. Lofgren said other things as well, and Steffen had told me in his office many times that “when this comes out about you, it won’t be good.”

I asked this employee if she would meet with Lofgren with me to confirm his statements and she replied that she would. My brother and I showed up at Lofgren’s office on May 16, ‘02 but the employee was not there. She was obviously afraid to be there. Anyway, Tom and I had a talk with Lofgren who wanted to know why we wanted to speak with him. I asked him what he had been saying about me to the employee. He acted like he didn’t know exactly what I was talking about. So we left. My brother had taken off work that day as a research engineer, father of five kids, and had better things to do than sit it this office and hear Lofgren play with words.

That same afternoon, I received a voice mail from the employee who Lofgren had spoken to, and in it she said she had spoken to Lofgren that morning about his statements about me in November, ‘01. So Tom and I headed back to Lofgren’s office the next day where he admitted to us that he had made those comments and had inappropriately spoken about my termination to this employee just like she had been saying all along. I asked him what he meant by those statements and he made up something that my brother and I did not buy. Lofgren smiled at one point and said that “maybe Sister Canisia is making up the rumors”. We knew, of course, that she wasn’t but did not really appreciate Lofgren thinking this was such a funny matter. Interestingly, Lofgren encouraged us to go to Keith Steffen’s office and meet with him. I politely declined the offer. Steffen had done enough damage. (Steffen had told my brother that “the real John Carroll will be uncovered” when Tom had tried to have a rational discussion with him the previous December.) Lofgren stated he didn’t think (if I we visited with Steffen) “that I would be maligned further.” My brother could not believe he made that statement and Lofgren looked like the cat that just got caught with the mouse after he said that. (Lofgren told us that he was “intimately” involved in the administrative discussions surrounding my firing.)

As we left his office, Lofgren looked very down.

Chris Lofgren had written the following statement that was faxed to OSF-Corporate (Jim Moore, CEO OSF, and Gerald McShane, MD, Director of the Ethics Committee at OSF), the SFMC Management Team, SFMC Administration, and multiple departments in the medical center on December 24, 2001—--six days after my termination from OSF. (The statement appeared as if it came from Keith Steffen.)

Subject:Update–Dr. John Carroll

In an attempt to keep “open and honest” communication alive here at Saint Francis Medical Center, I am compelled to share some quick comments regarding the article on Friday, December 21, in the Journal Star describing the dismissal of Dr. John Carroll. Since the story ran, we have had some calls from the community asking us for details.

Dr. Carroll, like all OSF SFMC Emergency Room Physicians, was an employee of the medical center. Whenever we have an issue regarding an employee, it is our policy to maintain strict confidentiality. This is to protect the employee from having his or her situation discussed openly. I’m confident you can appreciate the importance of taking this position, from a legal as well as an ethical perspective.

Because Dr. Carroll was an employee, we MUST exstend this same courtesy of confidentiality to him. In the Journal Star article, our spokesman, Chris Lofgren, declined to discuss the particulars of Dr. Carroll’s situation. This was in accordance with the legal an ethical requirements we have to protect every employee’s privacy. We did not initiate the Journal Star story nor do we believe it was initiated by Dr. Carroll.

I ask that you not engage in conjecture about his departure nor spread rumors that are, most likely, untrue. To do so simply harms both OSF SFMC and Dr. Carroll. That’s not what our Missiion and Values are all about. Please share, as you deem appropriate with your staff. And thank you for your adherence to our policies on these kinds of issues.
My comments on the above fax:

The Journal Star article was factual, complete, and objective. I had no problem with it, but Lofgren was covering for OSF and himself for "breaking the rules" as he advised others not to do. An employee within the medical center had found this fax taped on a bathroom wall, right where it should have been, and gave it to me.

So by May ‘02, OSF had:

1. Fired me and Keith Steffen had metaphorically referred to me as a cancer and in the Emergency Department (while the ED had the lowest patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction in the medical center).

2. Spoken to people inside and outside of the medical center regarding my termination and other things (SFMC administrator and spokesperson).

3. Sabotaged my only meeting with Sister Canisia (Dave Gorenz and Sue Wozniak).

4. Used fear around the medial center to quiet employees and threatened to sue a nurse who started a petition for me.

5. Stated they would mediate and then withdrew it.

6. Continued to cover up the OSF-AMT conflict of interest and refused to discuss it at the Ethics Committee or with the Compliance Officer at OSF.

7. Told the media that Haitian Hearts would survive my firing as OSF was planning to stop ALL funding for Haitian Hearts in July, ‘02.

9. Ignored the main campus (OSF-SFMC) including the emergency department and its patients while funds were used for higher end projects at OSF (Tim Miller, MD).

As the months continued, I could see how the Sisters had lost control of their beloved hospital.


Anonymous said...

i hope you will onrday see the light these sisters HAVE NOT lost control of their "beloved hospital" it has been 5 yrs since all this has happened have you had any revelation yet???? these sisters are just as selfcentered and selfserving as the next one They all wanted you OUT sometimes the squeeky wheel gets replaced before it gets any grease. these nuns have a comfotable life they dont want their boat rocked so steffen "took care of it" you call it the medical mafia and your right dont you recognize a mob hit when you see one ???? some people are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good i believe thats is the way it has become with the sisters the are in the stage of their vocation where this is only natural it doesnt make them bad but it should make [people aware that they really trust steffen to keep st francis hospital profitable in this day and age i dont know if this is a misguided trust or not but it seems to work for all of them as well as sr francis hospitalgod reads hearts only he knows for sure I can only pray for the best for what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? thank god everyday you arent one of those.

Anonymous said...

sounds as though lofgren has no life outside his bubble as spin doctor he cant seem to comprehend a person like carroll that would have interests and a dedication that would outreach a "paycheck "lofgren is just too common his kind never make a difference in the world just add to its cofusion the crude canisia joke as well as his dirty minded insinuations of carroll "unmarried and living with his mother"remarks showed more about the kind of person he was than anything he could could have said about carroll the "man" and I use the term loosley is a true clod in every sense of the word.

Blog Archive