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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Newsday Was Wrong, SBUMC Defends

    The Stony Brook Medical School hosted a Town Hall Meeting on September 11. This was to inform the Stony Brook community about the infant deaths at the hospital and the resulting probes. The meeting was led by Dr. Richard Fine, Dean of the School of Medicine; Dr. Shirley Strum Kenny, President of the University; Dr. William Greene, physician at the Hospital; and Fred Sganga, Interim CEO of the Hospital. The meeting took the form of a formal presentation by Dr. Fine and Dr. Greene, followed by a question and answer session.

    The meeting began with introductory remarks by President Kenny. Dr. Fine then discussed the medical details of the three cases surrounding the controversy. The cases include the death of 11-month-old Amee Martin, 6-year-old Tyler Poole, and a 23-week-old premature infant. According to Dr. Fine, the premature infant ‘was on 2 drugs and suffered from kidney, and liver failure. [The infant] also had a systemic infection.’ He said that the child was scheduled for litigation on July 5, but never received corrective surgery in time.

    Dr. Fine said that the death of the 3 children was not connected to the pediatric cardiac surgery program as stated in Newsday. He also said that ‘Newsday, in multiple articles, has [wrongly] connected the three children with the pediatric cardiac surgery program, and with each other.’

    Dr. Fine also updated the largely faculty-composed audience about the ongoing investigations. He said that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare and the Department of Health conducted 5 day investigations. The Department of Health investigation was ‘very thorough, including two neonatal ICU’s (Intensive Care Units), PDA’s (Patent Ductus Arteriosus), and litigation cases.’ PDA is a condition where the normal channel between the pulmonary artery and the aorta fails during infancy.

    Dr. Fine then passed the podium to Dr. Greene, who as overseer of the Hospital’s administrative affairs, delved deeper into the success rate of the Hospital’s medical facilities. The audience was presented with a presentation and a print out highlighting the SBUMC’s (Stony Brook University Medical Center) low mortality rate compared to other comparable facilities in UHC (University Hospitals Consortium). The Hospital, as a level 3, has an overall mortality rate of 0.623 (19 expired cases per 3,048 patients). Its peer hospitals have a rate of 1.731, while the overall UHC rate is 1.41.

    Dr. Greene also mentioned that the Department of Health will end its investigation on September 12. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JACO) found minor issues, which the Hospital will be rectifying. In conclusion, Dr. Greene said ‘we provide the highest healthcare, especially when compared with institutions of higher learning.’

    On September 18, reviewers will be visiting the Hospital. The Hospital has applied for Magnet status, an honor only 4% of all hospitals attain. Long Island alone has only 2 hospitals with such a designation, one of which recently lost it. The Chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission, one of the several investigative panels, will be visiting the Hospital on the same day.

    The hour long meeting ended with a speech by the new Interim CEO, Fred Sganga. This was followed by a question and answer session. One of the audience members brought up the ‘irresponsible’ way in which Newsday has presented the Hospital. She asked ‘is there something we can do to put pressure on these newspapers?’ Dr. Kenny responded to this by saying ‘my husband had triple bypass surgery [at the Hospital]. The care and excellence of all staff is amazing. [The staff] knows that medical procedures are about families and patients.”

    In response to one Dr. Fine saying that ‘we as an institution are the repository for all children in Suffolk, disproportionately.’ He also said that the Hospital has maintained complete transparency. He said that Amee Martin’s mother, Judee Martin, was informed about the medical details causing her daughter’s death in the presence of her attorney and a close family friend.

    The meeting ended with an audience member raising the concern that ‘having good facts does not solve the problem.’ Dr. Kenny responded to this by saying that ‘if something is wrong, we fix it. If something is not wrong, we rest the rumors.’

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