Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OSF has New "Ethics Director"

The Peoria Catholic Post February 8, 2009 announced that OSF has a new ethics director.

She is Birgitta Skujdak Mackiewicz.

The Post reports:

"Sujdak Mackiewicz said that when she receives requests for ethics consultations, for example, she tries to eduate all involved so they feel they have the necessary resources to address problems now and in the future.

"They're alway welcome to call, of course, but at least this gives them tools to work through some of these issues, to recognize ethical issues where they may not have seen them before," she told the Post.

"In terms of policy development, Sujdak Mackiewicz said OSF-SFMC, like all Catholic hospitals, relies to a great extent on the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. This document was developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine.

"Our consultation service here at the hospital is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has been in existence for some time," according to Sujdak Mackiewicz, who said anyone can request an ethics consultation."

The article reports that she handles ethics calls the majority of the time and works closely with Dr. Gerald McShane, who chairs the OSF Saint Francis Ethics Committee and is president of the OSF Medical Group.

Sujdak Mackiewicz states that "above all, ethics consultations should improve patient care."

My comments on the article:

1. Why does OSF need an "ethics director"? They already have Drs. Gerry McShane and OSF Corporate Ethics Director, Joe Piccione.

2. I feel bad that this new ethics director is working with Gerry and Joe. I have submitted multiple ethics consults to both Gerry and Joe over the past eight years. Never once have I been granted an ethics consultation from either of them that I know of. If the Ethics Department and committee talked about my concerns at OSF (the abandonment of Haitian Hearts patients, the Advanced Medical Transport monopoly on ambulance services, and the management style of OSF Administrator Keith Steffen and his use of fear with employees), I am unaware of any of their conclusions. One one occasion I spoke with Dr. McShane in his office about Mr. Steffen's management style and asked him to present it to the Ethics Committee. He said that he would not because Mr. Steffen sat on the Ethics Committee. Dr. McShane referred me to Howard Wiles at OSF, the Compliance Officer.

3. Both Dr. McShane and Joe Piccione, along with Monsignor Steven Rohlfs, were very instrumental in ending the Haitian Hearts program at OSF. This does not seem to be consistent with Sujdak Mackiewicz's statements above about OSF following the Ethical and Religious Directives. In fact, Dr. McShane, Mr. Piccione, and Monsignor Rohlfs did the opposite.

4. I called Sujdak Mackiewicz's office yesterday, and left a voice mail. I want to make yet another formal consult to the ethics department at OSF for their abandonment of their Haitian patient, 13 year old Katina Antoine. I did not get a return phone call. (My e mails to OSF have been cut off for several years. Dr. McShane played a role in that via an e mail I received several years ago.)

5. So, according to Sujdak Mackiewicz, it looks like anyone can make ethics consults 24 hours per day to OSF unless it is about medical negligence of Haitian children, the OSF-AMT ambulance monopoly and conflict of interest, or fear used against employees by OSF's administrator.

6. I guess I need to give her time. She is new on the job and probably doesn't understand all of the people that will be working against her at OSF.

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