Minister blasts 'childish' lab doctors

Barb Sweet & James McLeod
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Cites report depicting 'toxic environment' in labs

Health Minister Jerome Kennedy came out swinging Friday, painting Eastern Health laboratory pathologists as overpaid, squabbling children, whose actions are putting Newfoundlanders in danger.

Kennedy was responding to a report on the internal climate of the Eastern Health pathology labs, which paints a picture of a toxic environment, with infighting between pathologists and "childish" personality conflicts.

Health Minister Jerome Kennedy came out swinging Friday, painting Eastern Health laboratory pathologists as overpaid, squabbling children, whose actions are putting Newfoundlanders in danger.

Kennedy was responding to a report on the internal climate of the Eastern Health pathology labs, which paints a picture of a toxic environment, with infighting between pathologists and "childish" personality conflicts.

The issues have been brought to light as a result of testing errors relating to cyclosporine testing; mistakes calibrating a testing machine resulted in 212 patients having to be retested.

Dr. Nash Denic resigned Wednesday as clinical chief of laboratory medicine.

On Thursday, Dr. Ford Elms and Dr. Donald Cook resigned as pathology site chiefs.

But Kaminski said those roles were being phased out anyway.

Friday, one pathologist quit a quality committee and another, the sole specialist in breast pathology, has decided to limit his practice.

None of the doctors are actually leaving Eastern Health.

Kennedy painted the resignations from leadership positions as nothing more than symbolic theatrics.

"Would you resign a job that pays you $335,000 a year? Or would you engage in the symbolic resignation as site chief, knowing you would still get your $335,000? Perhaps that's a question that should be asked of these two sites chiefs," he said.

The bigger issue for Kennedy was a report by Dr. Greg Flynn, who in February was assessing the situation in the pathology lab based on earlier complaints.

"That report can be only described as scathing," Kennedy said. "(Flynn) referred to the toxic environment that exists in the pathology lab among the pathologist, the dysfunctional relationship between the leadership - being Dr. Denic - and pathologists, refers to words like hostility, questions the motives of people working in the lab and this is from people who are making $335,000 a year."

Flynn's report was sent to Eastern Health vice-president medical services Oscar Howell on Feb. 19.

That report only arrived at CEO Vickie Kaminski's desk three weeks later, on Thursday. Kennedy said he'd received a copy of it Friday around noon.

A spokeswoman for Eastern Health said the delay was due to the fact that Howell had been off on annual leave.

Through the tumult, the University Health Network of Toronto will fulfill lab leadership roles and fill other duties.

Friday afternoon, Kaminski addressed questions about Denic's resignation; the health authority has been accused of being misleading, in implying Denic resigned directly because of the cyclosporine errors.

She said she was taking the unprecedented step of talking about personnel matters and defended herself for not taking questions Thursday.

Kaminski confirmed Denic tendered his resignation initially in December over workflow issues he was unable to resolve in the lab, but said he was approached Wednesday about not telling the executive in a timely manner about errors surrounding monitoring of immune disorder and organ transplant patients' blood for the drug cyclosporine in the biochemistry lab. There were no occurrence reports filled out.

"We spoke to him about his responsibilities and we told him at that time that we would give him a choice," Kaminski said.

"He could, in fact, have us accept his resignation from December or he could voluntary step aside and it would be effective immediately.

He chose to let his resignation from December stand. We attempted to let him walk away with some dignity."

In an attempt to reassure the public, Kennedy said the government would spend as much money, and do whatever was necessary to fix the climate in the pathology lab.

He said he was worried that some doctors within the system have yet to learn the lessons of the Cameron Inquiry.

"It's now gone beyond simply problems with equipment, problems with training or confidence, there appears to be personnel problems within the lab," Kennedy said. "Unfortunately, here we are a year after Cameron, are we any further ahead? That's the question the public has to be asking."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Eastern Health laboratory

Geographic location: Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    There are 4 steps to this government's approach to a challenge:
    1) Deny that the problem exists (done)
    2) Blame someone else for the problem and deflect attention from themselves (done)
    3) Create an ''us vs them'' scenario and attack the supposed enemy
    4) When all else fails and the problem becomes politically threatening, address the problem.
    We are at stage 3 as evidenced by the comments of the party chimps spouting talking points in an obvious attempt to create and demonize an enemy.
    Why not just get on with fixing things? Other provinces have effective and efficient healthcare systems - why not NL?
    This government is great on playing politics, but their track record of moving this province ahead is poor. No amount of oil money will fix this mess. A solution will take skill, sincere effort and cooperation. This government had better step up - we have wasted enough lives playing political games.
    Stop the rhetoric and get on with the solution.

  • I C Clearly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Steve - you ask if we'd rather had a minister that sits on his hands and says nothing?
    Rather than what - a minister that sits on his hands and attacks staff for his own misgivings? Kennedy is ineffective and is causing more harm than good with his politically motivated rhetoric. Lot's of talk - but no movement to help eastern health - none.
    Dr. Denic offered his resignation in December due to workload. I'll assume that workload did not permit him to do everything that he was required to do to fulfill the duties of his position. By offering his resignation - he put Kaminski and Eastern Health on notice that he could not complete the work. Despite knowing that Denic could not do everything they expected of him, he was asked to stay on. Now, as a result of exactly what he offered to resign for, Eastern Health are putting his head on a pole and are trying to position this as positive action. From where I sit, when they refused his resignation, they absolved the Dr. of his responsibility for being unable to fulfill his duties. The tactic is simple deflection - Eastern Health and government were aware that there was a workload problem yet failed to address it. The result is solely their responsibility. Kennedy's words are not helping and will result in even more resignations. Instead of treating the symptoms, they need to get to the disease of insufficient resources and processes to adhere to policy. Villifying the staff does nothing to move towards this solution.

  • I C Clearly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Wow! I can't believe that those are the words of our health minister. What is this province coming to?
    The attempt to deflect blame by demonizing the health professionals is blatent and obvious. The same tactics were used by Kennedy against the nurses when negotiating over money. these specialists can work anywhere in the world that they want - in better systems with better support from the funding governments. Painting them all with the same brush is disgusting.
    Instead of the petty and political game playing that is going on, Minister Kennedy should be keeping his mouth shut and focusing on ways to fix a broken system. Laying blame, demonizing and alientating our health care professionals for the sake of political popularity may serve the PC party of NL's needs, but it does nothing to improve our health care system.
    I think that Minister Kennedy needs to rethink his position - and find a way to fix it, whatever the political cost.
    There is definately a health care crisis - and with leadership such as Jerome Kennedy's, it will only get worse.

  • Bone's Nephew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Nash resigned one of his positions, George Tilley resigned.....get the drift.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Thank god we finally have someone who is not afraid to speak up and say it like it is.

    Jerome Kennedy has the right to be shaken. We all have the right to be more than shaken.

    After a multi-million dollar inquiry and a multi-million dollar lawsuit, these people still don't seem to get the message.

    There is something that comes to my mind - total incompetence.

    These so-called health care professionals were not exactly getting paid minimum wage to be looking after our well being.

    The provincial government has made great strides in the last number of years in adjusting salaries especially for some of these specialized positions in an effort to retain and attract qualified people.

    The attitude of - Oh well please don't rock the boat we don't want to offend anyone - That is also back in the dark ages.

    The icing on the cake is that some of these individuals involved in this latest fiasco are the same people that were involved in the breast cancer debacle.

    The age of sweeping everything under the rug, denial and covering your own a** at whatever expense has got to stop.

    I would say that the individuals involved deserved to be fired. They should kiss the ground they are walking on that Eastern Health has decided to keep them employed.

    If they had to have been fired out right I would say it would make it very difficult to gain employment elsewhere in Canada.

    We deserve better !

    A big thank you to Mr. Jerome Kennedy, keep up the great work !

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Kaminski had been a lightning rod for criticism when she became CEO for the Sudbury Regional Hospital in the fall of 2000, after then president and CEO Joe de Mora resigned.

    Countless Sudburians blamed her for the slow progress of the one-site hospital project and her annual salary of more than $325,000

    Former Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman spoke out against her on the citizen's behalf due to poor performance.

    deja vous

  • S
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Let me see. . .screaming at oil companies worked. Screaming at Ottawa worked. Screaming at unions worked. br br br I guess screaming works. br br br br Let's wait and see what the costs are this time.

  • Bones II's Brother
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Head Hunter: Kaminski resigned to take the NL job. Please explain your claim. A cite wouldn't hurt either. br br http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/03/02/eastern-health.html br br br Is that article wrong? br br br Harvey Hicks: Wrong! Kaminski resigned, nobody showed her the door. If you believe otherwise, tell us who and for what reason. Cite not required, I could use a laugh, lol.

  • Bones II's Brother
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Graham: The same on-site hospital project that she was credited for keeping on the rails, on time, and on budget? The same project that saw a dinner held in Kaminski's honor, one she found rather overwhelming, I might add, to send her additional praise for the work on the one site project? Who are these countless Sudburians? Where are the news cites that contain their statements? All I can seem to find are pages and pages and pages of nothing but praise for this woman and her abilities to successfully lead. Who showed her the door and why did they do it? That project is practically complete - on time and on budget. It's short a couple of hundred parking spaces though, cha-ching.-- My Brother's Nephew: Yes, they did resign, but what they didn't do is resign specifically to move on to lucrative careers running other heath care systems or labs. Rest assured, nobody in Sudbury will have any trouble finding Kaminski, or getting information from her, if she needs to appear at an inquiry of some sort. She seems to remember very well. Get the drift?

  • Sarah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    When is an Independent Inquiry going to be done on the Health Care system so that we can all determine what is going on and fix it, upgrade it, make it more professional. Some of these doctors are arrogant and ignorant also with attitudes big time, maybe a few psycho (sick) while they carry a air about them above and beyond anyone, or so they think. So they are surgeons, and specialists, big deal. No excuse for ignorance and bad manners.

    Personally, I think the Health Care system needs to be turned inside out. Many doctors + other staff at fault during cancer scandal when Eastern Health were sued. These same staff are still there. Doctors were not sued solely for malpractice although many were involved in the cover up. They protect each others back through their defence fund and so they are not caught single handedly to be sued individually.

    I am neither big on Jerome Kennedy or the other Management. Their approach seems unprofessional to be discussing HR problems in public on tv. Should they not be calling an independent inquiry in a professional manner so that the public can find out the real truth about the health care system and in order to fix all of it, not part of it. I agree with one of the others, this is the tip of the iceberg after many many years of cuts to health care and the stress that went with that, even if doctors are still getting paid well to do their jobs.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I see some interesting feedback from a number of readers.

    What would many of you rather have, a minister who sits on his hands and says or does nothing ?

    We have already had many politicians who fall into that category. The day of simply being satisfied with the status quo should be no more.

    If it takes Mr. Kennedy to be a little over dramatic from time to time to get things moving in the right direction, I would take that any day over sitting down and doing nothing.

    As far as any of the current medical staff losing their positions here in Newfoundland and Labrador and simply moving elsewhere for work, I would say it would be slightly incompetent of any other health authority not doing their homework and doing a thorough background check on some of these people.

    I say dismiss whatever individuals were involved in this latest debacle.

    If it means short term pain for long gain than we should do it.

    If we don't take action, what was the point of the Cameron Inquiry in the first place?

    We deserve better !

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    To Mike from Corner Brook:

    I cannot answer your question regarding Dr. Flynn's report. It may be available, but considering the Williams government's lack of transparency, I doubt the public would be able to view it.

    However, regarding to your comment associating Dr. Danic with Darlene Neville its like comparing apples to turnips. By all accounts, Nelville created a ''toxic environment'', breached confidentiality and was more concerned about aesthetics than the job she was hired to do. I have to agree with the governemt as this one - she was justifiably fired.

  • Dr.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    After reading the comments posted by the public on a few news media forum boards, it appears to me that the public doesn't like Kaminski's & Kennedy's approach of demonizing the Docotors. So in True Williams form he waits to see how the public sees the issue.Then he wades in taking their side. Expect Danny to wade into this mess by first rapping Kennedy's & Kaminski's knuckles and glossing over the notion that the doctors are not the root cause and how we should all be working for the common good blah blah blah........let's wait & see how it pans out.

    Wipe the egg off your face Kennedy.......oh yeah & good luck negotiating the contract with teh doctors, I'm sure they appreciate your comments nimrod.

  • Head
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Hey Steve from Corner Brook, sorry to shake your confidence but any Doctor who is fired would get another job as soon as they wanted especially ones with the background of the ones mentioned in this area......with higher pay, more than likely a bigger city with more options and definitely better weather. For example The CEO of EH was essentially fired and he now has another job. Where do you think Kaminski came from, she was essentially run off from Sudbury.

    BE careful what you wish for, or else you'll be waiting weeks for a routine lab work up as we would have to rely on other already over worked jurisdicitions to perform the simplest test.

    You could always go to Florida for health care. It seems all the smar..I mean rich people already do.

  • Pythagoras
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    First of all, if you're going to disallow something done in government because of temper tantrum theatrics, while the Danny Williams ilk and the trainees like Kennedy are around, you'll find very little will get through. Get used to it. They're all very much like spoiled children. But let's get to the point. Let's clean up shop. The Cameron Inquiry did not lead to any discipline. Why, at least, did it not trigger some investigations into individual incompetence? If the appropriate poor performers had been disciplined as a result of the information that was revealed before the Cameron Inquiry, maybe some of these subsequent issues may not have happened!

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    The Doctors might not be able to walk off the job in protest, but they can quit and accept positions in other locations with a far more reasonable Human Resources Policy and workload for the same or higher renumeration. I would not be surprised to see a high number walk out if Jerry and Vicki are not removed this week. I would not work under such abusive people, nor would I expect very many others would either.

    We see the root cause is those two.

  • harvey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    not much of a punishment if those doctors are still employed there, looks like ms kaminskis actions are just for public appeasement. if there was real dereliction of duty, those doctors would indeed be fired. i can't wait to hear more on the story from the doctors perspective. i have been hearing their workload is excessive and they cannot humanly keep up, if this is true then management needs to acknowledge and remedy this. this kind of makes sense if you consider those doctors gave up their leading roles to allow for someone else to see how they can manage. nice move there by those pathologists. now its time for kaminski to show us how she is worth her pay, btw Head Hunter from NL is correct, ms kaminski was indeed run out of sudbury ontario. she was shown the door.

  • Kurt
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Steve from Corner Brook speak for yourself. I'm not shaken, no where in this article does it mention anyone being shaken. Although Kenendy is always shaking in anger. I wonder who you are getting this stuff from? Kennedy has serious temper issues and his attitude, denials and ineffectiveness are only matched by Kaminski's inability to have avoided Cameron II, now she's just finger-pointing and playing the blame game. Anyone but themselves. Kaminski failed miserably. But in good old-school management fashion they will support each other until the end, how stubborn and fool-hardy is that? That attitude does not make them right, it just makes them look like big babies throwing temper tantrums. Kennedy needs to hire an image consultant. Kaminski needs to do the honorable thing and step down. How can so many doctors with far more brains and who have spent far, far more time educating themselves be so wrong when these two wannabes are so right? They need to open their eyes and so do you before it's too late.

  • marie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    There are obviously issues in the lab at Eastern Health and they need to be dealt with in a firm manner. That being said I do not believe that individuals should be lambasted in the evening news. These pathologist are in short supply and what doctor in his right mind is going to want to come to NL to practice and be subject to the critism these physicans have faced? Minster Kennedy needs to make comments but he needs to do it in a more professional mannor. His comments do little to support the new leadership at Eastern Health. How can the organization move forward if you have to conduct business in the media and to deal with rants from the health minsters that I feel will deter highly skilled professionals from coming here and therefore have a negative impact on the health and well being of the people of our province. I suggest think first speak second.

  • Fed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    I would not call the actions of the doctors childish . The verbal attacks by their supervisors are what I find troubling. If Kennedy and Kamikaze think that their behaviour is condusive to a healthy work place and strong employee relations, no wonder we are seeing people jumping ship. If it were me, I would have had a few choice words for the pair of them as well, but I see those that left were far more professional then the misfit twins at the top that spout off in anger at their own failing grades by attempting to blame everyone but themselves. This government might have been a good thing at onetime, but now we see it has fallen to the same levels as all others. Time for a change in this province from Confederation Building on down. Our choices are slim, but I hope that someone steps up to the plate to take over the leadership role in all parties before it is too late. We are heading for self destruction at a breakneck pace, and we need someone to put the breaks on and bring these decisions back to the people.

  • Tanner
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    The Peter's Principle is finally affirmed! Thank God finally some of these managers at Eastern Health are being held to account. Forget about offering excuses for work performed inadequately, we're too complacent in our society and too accepting and too indoctrinated with the lazy blank cheque Christian notion that those among you who are without sin cast the first stone. That would give everyone a pass. Rubbish!!! As citizens, we should expect and deserve better from those who've earned accreditation in their profession to act to those demanding standards - otherwise we'd all be Drs. Random peer review and standardized testing should be conducted of all individuals entrusted with the management of those entrusted with our heath care, starting from the front line with family Drs to the lab and back again. Mistakes will certainly still be made and we all can accept that fact of life. However, we have a term for those situations they're called an accident which by definition is a specific, identifiable, unexpected, unusual and unintended external action which occurs in a particular time and place, without apparent or deliberate cause but with marked effects. By accepting less than this inconvenient truth, one would have to accept we elect to employ ignorant negligence lesser of the second evil wilful negligence .
    Suggested reading On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt.

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    OK OK settle down class! How about this for an idea. Let's give Tommy Osborne another crack at the job.

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Mary Chancey the CEO of Eastern Health dosent have balls as you so lovingly put it. Thats kind of obvious. Neither does Jerome Kennedy and he reall has no excuse. Blame and belittle everyone is the Williams way and now it is apparently also the Kennedy way. No wonder they are so popular. We all seem to love lies and coverups.

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    .........ask George Smitherman.........

    you have a Kool Aid stain on your lips.

  • jackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Kudos to the astute Nurse for picking it up, and she is not getting 330,000.00 for doing her job...time for people to pull up the socks and do their job they were hired and paid to do. br Patient Safety is the priority here.

  • Stop the Racket
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Who could possibly know more about being childish than Jerome Kennedy? After all he was trained by the biggest school yard bully there is the childish ego Danny Williams. Strange how everyone else is always wrong and Jerome is always right. He got that from Danny as well. The new theme song for The Williams Government is OH LORD ITS HARD TO BE HUMBLE WHEN YOUR PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. I CANT WAITE TO LOOK AT THE PAPER BECAUSE I GET MORE POPULAR EACH DAY. TO KNOW ME IS TO LOVE ME I MUST BE ONE HELL OF A MAN. OH LORD ITS HARD TO BE HUMBLE BUT WERE DOING THE BEST THAT WE CAN. Too bad mr perfect cant come clean with the truth here. Then again why would we expect them to start being open honest and transparent at this point. The vast majority of us apparently dont give a dam about openess honesty and transparency in government. Danny rules the rest are fools. At least in the minds of the cult followers.

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I have to agree with some of the other posters here. Following the Cameron report there were obivously changes that needed to be made in Eastern's labs.
    This direction would/should have been directed by the CEO. The buck stops at the CEO's office!!!!! If resignations are in order, guess which resignation should have been first?

  • Gilbert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    It appears to me that there is another
    side to this story. Politicians can and
    do make comments that are one sided
    they can do it and get away with it.
    People (employees) are limited in
    what they can say and sometimes are
    unnecessarily blamed for actions that
    are caused by the system.
    Lets wait and see we may end up the
    losers in our delicate health system

  • Surprised
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I cannot believe some of the first few comments on this issue. Here we have women who have died because of mistakes in these labs and a child is in serious condition in hospital with another lab mistake. When will you people wake up and look DIRECTLY at where the mistakes are coming from. Jerome Kennedy is doing the test, the lab is doing the test. The new head of Eastern Health just adopted this mess, she didn't create it. Time to shake up the whole mess and let heads roll, especially Doctors making $300,000 + a year who can't do their JOB RIGHT! Stop blaming everyone else for their mistakes I'd say. I am fed up with some of you blaming Danny everything!

  • ShamefulShamus
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    There is a double standard that people are missing. br There was a recent external review commitee into Whistleblower allegations lab services in Manitoba. Critics felt the committee was partian to the Winnipeg Health Authority and biased against the whsitleblower there. Nonthless their report explicity reveals that there was a 3.5 month delay between discovery of a critical error and it's being reported to the Manitoba Healh Unit, They concede that it was reported following an altercation between the pathologist who made the error and the Diagnsotic Services of Manitoba Chief Medical officer. The report says it can't conclude malice but found undue delays and and that the investigation and follow up were incomplete . br br Yet the CMO in Manitoba still has his job. br br Is this not a horrible double standard and whyb aren't the media picking up on this.

  • Drew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    So here we have a health minister with clear anger management issues. He shows it almost every time he gets in front of the camera or goes to the newspapers - the public picks up on this immediately and he discredits himself more and more each time he does it. We also have a CEO of EH who can't reel in her staff and effect positive changes she was hired to do - an overpaid lame duck. Then we have the doctors in this province who are fed up with being dumped on and are sending the signal they aren't going to take it much longer. If the temper prone politico and overpaid CEO (who btw wouldn't give up their high paying jobs either) don't smarten up, they'll soon find themselves left holding the bag. A bag with no doctors in it. These doctors can EASILY go elsewhere and make more money and live a better life with dignity and respect inside a better hospital organization with much less workload. The only thing toxic here are those two unprofessionals at the top who keep threatening their employees which eventually gets passed down to the public in terms of degraded healthcare, as everyone bails out of the sinking ship. That's very poor leadership. Each time I see the KK team on tv I feel embarassed for them. It's hard to watch two grown adults behave so badly and do such a poor job. Bravo docs, don't let them make you people scapegoats. I've given up on the healthcare system here (and now I know who's at fault) and will just go to south and follow the precedent our premier set if I ever need to get treatment. So I really don't care if the system here goes to he11 in a hand basket. Very, very poor leadership K & K. Please grow up.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    This is more a question than a comment. Can any of the readers direct me to where I can read Dr. Flynn's report or is it purely internal? br I am just not willing to accept Kennedy's interpretation, and I am also a little concerned that there is another department where the heads are accused of creating a toxic environment...I just want to see if Dr Danic is getting the Darlene Neville treatment.

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    After reading the two previous comments I felt compelled to jump in. The public had better get used to these kinds of events if they truly want to get to the bottom of the problems that exist in Eastern Health. I can honestly say that this is the first indication to me that the government is headed in the right direction, but, let me warn you, the deeper they dig the bigger the stink will be.
    If the public thinks that politics at the Confederation Building can sometimes be childish they obviously have never worked in health care!!
    There is still very much an old boys club mentality that runs deep in health care. There have long been a lot of little empires there that have been ego built and ego driven. These people use intimidation tactics and threats to keep their power and this has worked for them for a long time. You know you are headed in the right direction when they start beating their chests at you, don't stop now there are many more to root out.
    I say GOOD JOB!! Ms Kaminski, and Minister Kennedy. Finally we have a government and CEO with balls to stand up to these people.
    Don't let the stink stop you, if you want to get rid of any smell you have to find the source.
    Mary

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    There are 4 steps to this government's approach to a challenge:
    1) Deny that the problem exists (done)
    2) Blame someone else for the problem and deflect attention from themselves (done)
    3) Create an ''us vs them'' scenario and attack the supposed enemy
    4) When all else fails and the problem becomes politically threatening, address the problem.
    We are at stage 3 as evidenced by the comments of the party chimps spouting talking points in an obvious attempt to create and demonize an enemy.
    Why not just get on with fixing things? Other provinces have effective and efficient healthcare systems - why not NL?
    This government is great on playing politics, but their track record of moving this province ahead is poor. No amount of oil money will fix this mess. A solution will take skill, sincere effort and cooperation. This government had better step up - we have wasted enough lives playing political games.
    Stop the rhetoric and get on with the solution.

  • I C Clearly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Steve - you ask if we'd rather had a minister that sits on his hands and says nothing?
    Rather than what - a minister that sits on his hands and attacks staff for his own misgivings? Kennedy is ineffective and is causing more harm than good with his politically motivated rhetoric. Lot's of talk - but no movement to help eastern health - none.
    Dr. Denic offered his resignation in December due to workload. I'll assume that workload did not permit him to do everything that he was required to do to fulfill the duties of his position. By offering his resignation - he put Kaminski and Eastern Health on notice that he could not complete the work. Despite knowing that Denic could not do everything they expected of him, he was asked to stay on. Now, as a result of exactly what he offered to resign for, Eastern Health are putting his head on a pole and are trying to position this as positive action. From where I sit, when they refused his resignation, they absolved the Dr. of his responsibility for being unable to fulfill his duties. The tactic is simple deflection - Eastern Health and government were aware that there was a workload problem yet failed to address it. The result is solely their responsibility. Kennedy's words are not helping and will result in even more resignations. Instead of treating the symptoms, they need to get to the disease of insufficient resources and processes to adhere to policy. Villifying the staff does nothing to move towards this solution.

  • I C Clearly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Wow! I can't believe that those are the words of our health minister. What is this province coming to?
    The attempt to deflect blame by demonizing the health professionals is blatent and obvious. The same tactics were used by Kennedy against the nurses when negotiating over money. these specialists can work anywhere in the world that they want - in better systems with better support from the funding governments. Painting them all with the same brush is disgusting.
    Instead of the petty and political game playing that is going on, Minister Kennedy should be keeping his mouth shut and focusing on ways to fix a broken system. Laying blame, demonizing and alientating our health care professionals for the sake of political popularity may serve the PC party of NL's needs, but it does nothing to improve our health care system.
    I think that Minister Kennedy needs to rethink his position - and find a way to fix it, whatever the political cost.
    There is definately a health care crisis - and with leadership such as Jerome Kennedy's, it will only get worse.

  • Bone's Nephew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Nash resigned one of his positions, George Tilley resigned.....get the drift.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Thank god we finally have someone who is not afraid to speak up and say it like it is.

    Jerome Kennedy has the right to be shaken. We all have the right to be more than shaken.

    After a multi-million dollar inquiry and a multi-million dollar lawsuit, these people still don't seem to get the message.

    There is something that comes to my mind - total incompetence.

    These so-called health care professionals were not exactly getting paid minimum wage to be looking after our well being.

    The provincial government has made great strides in the last number of years in adjusting salaries especially for some of these specialized positions in an effort to retain and attract qualified people.

    The attitude of - Oh well please don't rock the boat we don't want to offend anyone - That is also back in the dark ages.

    The icing on the cake is that some of these individuals involved in this latest fiasco are the same people that were involved in the breast cancer debacle.

    The age of sweeping everything under the rug, denial and covering your own a** at whatever expense has got to stop.

    I would say that the individuals involved deserved to be fired. They should kiss the ground they are walking on that Eastern Health has decided to keep them employed.

    If they had to have been fired out right I would say it would make it very difficult to gain employment elsewhere in Canada.

    We deserve better !

    A big thank you to Mr. Jerome Kennedy, keep up the great work !

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Kaminski had been a lightning rod for criticism when she became CEO for the Sudbury Regional Hospital in the fall of 2000, after then president and CEO Joe de Mora resigned.

    Countless Sudburians blamed her for the slow progress of the one-site hospital project and her annual salary of more than $325,000

    Former Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman spoke out against her on the citizen's behalf due to poor performance.

    deja vous

  • S
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Let me see. . .screaming at oil companies worked. Screaming at Ottawa worked. Screaming at unions worked. br br br I guess screaming works. br br br br Let's wait and see what the costs are this time.

  • Bones II's Brother
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Head Hunter: Kaminski resigned to take the NL job. Please explain your claim. A cite wouldn't hurt either. br br http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/03/02/eastern-health.html br br br Is that article wrong? br br br Harvey Hicks: Wrong! Kaminski resigned, nobody showed her the door. If you believe otherwise, tell us who and for what reason. Cite not required, I could use a laugh, lol.

  • Bones II's Brother
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Graham: The same on-site hospital project that she was credited for keeping on the rails, on time, and on budget? The same project that saw a dinner held in Kaminski's honor, one she found rather overwhelming, I might add, to send her additional praise for the work on the one site project? Who are these countless Sudburians? Where are the news cites that contain their statements? All I can seem to find are pages and pages and pages of nothing but praise for this woman and her abilities to successfully lead. Who showed her the door and why did they do it? That project is practically complete - on time and on budget. It's short a couple of hundred parking spaces though, cha-ching.-- My Brother's Nephew: Yes, they did resign, but what they didn't do is resign specifically to move on to lucrative careers running other heath care systems or labs. Rest assured, nobody in Sudbury will have any trouble finding Kaminski, or getting information from her, if she needs to appear at an inquiry of some sort. She seems to remember very well. Get the drift?

  • Sarah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    When is an Independent Inquiry going to be done on the Health Care system so that we can all determine what is going on and fix it, upgrade it, make it more professional. Some of these doctors are arrogant and ignorant also with attitudes big time, maybe a few psycho (sick) while they carry a air about them above and beyond anyone, or so they think. So they are surgeons, and specialists, big deal. No excuse for ignorance and bad manners.

    Personally, I think the Health Care system needs to be turned inside out. Many doctors + other staff at fault during cancer scandal when Eastern Health were sued. These same staff are still there. Doctors were not sued solely for malpractice although many were involved in the cover up. They protect each others back through their defence fund and so they are not caught single handedly to be sued individually.

    I am neither big on Jerome Kennedy or the other Management. Their approach seems unprofessional to be discussing HR problems in public on tv. Should they not be calling an independent inquiry in a professional manner so that the public can find out the real truth about the health care system and in order to fix all of it, not part of it. I agree with one of the others, this is the tip of the iceberg after many many years of cuts to health care and the stress that went with that, even if doctors are still getting paid well to do their jobs.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I see some interesting feedback from a number of readers.

    What would many of you rather have, a minister who sits on his hands and says or does nothing ?

    We have already had many politicians who fall into that category. The day of simply being satisfied with the status quo should be no more.

    If it takes Mr. Kennedy to be a little over dramatic from time to time to get things moving in the right direction, I would take that any day over sitting down and doing nothing.

    As far as any of the current medical staff losing their positions here in Newfoundland and Labrador and simply moving elsewhere for work, I would say it would be slightly incompetent of any other health authority not doing their homework and doing a thorough background check on some of these people.

    I say dismiss whatever individuals were involved in this latest debacle.

    If it means short term pain for long gain than we should do it.

    If we don't take action, what was the point of the Cameron Inquiry in the first place?

    We deserve better !

  • Dr.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    After reading the comments posted by the public on a few news media forum boards, it appears to me that the public doesn't like Kaminski's & Kennedy's approach of demonizing the Docotors. So in True Williams form he waits to see how the public sees the issue.Then he wades in taking their side. Expect Danny to wade into this mess by first rapping Kennedy's & Kaminski's knuckles and glossing over the notion that the doctors are not the root cause and how we should all be working for the common good blah blah blah........let's wait & see how it pans out.

    Wipe the egg off your face Kennedy.......oh yeah & good luck negotiating the contract with teh doctors, I'm sure they appreciate your comments nimrod.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    To Mike from Corner Brook:

    I cannot answer your question regarding Dr. Flynn's report. It may be available, but considering the Williams government's lack of transparency, I doubt the public would be able to view it.

    However, regarding to your comment associating Dr. Danic with Darlene Neville its like comparing apples to turnips. By all accounts, Nelville created a ''toxic environment'', breached confidentiality and was more concerned about aesthetics than the job she was hired to do. I have to agree with the governemt as this one - she was justifiably fired.

  • Head
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Hey Steve from Corner Brook, sorry to shake your confidence but any Doctor who is fired would get another job as soon as they wanted especially ones with the background of the ones mentioned in this area......with higher pay, more than likely a bigger city with more options and definitely better weather. For example The CEO of EH was essentially fired and he now has another job. Where do you think Kaminski came from, she was essentially run off from Sudbury.

    BE careful what you wish for, or else you'll be waiting weeks for a routine lab work up as we would have to rely on other already over worked jurisdicitions to perform the simplest test.

    You could always go to Florida for health care. It seems all the smar..I mean rich people already do.

  • Pythagoras
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    First of all, if you're going to disallow something done in government because of temper tantrum theatrics, while the Danny Williams ilk and the trainees like Kennedy are around, you'll find very little will get through. Get used to it. They're all very much like spoiled children. But let's get to the point. Let's clean up shop. The Cameron Inquiry did not lead to any discipline. Why, at least, did it not trigger some investigations into individual incompetence? If the appropriate poor performers had been disciplined as a result of the information that was revealed before the Cameron Inquiry, maybe some of these subsequent issues may not have happened!

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    The Doctors might not be able to walk off the job in protest, but they can quit and accept positions in other locations with a far more reasonable Human Resources Policy and workload for the same or higher renumeration. I would not be surprised to see a high number walk out if Jerry and Vicki are not removed this week. I would not work under such abusive people, nor would I expect very many others would either.

    We see the root cause is those two.

  • harvey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    not much of a punishment if those doctors are still employed there, looks like ms kaminskis actions are just for public appeasement. if there was real dereliction of duty, those doctors would indeed be fired. i can't wait to hear more on the story from the doctors perspective. i have been hearing their workload is excessive and they cannot humanly keep up, if this is true then management needs to acknowledge and remedy this. this kind of makes sense if you consider those doctors gave up their leading roles to allow for someone else to see how they can manage. nice move there by those pathologists. now its time for kaminski to show us how she is worth her pay, btw Head Hunter from NL is correct, ms kaminski was indeed run out of sudbury ontario. she was shown the door.

  • Kurt
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Steve from Corner Brook speak for yourself. I'm not shaken, no where in this article does it mention anyone being shaken. Although Kenendy is always shaking in anger. I wonder who you are getting this stuff from? Kennedy has serious temper issues and his attitude, denials and ineffectiveness are only matched by Kaminski's inability to have avoided Cameron II, now she's just finger-pointing and playing the blame game. Anyone but themselves. Kaminski failed miserably. But in good old-school management fashion they will support each other until the end, how stubborn and fool-hardy is that? That attitude does not make them right, it just makes them look like big babies throwing temper tantrums. Kennedy needs to hire an image consultant. Kaminski needs to do the honorable thing and step down. How can so many doctors with far more brains and who have spent far, far more time educating themselves be so wrong when these two wannabes are so right? They need to open their eyes and so do you before it's too late.

  • marie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    There are obviously issues in the lab at Eastern Health and they need to be dealt with in a firm manner. That being said I do not believe that individuals should be lambasted in the evening news. These pathologist are in short supply and what doctor in his right mind is going to want to come to NL to practice and be subject to the critism these physicans have faced? Minster Kennedy needs to make comments but he needs to do it in a more professional mannor. His comments do little to support the new leadership at Eastern Health. How can the organization move forward if you have to conduct business in the media and to deal with rants from the health minsters that I feel will deter highly skilled professionals from coming here and therefore have a negative impact on the health and well being of the people of our province. I suggest think first speak second.

  • Fed
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    I would not call the actions of the doctors childish . The verbal attacks by their supervisors are what I find troubling. If Kennedy and Kamikaze think that their behaviour is condusive to a healthy work place and strong employee relations, no wonder we are seeing people jumping ship. If it were me, I would have had a few choice words for the pair of them as well, but I see those that left were far more professional then the misfit twins at the top that spout off in anger at their own failing grades by attempting to blame everyone but themselves. This government might have been a good thing at onetime, but now we see it has fallen to the same levels as all others. Time for a change in this province from Confederation Building on down. Our choices are slim, but I hope that someone steps up to the plate to take over the leadership role in all parties before it is too late. We are heading for self destruction at a breakneck pace, and we need someone to put the breaks on and bring these decisions back to the people.

  • Tanner
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    The Peter's Principle is finally affirmed! Thank God finally some of these managers at Eastern Health are being held to account. Forget about offering excuses for work performed inadequately, we're too complacent in our society and too accepting and too indoctrinated with the lazy blank cheque Christian notion that those among you who are without sin cast the first stone. That would give everyone a pass. Rubbish!!! As citizens, we should expect and deserve better from those who've earned accreditation in their profession to act to those demanding standards - otherwise we'd all be Drs. Random peer review and standardized testing should be conducted of all individuals entrusted with the management of those entrusted with our heath care, starting from the front line with family Drs to the lab and back again. Mistakes will certainly still be made and we all can accept that fact of life. However, we have a term for those situations they're called an accident which by definition is a specific, identifiable, unexpected, unusual and unintended external action which occurs in a particular time and place, without apparent or deliberate cause but with marked effects. By accepting less than this inconvenient truth, one would have to accept we elect to employ ignorant negligence lesser of the second evil wilful negligence .
    Suggested reading On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt.

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    OK OK settle down class! How about this for an idea. Let's give Tommy Osborne another crack at the job.

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Mary Chancey the CEO of Eastern Health dosent have balls as you so lovingly put it. Thats kind of obvious. Neither does Jerome Kennedy and he reall has no excuse. Blame and belittle everyone is the Williams way and now it is apparently also the Kennedy way. No wonder they are so popular. We all seem to love lies and coverups.

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    .........ask George Smitherman.........

    you have a Kool Aid stain on your lips.

  • jackie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Kudos to the astute Nurse for picking it up, and she is not getting 330,000.00 for doing her job...time for people to pull up the socks and do their job they were hired and paid to do. br Patient Safety is the priority here.

  • Stop the Racket
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Who could possibly know more about being childish than Jerome Kennedy? After all he was trained by the biggest school yard bully there is the childish ego Danny Williams. Strange how everyone else is always wrong and Jerome is always right. He got that from Danny as well. The new theme song for The Williams Government is OH LORD ITS HARD TO BE HUMBLE WHEN YOUR PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. I CANT WAITE TO LOOK AT THE PAPER BECAUSE I GET MORE POPULAR EACH DAY. TO KNOW ME IS TO LOVE ME I MUST BE ONE HELL OF A MAN. OH LORD ITS HARD TO BE HUMBLE BUT WERE DOING THE BEST THAT WE CAN. Too bad mr perfect cant come clean with the truth here. Then again why would we expect them to start being open honest and transparent at this point. The vast majority of us apparently dont give a dam about openess honesty and transparency in government. Danny rules the rest are fools. At least in the minds of the cult followers.

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I have to agree with some of the other posters here. Following the Cameron report there were obivously changes that needed to be made in Eastern's labs.
    This direction would/should have been directed by the CEO. The buck stops at the CEO's office!!!!! If resignations are in order, guess which resignation should have been first?

  • Gilbert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    It appears to me that there is another
    side to this story. Politicians can and
    do make comments that are one sided
    they can do it and get away with it.
    People (employees) are limited in
    what they can say and sometimes are
    unnecessarily blamed for actions that
    are caused by the system.
    Lets wait and see we may end up the
    losers in our delicate health system

  • Surprised
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I cannot believe some of the first few comments on this issue. Here we have women who have died because of mistakes in these labs and a child is in serious condition in hospital with another lab mistake. When will you people wake up and look DIRECTLY at where the mistakes are coming from. Jerome Kennedy is doing the test, the lab is doing the test. The new head of Eastern Health just adopted this mess, she didn't create it. Time to shake up the whole mess and let heads roll, especially Doctors making $300,000 + a year who can't do their JOB RIGHT! Stop blaming everyone else for their mistakes I'd say. I am fed up with some of you blaming Danny everything!

  • ShamefulShamus
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    There is a double standard that people are missing. br There was a recent external review commitee into Whistleblower allegations lab services in Manitoba. Critics felt the committee was partian to the Winnipeg Health Authority and biased against the whsitleblower there. Nonthless their report explicity reveals that there was a 3.5 month delay between discovery of a critical error and it's being reported to the Manitoba Healh Unit, They concede that it was reported following an altercation between the pathologist who made the error and the Diagnsotic Services of Manitoba Chief Medical officer. The report says it can't conclude malice but found undue delays and and that the investigation and follow up were incomplete . br br Yet the CMO in Manitoba still has his job. br br Is this not a horrible double standard and whyb aren't the media picking up on this.

  • Drew
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    So here we have a health minister with clear anger management issues. He shows it almost every time he gets in front of the camera or goes to the newspapers - the public picks up on this immediately and he discredits himself more and more each time he does it. We also have a CEO of EH who can't reel in her staff and effect positive changes she was hired to do - an overpaid lame duck. Then we have the doctors in this province who are fed up with being dumped on and are sending the signal they aren't going to take it much longer. If the temper prone politico and overpaid CEO (who btw wouldn't give up their high paying jobs either) don't smarten up, they'll soon find themselves left holding the bag. A bag with no doctors in it. These doctors can EASILY go elsewhere and make more money and live a better life with dignity and respect inside a better hospital organization with much less workload. The only thing toxic here are those two unprofessionals at the top who keep threatening their employees which eventually gets passed down to the public in terms of degraded healthcare, as everyone bails out of the sinking ship. That's very poor leadership. Each time I see the KK team on tv I feel embarassed for them. It's hard to watch two grown adults behave so badly and do such a poor job. Bravo docs, don't let them make you people scapegoats. I've given up on the healthcare system here (and now I know who's at fault) and will just go to south and follow the precedent our premier set if I ever need to get treatment. So I really don't care if the system here goes to he11 in a hand basket. Very, very poor leadership K & K. Please grow up.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    This is more a question than a comment. Can any of the readers direct me to where I can read Dr. Flynn's report or is it purely internal? br I am just not willing to accept Kennedy's interpretation, and I am also a little concerned that there is another department where the heads are accused of creating a toxic environment...I just want to see if Dr Danic is getting the Darlene Neville treatment.

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    After reading the two previous comments I felt compelled to jump in. The public had better get used to these kinds of events if they truly want to get to the bottom of the problems that exist in Eastern Health. I can honestly say that this is the first indication to me that the government is headed in the right direction, but, let me warn you, the deeper they dig the bigger the stink will be.
    If the public thinks that politics at the Confederation Building can sometimes be childish they obviously have never worked in health care!!
    There is still very much an old boys club mentality that runs deep in health care. There have long been a lot of little empires there that have been ego built and ego driven. These people use intimidation tactics and threats to keep their power and this has worked for them for a long time. You know you are headed in the right direction when they start beating their chests at you, don't stop now there are many more to root out.
    I say GOOD JOB!! Ms Kaminski, and Minister Kennedy. Finally we have a government and CEO with balls to stand up to these people.
    Don't let the stink stop you, if you want to get rid of any smell you have to find the source.
    Mary