Mainstream Sadly Failed This Super-Important Story

We mentioned the story in a round-up yesterday but the details surrounding Kentucky Children’s Hospital stopping cardiothoracic surgeries because of a review is a bigger deal than the mainstream would have you believe.

Troubling details first hit WUKY on December 21. You can read all about it there, as the Herald-Leader merely published six sentences about the nightmare UK has on its hands.

Here’s the skinny: You already know there’s a hot mess involving Michael Karpf (here, here, here) and his time at UCLA. Not to mention the fiscal disaster he’s created at UK, of course. This particular doctor, Mark Plunkett, has UCLA ties and is on a mysterious leave of absence. Open records requests that contain no patient information, of course, have been denied. Board of Trustees members are not being informed of problems. Questions are being raised left and right about the need for this particular program at UK.

Sounds rough, right?

But back to coverage of the mess. The Herald-Leader published six sentences about it all on January 7 and didn’t bother to challenge Jay Blanton’s assertion that everything is puppies and rainbows:

Spokesman Jay Blanton would not provide any reasons for the review or specify why Dr. Mark Plunkett, UK’s chief of cardiothoracic surgery, is no longer performing surgeries.

Blanton said Plunkett was performing other medical duties at UK HealthCare. Plunkett is paid $700,000 a year, according to UK records.

That kid glove approach is not surprising when it comes to the mainstream in Kentucky and its relationship with UK and UofL. But it is sorely disappointing at a time when serious investigative reporting would be ideal.

There’s a lot of talk about this situation at UK with more than a little speculation that at least one parent has filed/is filing suit. Possibly over a death related to substandard care. UK wouldn’t take action like this if it weren’t major.

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