UNC Children’s Hospital is under investigation after a New York Times report revealed high death rates among pediatric heart patients. The numbers were so worrisome that the hospital’s pediatric cardiologists were reluctant to refer patients to their own surgeons.
Investigative journalist Ellen Gabler follows the story of a child named Skylar Jones who went in for a low-risk heart surgery and died at the age of 2 after a series of post-op complications. Shortly after her death in June 2016, pediatric cardiologists from the hospital met with their division chief to express concerns about surgery outcomes. That and other internal meetings were secretly recorded, including a conversation in which an administrator warned doctors that the department's budget could be affected if they stopped referring patients internally. Gabler joins host Frank Stasio to share her reporting, including her efforts to get UNC Children’s Hospital to release risk-adjusted mortality data, which 75 percent of hospitals around the country make public. Since the article was published late last week, the state has launched an investigation into practices at the hospital.