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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Letter Regarding Delay of Surgery---November, 2002

Letter Regarding Delay of Surgery—November 25, 2002

Dear Ms. Patricia Gibson, Monsignor Soseman, Monsignor Rohlfs, and Monsignor Campbell,

On June 27th, 2002, I brought a 9 pound 4 month old Haitian baby named Samuel to OSF-SFMC for heart surgery. Samuel is a “blue baby.” The pediatric cardiologist saw Samuel shortly after our arrival in Peoria and recommended surgery in one week.

Surgery was postponed week after week for unknown reasons. Unfortunately, Samuel suffered a respiratory arrest in his foster family’s home in Roanoke, Il. Their seventeen-year-old daughter performed CPR on Samuel and he was able to survive the ambulance ride to the emergency department. I met them there and with the help of the ED staff continued his resuscitation. By the grace of God, Samuel survived and 2 weeks later was operated with a successful outcome.

Shortly after Samuel’s arrival in the emergency department after his arrest, I spoke with Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Childrens Hospital. He told me that OSF administration was not involved in the six-week delay prior to Samuel’s arrest. I believed then, and believe now, that Samuel’s surgery had been inappropriately put on hold by Administration. He was a critically ill baby whose cardiologist had recommended surgery as mentioned above.

This was an obviously life threatening event for Samuel and a horrific event for the foster family to experience.

Last month I brought Katheline from Haiti. Katheline is a 24-month-old female and weighs 22 pounds. The new pediatric cardiologist at OSF examined her. Katheline has three problems with her heart that are all amenable to repair. Cardiac catheterization to open up her stuck pulmonic valve can be done without opening her chest thanks to our technology and the skill of the specialists. That is what the cardiologist recommended 6 weeks ago when he evaluated Katheline. She has not been scheduled and still awaits this procedure.

On Friday, November 22, Sister Mary Jo Yutt and I drove to the cardiology office and asked if Katheline had been placed on the schedule. The cardiology nurse replied “no.” When I asked the reason, the nurse stated that Mr. Kramer had told the office to not schedule the catheterization procedure. (This same nurse stated to another nurse the day before that Mr. Kramer’s reasons were financial.) With that information, Sister Mary Jo and I walked to Mr. Kramer’s office in OSF.

When Mr. Kramer was available, we sat in his office and experienced an interesting conversation:

1. Mr. Kramer seemed to have a difficult time remembering who Katheline was.After asking the question a number of times, Mr. Kramer did remember Katheline and/or Katheline’s history.
2. Mr. Kramer stated that he did not know that Katheline’s surgery had not been scheduled.
3. After repeated questions by me, Mr. Kramer admitted to us that he did delay the scheduling of Katheline’s cardiac catheterization in the cardiology office. He would not answer the question as to whether he spoke with Katheline’s cardiologist regarding her case.
4. Haitian Hearts built a house this past summer that we called “Haitian House”.The house closed in November and 187,000 dollars is now available for OSF that will help defray the charges for the Haitian children’s surgeries. I asked Mr. Kramer on Friday if that money would influence him regarding proper care for Katheline. His answer was “yes”. (Ironically, last spring Mr. Kramer attempted to talk Jim Holmes, the contractor, out of building this house.) All of the proceeds are to go to OSF-CHOI, as I stated last spring.

It is very clear to me and many others that work at OSF that young Haitian lives are being held in jeopardy. How much longer will Mr. Kramer and possibly other administrators continue making medical decisions regarding the Haitian children’s medical care?

Doctors and nurses are afraid for good reasons. I doubt the founding Sisters 125 years ago would have envisioned this scenario. But it truly is happening as Sister Mary Jo sadly witnessed.

Katheline IS the Mission. I have exhausted my resources within the Medical Center searching for an advocate for her.

What should I do?

John Carroll, MD
When I related to Monsignor Rohlfs the history regarding Samuel he replied, “If it ever happens again let me know”. Other than that, I received no answer from the Diocese regarding Samuel or Katheline.

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