Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why was Pam Adams Silenced?

Why did Pam Adams publish nothing during the next 16 years about Dr. Hevesy being on Advanced Medical Transport's (AMT) salary? Or about AMT's Medicare fraud conviction?

Why did Pam Adams publish nothing on Haitian Hearts kids being allowed to die due to OSF's negligence?

I don't think her Journal Editors would allow her to write about these stories.

Her articles would be too bad for Peoria and for the Journal.

Here is an article that Pam wrote in 1992 regarding the newly formed Advanced Medical Transport.

Below the article are my comments.

Journal Star (Peoria, IL)
November 8, 1992



Rona Ramage thought she was taken for more than an ambulance ride when the $440 bill arrived.

"I thought it was a mistake," she says. "They didn't do anything but get me out of bed and take me across town."

The $400 was the base rate, the $40 was a $5-a-mile-charge.

Ramage's injuries were no more than a muscle spasm, but her husband didn't know that when he dialed 911 for an ambulance last June. She had gone to bed with a stiff neck, only to awaken unable to move without excruciating pain.

Though the pain was gone in a few days, it came back a few weeks later when her insurer asked for an itemized bill because the ambulance charge was so high.
Angry at the cost, Ramage started asking questions. And she got a stiff-necked lesson in what it means for a city to have almost state-of-the-art ambulance service -- Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois.

AMT, the only ambulance service in the city of Peoria and parts of the rest of the county, is a not-for-profit corporation owned by Saint Francis and Methodist medical centers and Proctor Hospital. (Although officials say their eventual goal is to convert it to a for-profit private company.)

The good news is, until AMT was started in 1991, Peoria had never had such a high level of ambulance service. "The city has not been this well covered, ever. It's one of those things nobody knows," says Dr. Jim Thomas, emergency services director at Methodist and associate medical director for the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Service System.

AMT has 14 paramedic ambulances to cover Peoria, Bartonville, Dunlap and Limestone Township. Each ambulance is staffed with a paramedic and an emergency medical technician.

In years past, there were only two paramedic ambulances to cover the area.

The bad news is, citizens pay high-level prices for care that involves highly trained paramedics operating out of ambulances that are basically mobile emergency rooms, or Advanced Life Support systems.

The base rate increased from $300 to $400, which does not include mileage or charges for any medical services provided by paramedics. The other bad news is that AMT's aggressive tactics created tensions with some other Emergency Medical Service providers -- fire department rescue squads, volunteer fire departments, ambulance companies -- most of whom operate with Basic Life Support systems, staffed with emergency medical technicians. Those emergency technicians only provide the basics until a paramedic arrives or the patients gets to the hospital.

"There's the general feeling that when something is more expensive, it's a bad thing. The other issue gets to be, in some ways the ambulances appear to encroach on what may have been viewed as the work of government units, like a fire department," says Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons, himself a member of the volunteer fire department in Hanna City.

"I hate to say it's competing for victims, but it is."

Dr. George Hevesy of St. Francis is project medical director of the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services System, a state-mandated entity made up of public and private agencies responsible for pre-hospital care in a 16- county region.

Because St. Francis is the resource hospital for the system, Hevesy acts as sort of an emergency czar, with ultimate responsibility and supervision of the medical aspects of ambulance companies, fire departments, rescue squads and their paramedics or emergency medical technicians.

"I do not -- nor will I -- allow competition for victims," Hevesy says. "The patient loses because the focus is not patient care, but politics."

Hevesy, along with associate medical directors of the area's emergency services system who are based at Methodist and Proctor, were strong proponents of an Advanced Life Support system with fast response and flexible deployment. Good or cheap Ramage questioned the care she got, but what she really wanted to know was how AMT could get away with charging so much.

Hevesy's answer is that area residents either can have a good, fast system or a cheap system.

Basically, Ramage paid Advanced Life Support prices when all she needed was basic care. But people don't always know that when they dial 911 -- which automatically means that they will receive advanced care.

Ramage got a clue to the complexities when she called the American Ambulance Association and the Illinois Department of Health, which regulates emergency medical service systems.

She also called other area ambulance companies to compare prices. That's when she learned, "There's a great deal of animosity out there about AMT." Using the information she gathered, Ramage railed at AMT until it reduced her bill to $175, Blue Cross/Blue Shield's usual and customary fee.

Andrew Rand, director of AMT, says the care Ramage received did not deviate from accepted standards and that the reduced bill was a last resort to resolve a problem with a persistent, irate customer.

"The American public will always expect ambulance service at taxicab rates. Those aren't taxicabs," he says, gesturing toward the fleet of ambulances beyond his office walls.

Quick response sought Rand, 31, is a paramedic with a degree in finance. The three hospitals hired him to shepherd a fragmented, slow- responding, money-losing system into an efficient, life-saving, financially black fleet with at least one paramedic on each ambulance. They also wanted a system capable of responding to 90 percent of the life-threatening emergency calls within 10 minutes -- 12 in outlying areas.

AMT was created in September 1991 by merging each hospital's paramedics unit with their Mobile Medics Ambulance, itself the result of the hospitals' earlier attempts to improve ambulance services.

Along with adding paramedic rigs, the way of keeping them at hospitals changed. System Status Management strategically placed ambulances throughout the coverage area to match supply with demand. Locations are determined by use.

In reorganizing, Rand also increased the ratio of scheduled calls, for instance non- emergency transportation between hospitals and nursing homes, to 40 percent. It had previously been about 15 percent, he says.

The base rate for scheduled, non-emergency transportation, is $200. Though most scheduled transportation is paid by Medicare or Public Aid, emergency transportation for Public Aid recipients drains AMT's revenues, Rand says.

Another reason costs were lower in the past is that the hospitals were absorbing the ambulance company's losses, Dr. Thomas says.

Reimbursements from Medicare and Public Aid are $84 and $70, respectively. About 50 percent of AMT's payment sources are from Medicare and Medicaid; 32 percent from individuals; and 16 percent from private insurers.

"As we expand, we can cut costs," he says. "That's just based on economy of scale. " Broad changes AMT bought out B&B Ambulance, a privately owned company in Limestone Township, in September. In a little more than a year, AMT has been the catalyst for broad changes in emergency services. Even its critics agree that ambulance service is better.

But change is difficult, Rand says.

AMT's employees, including paramedics and EMTs, had to accept a new role "as care givers, not just lights-and- sirens response," he says. "That was very, very difficult."

Other emergency service providers, seeing AMT's growth and prestige, may have felt like they were targets, he says. "That was not our aim."

And AMT needs to improve its marketing, when it comes to explaining fees to the public, he says.

Eventually, says Thomas of Methodist, the goal is for AMT to phase out its dependence on the hospitals until it is a private company.

My comments today, February 19, 2009:

1. Wow.

2. I don't know where to begin.

3. Pam Adams described Dr. Hevesy in his role as Project Medical Director for the Peoria area as an "emergency czar". I think many EMS agencies in the area would agree with that description.

Dr. Hevesy's comments above were very definitive regarding the fact that under his watch he was not going to allow competition between EMS agencies for patients. (The fact that he was paid by AMT may have helped him implement his policy regarding no competition.) The Peoria Fire Department (PFD) has said multiple times that Dr. Hevesy created obstructions when the PFD wanted to upgrade their services for the people of Peoria.

4. OSF and the Peoria Area EMS (PAEMSS) should have never allowed Dr. Hevesy to receive a salary from AMT. As Director of all ambulance agencies in the area, none of which paid him except AMT, he should have never accepted a salary because of the appearance of negative conflict of interest.

5. One of AMT's employees would turn in AMT to the Feds several years after this article was written. AMT was upcoding and charging the patient and taxpayer too much.

6. Why did the three hospitals in Peoria allow Andrew Rand to resume his job at AMT after AMT was found guilty of Medicare fraud?

7. Dr. Hevesy stated above that Peoria can have a "good, fast system or a cheap system" was not true. The Matrix study performed 10 years later in Peoria revealed that the PFD was responding faster to life threatening 911 calls than was AMT.

8. Too bad Pam Adams was silenced regarding EMS after this article in 1992.

Looking Back...One can only say so much

My comments from today follow the article.

Haitian Hearts Still Beats Strong

February 6, 2002


Haitian Hearts still beats strong -- Despite losing his job, Dr. Carroll still helps sick children get treatment

PEORIA - After four weeks in Haiti, Dr. John Carroll arrived back in Peoria on Tuesday night accompanied by six children and an adult, all needing medical care.

''All will be big-time challenges to Peoria's medical community,'' Carroll said. ''They are all surgical cases. These kids will get the care they need; I know they will.''

About 50 friends and supporters met Carroll and the Haitians at Greater Peoria Regional Airport. The Haitians will stay with host families while undergoing medical treatment.

Carroll, 48, of Peoria, is a founder of Haitian Hearts, a charity that brings children with life-threatening illnesses to Peoria and elsewhere in the United States for treatment they otherwise could not receive. He has won awards and visibility for his work with the Haitians.

A week before Christmas, however, Carroll was fired from his job of 21 years as a physician in the emergency department of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. He said the dispute began over his push for more beds in the department.

St. Francis officials will not comment on the firing but have said the hospital's support for the Haitian Hearts program will continue.

Despite his firing, Carroll retains medical privileges at St. Francis, and he said Tuesday he will focus, for now, on overseeing care for the Haitians.

''My goal is to keep the kids healthy, improve them, get them back to Haiti,'' he said.

Carroll's mother, Mary, was among the group at the airport. She said several potential employers have attempted to contact her son recently.

Carroll said Tuesday he is still working on treatment plans for the Haitians. ''I would like to give Children's Hospital (of Illinois at St. Francis) the privilege of taking care of Haitian children.''

All the Haitians he brought back have either rheumatic heart disease or congenital heart problems.

He first met the 28-year-old, Yvel, three years ago. Yvel had rheumatic fever as a child and likely will need two heart valves replaced, Carroll said. ''He was hard to turn down after three years.''

Dr. Stephen Bash and his wife, Patty, were among the group meeting Carroll. Bash, a pediatric cardiologist, said he is scheduled to see three of the patients immediately.

''I'll find out tomorrow (what is wrong with them) and see if we can fix them,'' he said.

The newly arrived Haitians spoke no English and were weary and hungry after 12 hours of travel. Carroll said a nurse he knew from St. Francis happened to be on the same flight from Miami, and she helped with the children. They are Katina, 7, Cathia, 11, Stanley, 5, Jean, 5, Maxime, 16, and Jocelyn, 11.

Debbie Fischer of Benson brought the four children in her household, ages 4 to 16, to meet the Haitian child she will host. She has hosted others in the past and as a nurse can handle children with special needs.

Helen Martin of Eureka and her daughter, Sally Achterberg, a board member of Children's Hospital, brought homemade comforters and bags filled with small items for the newly arriving Haitians.

Martin said her church, Roanoke Apostolic Christian Church, funded the bags and made the comforters through its World Relief program.

Achterberg said she is serving on the Haitian Hearts Auction committee, an event scheduled for April 12. She hopes the auction this year will raise $100,000 for the program. It raised $60,000 last year.

''People are very generous,'' she said.

CAPTION: Clinging to Dr. John Carroll, Katina, a 7-year-old Haitian girl, appears timid after arriving Tuesday night at Greater Peoria Regional Airport. Katina is among seven Haitians--six childre--who were flown to the United States through the Haitian Hearts program to undergo heart surgery.


My comments from today, February 19, 2009:

1. Maxime Petion, who was part of this group I brought to Peoria, was operated in Peoria in 2002. I took Maxime back to Haiti after he recovered from his surgery.

In 2006 while I was in Haiti, Maxime became sick again. He needed heart surgery. OSF refused him care along with all Haitian Hearts patients. He died at another medical center in the States in 2007 and is buried overlooking the Illinois River.

2. Katina, who is also referred to in this article, was operated at OSF also in Peoria. As documented on this blog in multiple posts, Katina is fighting for her life in Haiti now. She needs heart surgery again and, so far, I can't find a medical center for her. OSF is refusing her care too.

(Photograph of Maxime at the American Consulate in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This picture was taken one month before he died in 2007.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Looking Back....

My comments today follow the article.

Journal Star
January 9, 2002


Fired doctor: Dispute began over suggested ER upgrades -- OSF official declines comment on issue

PEORIA - Dr. John Carroll was fired from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in a dispute that began over more patient beds for the emergency department where he worked, he said Tuesday.

Carroll, an award-winning physician and founder of the Haitian Hearts program that brings sick children from Haiti to St. Francis for treatment, said he has no regrets about pushing for improved service for emergency patients.

''Would I do it again? Yes,'' he said.

Carroll said his job problems began with a letter he wrote about bed capacity in the emergency room, a letter which caused the hospital to discipline him in a ''punitive'' manner.

''The letter precipitated the incident and the discipline I disagreed with,'' he said.

The discipline involved placing him on ''probation'' for six months, Carroll said. The letter of dismissal that St. Francis sent to him mentioned ''disobedience,'' he said.

The 48-year-old Peoria native worked at the hospital for 21 years. St. Francis has been his only employer.

Hospital spokesman Chris Lofgren would not discuss the matter. ''It's an employee issue. We won't talk about it,'' he said.

Lofgren then added that Carroll ''was not fired because of ER issues. That's the only thing I will say at this point.''

Carroll said he was not offered another position at the hospital as the situation between him and his employer deteriorated. Both sides ''dug in their heels,'' he said.

Carroll acknowledged that the letter he sent to his colleagues and hospital officials circumvented the usual chain of command at the hospital. He knew he was taking a risk when he sent that letter, he said, adding, ''I wrote the letter with some trepidation.''

Carroll's firing, a week before Christmas, stunned his friends and supporters.
''He was by far the most compassionate doctor we had there,'' said a co-worker who didn't want to be identified. ''John has high standards of care and expects that care to be delivered to patients.''

The person said ''we are afraid to talk,'' for fear of being fired. ''We are in complete, absolute fear.''

''All he wanted to do is improve the ER procedures,'' a colleague said. ''He was frustrated. Others are also.''

People who have worked with Carroll confirmed Carroll's concerns about the emergency department. It was built to serve 35,000 patients a year but now is serving more than 60,000 annually. Some wait for hours, co-workers said.

Lofgren confirmed the usage figures, and said the hospital is planning to spend more than $2 million to alleviate the crowded conditions. The plans have been in the works ''for some time,'' he said.

Carroll has talked about his personal situation reluctantly, but said the truth should be told. He still believes in the hospital's mission, he said, and also does not want to jeopardize the hospital's support for the Haitian Hearts program.

He is leaving for Haiti soon and plans to stay there for a month. He said he has no idea what he will do about his career when he returns. He still retains physician privileges at the hospital, and his medical work was not an issue in his dismissal, he said.

Carroll has consulted an attorney about his dismissal, he said, but is reluctant to sue the hospital, because he doesn't want to enrich himself at the hospital's expense.

''It's not about money,'' he said of his dispute with St. Francis.

My comments on this article today, February 18, 2009:

1. While I was writing the letter to Mr. Steffen and my colleagues in September, 2001, another OSF employee in the Emergency Department strongly warned me that I may be fired if I sent the letter.

I viewed the ER overcrowding as a "hospital problem" that needed to be solved with everyone involved. Plus, I did not believe that Drs. Hevesy and Miller were strong enough or politically inclined to try and solve the overcrowding issue on their own.

2. During my first meeting with Mr. Steffen in early October, 2001 he told me in his office that "whenever there is bleeding the bleeding must be stopped before it turns into a hemorrhage" and that a "cancer needs to be cut out before it metastasizes". (Not exact quotes but very close.) He was referring to me.

3. During that same meeting with him, I told Mr. Steffen that I was worried about "institutional neglect" regarding the overcrowded Emergency Room. He asked me what "institutional neglect" was.

4. Mr. Lofgren may not have wanted to comment in the Journal about my termination, but he was sure talking inappropriately with other OSF employees. And I WAS fired regarding ER issues. Mr. Lofgren was not being truthful to reporter Elaine Hopkins.

5. The patient and employee satisfaction in the OSF ER was the lowest in the medical center. Dr. Hevesy looked at me once and said look what I have inherited. He meant that the ER was very dysfunctional under Rick Miller's direction.

6. And as Elaine Hopkins documented, we were seeing tens of thousands of patients more each year than the ER was designed to see. Elective (insured) patients were filling inpatient beds, so ER patients like mine had to wait a long time to be admitted. And studies performed since 2001 have documented increased morbidity and mortality for ER patients that are boarded in the ER.

7. I invited Mr. Steffen to come to the ER and work with us. I really thought it would be a win-win situation if he would come and join us for an evening. I thought that ER personnel attitudes would improve if they saw him working on the overcrowding issue, and I also thought that patients and their families would take solace in talking with the OSF administrator regarding their long wait in the ER.

Mr. Steffen declined my offer.

Looking Back

Peoria Journal Star
January 5, 2002


John Carroll is the kind of a doctor all patients need

Knowing the dedication that Dr. John Carroll has shown the patients of St. Francis and the children of Haiti, his quiet dismissal was as loud as a bomb to many of his friends, volunteers and admirers.

Statements by hospital spokesman Chris Lofgren in the Journal Star were very confusing and left me wondering if this dismissal had really been done thoughtfully. How can Dr. Carroll ''still have hospital privileges to practice medicine at St. Francis'' and at the same time be told to ''leave the premises''?

I find it hard to believe that Haitian Hearts would be ''unaffected by John's departure.'' Dr. Carroll, the hospital administration and employees did not reveal the reason for dismissal. However, from statements in the Journal Star and knowing Dr. Carroll's dedication to his patients, I have to believe that the problem was due to differences with the administration over patient care and policy.

When a doctor employed by a hospital for 21 years hopes he doesn't get ''in trouble'' for carrying an infant to intensive care, there's something wrong. Also, Dr. Carroll being described as ''a perfectionist and a fighter for his patients'' may sound good to the public, but this attitude must have caused problems for the administration of St. Francis and proved to be detrimental to his career.

Dr. Carroll's friends, peers and co-workers have witnessed the dedication, self-sacrifice and care he has given his patients. The administration of St. Francis should have thought a lot longer before ever considering dismissal. He is a superb physician who will disagree vehemently with anyone or any organization that he believes does not give proper treatment to a patient. He is a doctor that all patients need in their corner when they enter an emergency room.

Terminating his employment at St. Francis will definitely not improve emergency room care and may make citizens of Peoria wonder why such an excellent doctor found it so difficult to fit into the mold dictated by his employer.

Dottie Canellas
Former St. Francis employee
Tucson, Ariz.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Looking Back...Haitian Hearts Skips a Beat

Peoria Journal Star
January 3, 2002

Phil Luciano

Haitian Hearts skips beat

Haitian Hearts still beats, but time will tell how long or how strong.

Its founder, Dr. John Carroll, was fired by OSF Saint Francis Medical Center last month. Since then, this newspaper has been deluged by calls and letters, most of them confused about the future of Haitian Hearts.

The official line from St. Francis: The hospital will keep donating its services.

But Dr. Carroll says he has been told St. Francis will stop assisting Haitian Hearts as early as this year - a move that would greatly reduce the number of children the group saves.

''The last thing we'd like to see is the demise of Haitian Hearts,'' says Carroll, 48.

Before we get to the nittygritty, let me make a disclosure: I've known Carroll for years and have worked with him at medical missions in Haiti. I'd consider him a friend, though I see him at most maybe three times a year.

I don't aim to vindicate John Carroll. I honestly have no idea why he was canned from St. Francis after 21 years in the emergency room. Maybe he doesn't brush his teeth enough, or he wears bunny slippers. But he did nothing nefarious: His termination had something to do with professional differences between Carroll and hospital poo-bahs.

The hospital refuses to discuss personnel matters, and Carroll won't talk about his firing. He doesn't want to burn any bridges that remain between St. Francis and Haitian Hearts, which he started in 1995.

Years before, Carroll had begun making medical missions to Haiti, the poorest county in the Western Hemisphere, where medical care is almost nonexistent for 95 percent of the population. During his visits, Carroll would examine children with severe ailments, many of them heart-related, that are treatable in the United States but fatal in Haiti.

Carroll began to bring back one or two kids a year, beg his cardiac colleagues for help and lean on St. Francis for assistance. Carroll began spending six months a year at Haitian medical clinics, and he'd find more and more kids with bum tickers.

St. Francis donates bed space, nurses and other services; it won't reveal the worth of its donations, but Carroll estimates the figure at about $257,000 a year. Cardiac surgeons and other specialists donate their time. Carroll himself covers many extraneous costs, such as air fare.

But those donations don't cover everything. Haitian Hearts treats about 10 children a year, at an average of $25,000 per hospital stay. However, complications can prompt overruns; one lad needed some $750,00 worth of care before returning to Haiti.

So Carroll created Haitian Hearts to help raise money. It's part of St. Francis's Children's Hospital of Illinois. Over the past three years, Haitian Hearts has raised nearly $600,000, with about $275,000 pledged for this year.

So what's the problem?

Lately, this newspaper's letters-to-the-editor have railed against Carroll's dismissal. Some question whether Haitian Hearts can survive.

Chris Lofgren, spokesman for St. Francis, wants people to understand that the hospital hired Carroll as an ER doctor, not as administrator of Haitian Hearts. The group is independent of the hospital, he says.

Carroll's termination had nothing to do with Haitian Hearts, Lofgren says. Further, he says, the hospital will continue to support the program as it has in the past, regardless of Carroll's firing.

''John's leaving (St. Francis) really doesn't change Haitian Hearts at all,'' Lofgren.

Not so, says Carroll. Though he won't talk about the explicit reason behind his termination, he says St. Francis CEO Keith Steffen wanted him to somehow change his ways.

''Haitian Hearts was held over my head by Keith Steffen,'' Carroll says. ''The implication was, Haitian Hearts would survive if I survived (at St. Franics).''

Hospital spokesman Lofgren says Steffen never tied Carroll's job to the future of Haitian Hearts. Yet Carroll says that after he was fired, St. Francis sources told him Haitian Hearts funding would be discontinued - part of a hospitalwide cost-cutting measure to offset expected decreases in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.

If that were to happen, Haitian Hearts could continue, but at half-power or less. But that only takes into account dollars and cents.

Without his half-time job at St. Francis, Carroll cannot afford to spend half a year in Haiti. That means not only will he encounter fewer children, but he will have less time to wade through the quagmire of Haitian bureaucracy. Visas can take upwards of a year to procure, and that's only with a Haiti-savvy guy like Carroll greasing the wheels.

Plus, without a job, Carroll could have a harder time prompting donations. Potential contributors might be skittish about writing a check to Haitian Hearts when its lead physician isn't employed.

Carroll, along with the Haitian Hearts board of directors, plan to push forward - business as usual. Upwards of 10 Haitian kids are scheduled to come to St. Francis in the next couple of months, and Carroll says everything is in place for their treatment.

After that, who knows? But Carroll (who leaves this week for another monthlong clinic in Haiti) remains optimistic.

''If we can do only one children a year instead of 10, one is better than none,'' he says.

* Write Phil Luciano at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, or call 686-3155 or (800) 225-5757, Ext. 3155. E-mail him at

My comments today, February 18, 2009:

1. As Phil accurately wrote, the future of Haitian Hearts was up in the air in early January, 2002. I don't think he believed Chris Lofgren or Keith Steffen either. And Mr. Steffen did indicate to me that Haitian Hearts at OSF depended on me being employed at OSF. And even if Mr. Steffen didn't fire me in December, 2001, he was telling others that Haitian Hearts days were numbered.

2. I sure did not want to be fired from OSF. I loved the place. Taking care of patients and teaching UICOMP medical students and resident physicians was fun. Also, some residents from UICOMP and other students and medical students from other medical centers in the U.S. travelled with me to Haiti and worked in the Haitian clinics and hospitals. It was a great experience for them and for me.

Also, working with Haitian Hearts host families in the Peoria area was a superb experience. We went through many tough times together when Haitian children had setbacks with surgery...but we went through it together, and usually everything worked out fine. At times, the local host family would travel back to Haiti with the child after recovery from surgery and present them to their Haitian mother. There are no words to express this situation.

However, the more I talked with Mr. Steffen and Dr. Hevesy, I could see that OSF was headed down the wrong path regarding the Emergency Department, intimidation of OSF employees, conflict of interest, general "administrative malaise" (described by a Monsignor in the Diocese), and lack of respect for the Ethical and Religious Directives that guide Catholic health care. Dr. David Gorenz, who is President of District 150 School Board, and Sue Wozniak, CFO at OSF-SFMC, even entered a meeting I was having with Sister Canisia through a side door from Mr. Steffen's office. I had not invited them. Their main goal was to sabotage my only meeting with 87 year old Sister Cansisia.

All in all, I thought it was time to let OSF fire me if that is what they wanted. Phil Luciano of course did not know what was happening in Mr. Steffen's office. He had no idea of what Mr. Steffen was saying to me or how bizarre he was acting.

A Look Back...Letters of Support

These letters of support were printed in the Forum section of the Peoria Journal Star.

My comments follow.

Peoria Journal Star
December 29, 2001


Carroll's firing raises questions for St. Francis

It is very puzzling that the administrators at OSF St. Francis Medical Center would quietly fire the finest and most caring doctor in the emergency department. Was this done to intimidate other employees of the department so they would kowtow to administrators?

To me, the fact that Dr. John Carroll's dismissal was done quietly indicates guilt. I am not surprised that the administration did not want publicity for their action, given Dr. Carroll's sterling reputation in our community.

Dr. John Carroll wanted improvements made in the ER, but his suggestions were apparently rebuffed - probably because his ideas were superior to those of the administration. Dr. Carroll's dissatisfaction with the ER is certainly understandable given its recent rating of 25 out of a possible 100. Is this the kind of health care you want for you and your family?

The last time I was in the ER at St. Francis, I had to wait more than an hour before seeing medical personnel. During that time, I was left in a hall, and I felt like a spectacle for all to see. The two doctors I finally saw were not able to give a diagnosis. However, several days later, Dr. Carroll diagnosed my problem and proper medication was given.

By the way, who owns St. Francis? Why do the sisters allow situations such as this to occur? Do they ever observe procedures in the ER? Do the sisters attend meetings when important decisions are made? Do they know how the unfortunate situation created by uncaring administrators is affecting the reputation of their hospital? Why are they allowing the administrators to make important decisions that should not be made without the approval of the sisters? Did they approve the firing of Dr. Carroll?

Geraldine DuMars

Peoria Journal Star
January 1, 2002


St. Francis must keep supporting Haitian Hearts

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center has been very generous to Haitian Hearts. The sisters' mission needs to be preserved; Haitian Hearts is an excellent example of their love, compassion and devotion. They have supported Dr. John Carroll in his work for over six years. We want to thank the Sisters of St. Francis for their incredible generosity.

Dr. Carroll will not comment on his firing and he will not brag about his accomplishments. His patients from the emergency room and the host families of the Haitian patients are quick to tell everyone they know how he has selflessly devoted himself to their care. He has often met extended family members and others in emergency situations and made sure that we were taken care of. We are all stunned that he has been fired, because we have received such good personal care from Dr. Carroll and the other doctors in the emergency room.

The week before he was fired, he went to New Orleans and spoke to help raise money for Haitian Hearts and Children's Hospital. He knew he was going to be fired, but he went anyway. Nothing will stop him from helping those who need him. Those of us involved in Haitian Hearts hope and pray that his firing will not affect the future care of these very needy children.

There will be some financial difficulties, but we know that the sisters have been good to us in the past, and they will continue to be charitable and live up to their mission statement.

Dr. Carroll and his Haitian Hearts supporters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last three years for Children's Hospital, and we will continue to raise funds for this cause that we so deeply believe in.

Mary Kay Hersemann

Peoria Journal Star
January 3, 2002


Haitians Hearts can't continue without Carroll

The high integrity and the moral character of Dr. John Carroll has been an inspiration to all of us who have been associated with him in his work with Haitian Hearts and the emergency room at OSF hospital.

For over 20 years, he has always lived up to his oath as a humanitarian. The dismissal of Dr. Carroll from OSF, in such a degrading manner, is not due to any professional incompetence, but rather with the administration.

As lifelong supporters of OSF, we are bitterly disappointed in the reaction of the sisters by allowing the administration to dismiss Dr. Carroll. Just last month, Dr. Carroll was the recipient of the Catholic Diocese's Bishop's Award for Service. He also received the Governor's Award last year for his Haitian Hearts program. Through all his honors and work, Dr. Carroll has always put OSF and the Children's Hospital in the forefront.

Be not deceived; there is not a Haitian Hearts program without Dr. John Carroll. He is the founder, torchbearer and the keeper of this wonderful and compassionate program.

Rebecca, Fred and Jo Ann Schotthofer


My thoughts today, February 17, 2009:

I was very grateful for the written support of these people.

However, Haitian Hearts had a bad feeling that OSF was going to withdraw their support of the program now that they had me out of the way. OSF was trying to reassure the public in the Journal and they even wrote a letter to Children's Hospital supporters saying that Haitian Hearts would continue at OSF.

Sister Judith Ann, President of OSF, had told me numerous times that the Sisters would "never turn down a child".

However, Keith Steffen, Paul Kramer, and OSF ended all financial support for Haitian Hearts in July, 2002.

Our worst fears were realized.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Look Back and Lessons Learned

The "take home" lessons are listed below the article.

Peoria Journal Star
December 21, 2001


St. Francis quietly fires doctor -- Renowned Haitian Hearts founder will keep healing children

PEORIA - A prominent OSF Saint Francis Medical Center physician who founded the Haitian Hearts program has lost his job at the hospital.

Dr. John Carroll, whose program brings sick children from Haiti to Peoria for treatment, said he was fired from St. Francis on Tuesday. ''I was told to leave the premises,'' he said Thursday, adding the ''situation had evolved over a number of weeks.''

St. Francis spokesman Chris Lofgren said the hospital cannot comment on why Carroll lost his job as an emergency room physician.

''This was not done lightly,'' Lofgren said. ''it was done thoughtfully over a long period of time.''

Carroll said he was not sure of his long-term plans, but he is planning to leave for Haiti on Jan. 9 for a monthlong stay. He wants to bring back more children, he said. Without advanced medical care, these children will die, he said.

''The main thing to me is the future of Haitian Hearts,'' Carroll said. He would not discuss the reasons for his job loss, but said he regretted leaving.

Carroll, 48, worked in the hospital's emergency department and has been at the hospital for 21 years. A Peoria native, he did his residency there and never has worked anywhere else.

Carroll has won numerous awards and brought national publicity to St. Francis and its Children's Hospital for the Haitian Hearts program, and also raised money for the program.

He said he has raised $819,000 in donations and pledges for the Children's Hospital of Illinois at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in the past three years.
''We're the single-highest private donor to OSF Children's Hospital,'' he said.
Carroll still has hospital privileges to practice medicine at St. Francis, Lofgren said.

Asked about the Haitian Hearts program, Lofgren responded, ''as it stands right now, it's unaffected by John's departure.''

Carroll will have to discuss future treatment of the Haitian children with the staff and physicians who treat them, Lofgren added.

Heart surgeon Dr. Dale Geiss, who has worked with Carroll and donated his services for the Haitian children, termed Carroll ''an outstanding individual and superb physician.'' He said he was not familiar with the issues leading to Carroll's job loss.

Saying he hopes Carroll stays in Peoria, Geiss added, ''I've been assured that Haitian Hearts will continue to be supported by St. Francis if that is what Dr. Carroll wants.''

Other physicians also support the program, he said.

Dr. Greg Tudor, who worked with Carroll, said hospital employees were told not to comment on Carroll's departure. Carroll is ''a community icon and nothing short of that. I can't believe it,'' he said.

Karol Holmes of Tremont is caring for a 1-year-old Haitian baby who has been treated at St. Francis since May.

''Everybody in Haitian Hearts is devastated,'' she said. ''I can't begin to understand it.''

Carroll has given ''his whole life for this. The emergency room and Haitian Hearts is his whole life. His compassion is incredible. I've never known a man like him,'' she said.

She told of Carroll fighting to save the baby's life, and at one point, personally carrying the infant to the pediatric intensive care unit without prior approval, saying ''I hope I don't get in trouble for this.''

She and others described Carroll as a perfectionist and a fighter for his patients.
''He's pretty strong willed. That's not a bad thing. If I'm sick and dying, I want him on my side,'' Holmes said.

Holmes is planning to accompany Carroll to Haiti in January, where they will seek the mother's approval for the Holmes family to adopt the baby, who will need medical care for years.

In the months before that adoption can take place, she said, the family will be dependent on Haitian Hearts and St. Francis for medical care for the boy. Carroll's situation has her worried, she said. ''What am I going to do without Carroll?''

Geiss said that Carroll's use of expensive medical resources for the Haitian children is not an issue for St. Francis, whose officials have often expressed support for Haitian Hearts.

About 75 children from Haiti have been treated since 1995, Carroll said.

''A lot of families are involved,'' he said. ''I don't think it's done anywhere else in the U.S., and I don't think the generosity of hospitals anywhere in the U.S.'' can match the generosity at St. Francis.
My comments today, February 16, 2009:

1. This article was written a few days after I was fired from OSF in 2001. As documented in Peoria’s Medical Mafia, I was placed on probation at OSF on September 28, 2001. The day before I had written OSF administrator Keith Steffen warning him of the overcrowded and dangerous Emergency Department at OSF.

I was also aware of OSF Emergency Department Director Dr. George Hevesy’s financial conflict of interest with Advanced Medical Transport. I did not feel that Dr. Hevesy or Dr. Rick Miller, previous OSF-ER Director, would be able to do much of anything about overcrowding in the ER due to the fact that they both had excellent jobs in the ER and Mr. Steffen had too much on them for either of them to contest him on anything.

2. I was attempting to save Haitian Hearts at this point. I had been told by an insider that Mr. Steffen was going to withdraw all financial support from Haitian Hearts…I just didn’t know when he was going to do this. (OSF withdrew all financial support for Haitian Hearts in July, 2002...six months after I was fired.) Dr. Geiss was given the wrong information when he was quoted above saying that OSF would continue their support of Haitian Hearts. Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children's Hospital of Illinois (CHOI), told me in his office before I was fired, that Haitian Hearts was becoming "too much competition" for Children's (due to our very successful volunteer fundraising). Caterpillar Inc. was donating significant money to Haitian Hearts that went directly to CHOI. I think this really unnerved OSF because they wanted donated money to go to the Milestone Project, not to children from Haiti who needed heart surgery. (Also, $9,500 dollars from Caterpillar to Haitian Hearts in 2001, months before I was fired, turned up missing at Children's Hospital of Illinois...I wonder where it went...)

Even though I was fired, we were able to keep Haitian Hearts alive at many other medical centers in the United States.

3. In the months before he fired me, in his office, Mr. Steffen would smile and tell me, “When this comes out about you, John, it won’t be good.” When I asked him what he was talking about, he would just shake his head and smile. He spoke to other employees about me and to people outside of the hospital. They told me what he said.

Mr. Lofgren, hospital spokesman, also spoke inappropriately about my termination... he admitted to me that he did. (Much of what Mr. Steffen and Mr. Lofgren were saying came back to me and my family.)

How was I supposed to explain this bizarre behavior by OSF to Elaine Hopkins, the Journal Star reporter and, at the same time, try to protect Haitian Hearts from OSF's Administration?

I know that Mr. Steffen and some of his administrative staff are very dangerous people. They sure shouldn’t be in charge of OSF-SFMC. But OSF-Corporate and the OSF Sisters and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria know much of Mr. Steffen’s history and must just using him. And from a very good source, they will terminate him when the time is right.

4. As reported above, the Emergency Room staff of doctors and nurses were told by OSF ER directors not to comment on my firing. Everyone was being muzzled. Mr. Lofgren even sent out an e mail to the entire hospital saying that no one should comment. (I guess it was ok if he did.) The Executive Committee of physicians at OSF weren’t even consulted with my termination.

5. As stated in the article, I was grateful to OSF for their support of the Haitian kids. All physicians and the perfusionists on the open heart team donated all of their services. During 2002, the year after I was fired, and the year that OSF terminated Haitian Hearts, we donated $445,000 more dollars to OSF-Children's Hospital of Illinois.

6. So what have I learned from this experience with the OSF-Administrative team? I have learned alot. I have seen a few people cover for their colleagues when things get tough. I have also seen how people react when they are scared. People are afraid to take on OSF for so many reasons.

And most importantly I have seen how a small group of people at the top of OSF-SFMC destroyed the lives of many Haitian kids who deserved a chance. I have had the privilege of working with so many good people that took care of Haitian kids in their homes. I have seen their pain too as Haitian Hearts at OSF was destroyed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Look Back

Peoria Journal Star

August 14, 2003

Haitian Hearts will continue its program -- Patients will be treated in the U.S. and elsewhere

PEORIA - Haitian Hearts will continue to bring heart patients from Haiti for treatment at hospitals in the U.S. and perhaps elsewhere, its founder, Dr. John Carroll said Wednesday.

Carroll returned last week from Haiti where he arranged for two adult patients to be treated in the U.S. One is scheduled to receive a pacemaker at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, he said, and the other is to have heart valve surgery at a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital.

In July, OSF Healthcare System and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced they would no longer participate in the Haitian Hearts program.

Haitian Hearts has brought nearly 100 Haitians, mainly children, from Haiti to Peoria for medical treatment, mostly heart surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

On Tuesday, the last Haitian child in Peoria, a 10-year-old girl who has been in the U.S. since last year, received heart surgery at St. Francis, a follow-up to earlier surgery. Carroll said the surgery went well.

Doctors, nurses and others who have cared for this child and other Haitians have expressed regret that the program is ending in Peoria, Carroll said. Some have donated their time and materials, and even offered to care for Haitian children in their homes while they recovered, he said.

Carroll said he now is working with others interested in Haiti, including the Mercy and Sharing Foundation, founded by philanthropist Susan Scott Krabacher. The organization operates an orphanage and medical center in Haiti. Its Web site is

Carroll said he hopes that up to 20 children soon will be placed in hospitals in the U.S., Canada and Europe for surgery. He has identified 38 who need surgery. A 19-year-old died while on the waiting list, he said.

Since December, St. Francis has refused to approve any visas for medical care for Haitian Hearts patients.

St. Francis fired Carroll in December 2001 from his job of 21 years as an emergency room physician after a dispute with hospital managers.

Looking back from today, February 15, 2009:

1. Many Haitian Hearts patients in Haiti have died since this article was published. Two young men that were operated at OSF, but were denied care at OSF when they needed heart surgery again, have died too. Haitian Hearts has been able to get a few OSF Haitian Hearts patients operated in different medical centers, and all have done well, but they wouldn't have if it were up to OSF. All Haitian Hearts patients are still being refused at OSF.

2. Bishop Daniel Jenky and the The Catholic Diocese of Peoria had one 45 minute meeting with Haitian Hearts in February, 2003. There were no other Haitian Hearts meetings with Bishop Jenky. Ever. When my brother asked Bishop Jenky at this single meeting if I could go to Haiti and bring back five sick Haitian kids to OSF for heart surgery, he replied no.

Yet, two weeks later in his office with Patricia Gibson (Diocesan Chancellor and Canon Law Lawyer) present, Bishop Jenky told me that I needed to go to Confession to him in one year if I petitioned for a Catholic Tribunal Court against OSF. He was holding me responsible for any Haitian deaths that occurred in this time period. My education how the Diocese acted behind closed doors was "up close and personal". I left the Chancery in disbelief.

3. Since this article, Haitian Hearts has personally brought or consulted in approximately 150 Haitians who have come to the United States for surgery. Most have been children. Most have had heart surgery.

4. And my "dispute with hospital managers" noted above, included overcrowding in the OSF Emergency Department. No one who worked there at the time would have disputed this.

Since this article was written, OSF has admitted in the Journal Star that the OSF-ER was dramatically overburdened. Work on a new ER has started as part of the one-half billion dollar OSF Milestone Project and an Observation Unit for ER patients was started several years ago.

Haitian Mom and Kids

This Haitian mom brought her two kids to a pediatric clinic in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful family?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Letter to New Ethics Director at OSF

Dear Ms. Skujdak Mackiewicz,

I would like to present the following as a formal ethics consult to you as Ethics Director at OSF.

Katina Antoine is a 13 year old Haitian girl who suffers from valvular heart disease. I brought her to OSF in Peoria in 2002 as part of the Haitian Hearts program.

She underwent mitral valve surgery at OSF and recovered at my brother’s home in Peoria. She attended St. Thomas Church with my brother's family and St. Thomas School sends a yearly monetary gift to Katina which pays for her school in Haiti.

I have been following her in Haiti since I took her back in 2002.

I examined her in November, 2008 and obtained an echocardiogram. Her physical exam and echocardiogram revealed that Katina needs a new mitral valve. The repair done on her mitral valve at OSF in Peoria gave her a couple of years, but she now needs a prosthetic valve placed in the mitral position.

As you may know, complex technical heart surgery such as this is not done in Haiti.

Several years ago a letter from Douglass Marshall, OSF attorney, informed me that OSF would not operate on any patient referred by me to OSF. This included Haitian Hearts patients.

Two of OSF’s young Haitian Hearts patients, Jean-Baptiste and Maxime, have died very painful deaths in the last couple of years after being denied care at OSF.

I have tried to get Katina accepted into numerous other medical centers in the United States without success. Other medical centers seem quite concerned that OSF is not following up with their Haitian patients.

I am afraid that Katina is running short on time.

The Catholic Post recently quoted you regarding your belief and reliance on the Ethical and Religious Directives regarding Catholic health care in the United States. I would hope that you and the Ethics Committee would review these Directives with Attorney Marshall and OSF’s Administration so their policy denying OSF’s Haitian Hearts patients care would be changed immediately.

OSF's leaders in Corporate and at the Medical Center need to come together to give Katina the concern and the care she deserves in Peoria.

Since 1995, Haitian Hearts has donated over 1.1 million dollars to Children’s Hospital of Illinois. We are able to pay up to $10,000 dollars for Katina’s care at OSF.

I have sent you this letter via “snail mail” since my OSF e mails have been blocked in the past. I did not think that you would receive my request any other way. (I did leave a voice mail on your phone the other day, but did not hear back from you.)

Also, I have published this letter on my web logs, and Also, these two sites will provide you with an adequate historical background regarding OSF’s negligent and unethical behavior regarding Haitian Hearts patients.

I will publish your response regarding this consult in a future post. As Katina’s physician and guardian in the United States, I will also share this post and your response with Katina’s parents in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Physicians are supposed to be “attorneys for the poor”. My hope is that you will be an “ethicist for the poor”. Katina and her family are indeed poor.

Haitian Hearts fervently wishes that you and the Ethics Department at OSF will have the courage to convince others at OSF that accepting Katina is the only good ethical decision that can be made.


John A. Carroll, M.D.
Peoria, Illinois

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.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Katina is Sick

Frandy is a 19 year old Haitian Hearts patient that helps us in Haiti.

He received a call from Katina's father yesterday.

Below is an internet chat with Frandy from yesterday February 9, 2009:

6:18 PM Dejean: are you there Maria?
i just have a quick news about Katina
6:19 PM please tell dr Carroll that she's not doing well, her father called me this morning to inform me about that
me: ok frandy. how is she not doing well?
6:20 PM we are looking hard for a hospital
Dejean: she's surffering because of her belly
6:21 PM me: her stomach hurts? is it big?
Dejean: the ball around her neck does not hurt her
6:22 PM yes her stomach, i don't know if it s big
me: frandy this is dr john is she short of breath...eske li soufle anle
6:23 PM Dejean: no
me: please tell the father we are searchig for a hospital
6:24 PM Dejean: her stomach and the place where she was operated on are hurting her
ok i will
me: ok, thanks frandy
Dejean: and i will email you more about that
me: dont let them give up hope
6:25 PM Dejean: no

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Pressing Forward with Katina

Another medical center will review Katina's case this coming week. They will decide to accept her or not accept her for heart surgery.

With all the money in Peoria, and all the medical expertise, and with all of the people in the area that want Katina to be able to return to OSF, it is so amazing that she is not allowed to come back to OSF.

A few people in key positions are blocking her from returning to Peoria and it may cost Katina her life. This position cost Jean-Baptiste and Maxime their lives.

It does not surprise me that only a few people are obstructing her care. What is bothersome is the silence of people that know better.

Friday, February 06, 2009

What More Can be Said? This is Haiti in 2009

I received this e mail yesterday from a Haitian friend of mine from Cite Soleil:

Dearest john,

forgive me firstly for my disturbing you I just wanted to make you this request about to make this request to someone of you in HAiti

to lend me what he has cause we all in the house are very hunger while I make you this e-mail I am very hungry but, it is only what I can do is to make this e-mail to you to attemp this chance to se if you would answer to me when consider how the situation is very much hard .
like sickness to take care of.
children to feed.
other problem to realize
and so I am completely empty.
hope you will do that for me by tomorrow cause our need is very much great.
I will go back home witout nothing all eyes are on me when I enter home to see if i have brought anyhting .

please I will do that by faith to check my e-mail tomorrow to find a positive answer from you .

please do that for me.
tahnk you

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Katina Rejected Again

I received another "Katina rejection" yesterday.

Medical centers are just not anxious to operate OSF-SFMC's patients from Haiti.

OSF-SFMC in Peoria needs to do the right thing. They need to accept Katina and give her state-of-the-art medical care.

But when OSF's heart is constructing a $400 million expansion of their medical center in Peoria, Katina's heart just doesn't count.

Many other children's hospitals around the country are aware of OSF's unethical and negligent behavior abandoning these kids.

How many more Haitian Hearts patients are going to suffer and die while the OSF Sisters and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria remain silent?