Neurosurgeon sues Seattle Times for libel over ‘Quantity of Care’ special investigation – iMediaEthics

It’s very unusual to see this lawsuit happening and read the article below. I’ve talked to medical professionals who have  been in operating theatres and while they were not amazed that Dr. Delashaw was running concurrent operations, they were surprised by the number of operations he allegedly oversaw. My sources told me that it is routine procedure for surgeons like Dr. Delashaw to oversee multiple operations, leaving it up to others in the room to open, close, and do the routine procedures during the operation that don’t require the surgeons’ skill and decision making ability. This frees the surgeon to move between theatres and get more done in a day. They were also not surprised that the Dr. was being paid in some way per procedure, which, while the Doctor is claiming in his lawsuit that he was ‘on salary’ it is also routine that almost all hospitals these days do grade surgeons on their ‘numbers’. It is one reason that a noted surgeon in a hospital on the Olympic Peninsula left town, that he was unhappy with being forced to ‘make the numbers.’ This pushes surgeons and other staff to live by the old maxim “if you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.”  It does not lead to better healthcare, only more healthcare, sometimes, as the Seattle Times investigation found out, whether it’s the right thing to do or not.

The Seattle Times is being sued for libel over a Pulitzer Prize-nominated series that reported on a local neurosurgeon. The Seattle Times special investigation “Quantity of Care” looked at Swedish Health’s Cherry Hill hospital, which was acquired by Providence Health & Services in 2011.

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