Tuesday, March 16, 2010

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Reviews Allow Incompetence to Continue

"After some articles are put to bed here they get a Posthumous Long-tail Aperitif; links to related articles published after my post"

Posthumous Long-tail Aperitif for August 4th 2010: CBC.ca reports, "Windsor hospital report orders sweeping changes"

"A report on the Windsor, Ont., hospital at the centre of surgical errors recommends reinstating full privileges for Dr. Barbara Heartwell, a surgeon who performed mistaken mastectomies.


"The final three recommendations refer to the ministry itself, including setting a March 2011 deadline for a provincewide quality assurance program for pathology reports

"Hours before the release of the report, Dr. Allan Forse, chief of surgery at Hôtel-Dieu, announced his resignation, effective Sept. 1.

Changing the positions of the deck chairs on the Titanic; and no one gets even a 'remark' on their resume. "Quality assurance program" is a ad speak term for a PR program - so people 'feel' like they're getting good doctoring.

Dr. Barbara Heartwell's "Opps" Resume:
  1. Janice Laporte of Sarnia mistaken mastectomy in 2001 by Dr. Barbara Heartwell.
  2. Reprimand by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 2005 after a botched thyroid surgery performed by Dr. Barbara Heartwell.
  3. Laurie Johnston of Leamington (pursuing a $2M law suit) mistaken mastectomy in November 2009 by Dr. Barbara Heartwell.

In an article by Sonja Puzic in The Windsor Star from March 12, 2010:

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital's board of directors restored Dr. Barbara Heartwell's surgical privileges Thursday, concluding that the surgeon is not a threat to patient safety.


On Feb. 23, Heartwell voluntarily stopped performing surgeries at Hotel-Dieu while the hospital reviewed her past cases. But she changed her mind three days later, prompting then-interim chief of staff Dr. Kevin Tracey to suspend her privileges.

The MAC found that Heartwell’s suspension was not necessary because “less restrictive measures” could be taken. It recommended to the board that her hospital privileges be reinstated and that another surgeon review her cancer cases for three months.


Heartwell admitted she misread a pathology report in one of the cases because of “a confluence of factors,” including a “poorly formatted” report and a positive ultrasound test.

So Dr. B. Heartwell was in a rush and didn't read the pathology report in it's entirety.

A review by the administration at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital decided that is was in the best interests of the community and the Hospital to require another surgeon review all Heartwell's cases before she commences an operation for the next three months.

This is a major slap down for a professional; it's like the surgeon is back to interning. This will undoubtedly result in her resignation from the hospital, as working under such conditions de facto, admits the doctor agrees that she is not competent.

In another case involving this modern doctor the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) investigated another surgery Dr B. Heartwell preformed in 2005.

From the Windsor Star, from March 11, 2010:

The Star learned that Heartwell was reprimanded by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 2005 after she performed a surgery that left a patient's thyroid condition untreated and didn't document the fact that the surgery was unsuccessful.

The CPSO issued a written caution to Heartwell after the patient -- who wants to remain anonymous -- complained that she went in for surgery to have a thyroid nodule removed but came out of the operating room with it still intact.

The patient's overactive thyroid was not treated and Heartwell had instead removed tissue from the thymus, also located in the neck area.

Nevertheless, Heartwell wrote in her operative note that she had cut through the patient's thyroid and that the procedure was "essentially" carried out.

The CPSO found that Heartwell failed to "exercise sufficient care" to make sure the operation was going as planned and noted the discrepancy between what she described in her notes and what actually happened on the operating room table.

All along the way her Lawyer appears to be giving advice designed to minimize indications in Dr. Heartwell's record that she may not be competent, or stable enough to be a professional. This is a lawyers job, to best represent their client. This will allow the quick doctor to take another job in another bailly-wick.

Unfortunately, three destroyed lives in Ontario - under the current review structures - means that another Province or State will now become the setting for more 'quick' doctoring.


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