Numerous Sparrow Hospital officials were aware that orthopedic surgeon Raymond Allard, D.O., was engaging in unsanitary surgical and post-surgical practices that were causing patients to develop rampant infection, including antibiotic resistant infections. The Sparrow Hospital officials, including hospital administration and the chief of surgery, did not dismiss, suspend or reprimand Dr. Allard when his dangerous operative practices came to light. In fact, they didn’t even investigate Dr. Allard. Instead, they simply told him not to engage in the unsafe practices, and they allowed Dr. Allard to continue to practice.
Sparrow Hospital officials let Dr. Allard care for and perform surgery on patients for at least 9 months after they had knowledge that he didn’t follow the standard of care for operative procedures, postoperative care and infection prevention. In one instance, Dr. Allard placed gauze into a patient’s infected surgical wound, and then stitched up the wound. The chief of surgery and hospital administration instructed Dr. Allard to remove the gauze the same day, but took no further action; Dr. Allard’s surgical practices were not examined, nor was he required to undergo any educational training on surgical care and infection prevention.
Dr. Allard was finally investigated when nurse anesthetist Jonnie Vanderhoef blew the whistle on Dr. Allard’s dangerous practices, prompting Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) to investigate Sparrow Carson Hospital.
A newly released federal report details the recent Sparrow Carson Hospital investigation undertaken by LARA. The report contains information about 9 patients. “Patient #1” is a 59 year-old female who underwent a total knee replacement (TKR) at Sparrow Carson Hospital in July, 2017. Her surgical wound became infected shortly after surgery, and by September, she required 2 invasive procedures to drain the infection from her wound. Prior to needing the surgical drains, her infection was documented as being resistant to the antibiotics levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. Nonetheless, for her prolonged infection, her surgeon prescribed 2 rounds of levofloxacin. In October, when she had to undergo her third knee surgery, her infected knee was packed with gauze by the surgeon, even though multiple surgical staff members verbalized concerns about this being inappropriate.
Sparrow Carson Hospital has been ignoring and covering up Dr. Allard’s unsafe surgical practices, and the hospital’s reports show just how poor Sparrow’s infection control practices are. With respect to Patient # One’s battle with infection, Sparrow Hospital’s infection control report for her surgeon showed that he/she had zero surgical site infections for July and September,2017, even though Patient # One’s infections were documented throughout her medical chart.
Sparrow Carson Hospital officials have not confirmed that Dr. Allard was Patient # One’s surgeon.
In our previous blog on the infection problem at Sparrow Hospital, we mentioned that Vanderhoef’s complaints about Dr. Allard went all the way to the top of the administration. In May, 2017, Vanderhoef met with Sparrow Carson Hospital’s president / CEO, Matthew Thompson, to express concerns about Dr. Allard’s dangerous practices. Vanderhoef reported that his concerns about Dr. Allard were ignored by Thompson, even when he threatened to report Dr. Allard’s practices to government officials.
Last month, Thompson was removed from his position as president and CEO. In a letter to physicians, Sparrow’s senior vice president and chief medical and quality officer, Karen Kent VanGorder, wrote that the hospital staff is “committed to consistently improving the care and service provided to our patients.”
Hopefully Sparrow Health System and Sparrow Carson Hospital take every possible action to verify that their physicians are properly trained and educated – and that the physicians are involved in continuous education programs. Sparrow has a duty to fully investigate claims made about physicians who engage in practices that are unsafe and in violation of standards of care, and the hospital should relieve a physician suspected of unsafe practices from all patient care until a proper investigation is completed.
Sparrow must also develop policies and procedures that accurately track iatrogenic events, including medical errors that result in infection / worsening infection. And Sparrow must certainly refrain from covering up dangerous practices engaged in by physicians and other healthcare providers.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Church Wyble, P.C. have spent decades uncovering medical mistakes and fighting for victims of medical malpractice. They have made it their mission to stop hospital cover ups. If you have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, please contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Church Wyble, P.C. for a free consultation.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.