Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2014. 12:46 pm CST.
Tuesday, September 2, 2104. AARON HUMES Reporting: It was an ugly episode: a common-place bacteria took up residence in one of the leading national hospital’s most sensitive units, and proceeded to kill as many as eight premature infants in the span of three weeks.
Even more damagingly, the hospital could not say how the bacteria known as enterobacter cloacae got into the facility.
Five of the eight families affected decided to sue, a sixth having already reached a settlement, and today following a lengthy and emotional mediation session presided over by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, a settlement was agreed.
Not all of it is public purview, but attorney for the families Kareem Musa was able to share some details. The families will receive an undisclosed financial settlement and an apology from the hospital.
The man at the center of the maelstrom is outgoing CEO of the hospital Dr. Gary Longsworth, whose contract was not renewed.
He would only say that he felt the settlement had been fair to all concerned.
The payments are due by September 30, in default further litigation. But according to Musa, the families wanted nothing more than an opportunity to get the matter heard in a forum of some sort, and now, to put it behind them.
Musa says the families vented much of their anger and frustration during the mediation session, and are now looking forward to putting the sorry saga out of mind.
The hospital is now searching for a new CEO and new Director of Finance, replacing Carlos Perrera.
It has also implemented a series of recommendations to strengthen internal protocol to prevent a repeat of this episode.
Dr. Longsworth said today that he would leave it to “other people” to decide on his legacy at the hospital.
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