Bay­lor hospi­tal de­clines Baldrige Award over mal­prac­tice law­suits

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Rachel Lan­den

Bay­lor Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Plano (Texas) has turned down the pres­ti­gious Mal­colm Baldrige Na­tional Qual­ity Award in the wake of sev­eral med­i­cal

mal­prac­tice law­suits al­leg­ing that a for­mer Bay­lor neu­ro­sur­geon op­er­ated while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs. It’s the first time an or­ga­ni­za­tion has ever de­clined a Baldrige Award.

The Baldrige Per­for­mance Ex­cel­lence Pro­gram at the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Stan­dards and Tech­nol­ogy no­ti­fied Bay­lor Plano last fall that it would re­ceive the Baldrige Award dur­ing an April 2014 cer­e­mony. But late last month, Bay­lor

Plano re­leased a state­ment say­ing that “while it is ex­tremely proud of this honor, the hospi­tal’s lead­er­ship is mak­ing the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion at this time to with­draw from the process.”

“Right now, Bay­lor Plano is work­ing to ad­dress al­le­ga­tions be­ing made against it by plain­tiffs’ at­tor­neys in law­suits and in the me­dia,” hospi­tal of­fi­cials said in the state­ment. “So at this time, out of re­spect for the Baldrige Award and to not give any mis­lead­ing al­le­ga­tions an el­e­vated pub­lic plat­form, Bay­lor Plano is an­nounc­ing this de­ci­sion.”

Bay­lor’s de­ci­sion to turn down the award came a lit­tle more than a week af­ter a for­mer pa­tient filed a med­i­cal mal­prac­tice law­suit against the hospi­tal and its health sys­tem, al­leg­ing that she was in­jured dur­ing a 2012 surgery at Bay­lor Plano per­formed by Dr. Christo­pher Duntsch. Ac­cord­ing to the suit, dur­ing treat­ment, “con­cerns were raised by the op­er­at­ing room team that Duntsch seemed to be ‘dis­tracted and dis­ori­ented.’” The suit con­tends the sur­geon’s con­di­tion may have been due to his be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs.

Con­cerns about Duntsch have led to al­le­ga­tions in other suits against the sur­geon in­volv­ing pa­tients who al­legedly were in­jured or who died un­der his care dur­ing a nine-month pe­riod that be­gan in July 2011. In March 2012, Bay­lor Plano asked for Duntsch’s res­ig­na­tion. Last De­cem­ber, the Texas Med­i­cal Board re­voked his med­i­cal li­cense, cit­ing six cases in which he al­legedly vi­o­lated stan­dards of care.

Bay­lor Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Plano, Texas, is the first or­ga­ni­za­tion to de­cline a Baldrige award.

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