Baylor declines Baldrige quality award amid botched surgery allegations

Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano announced it will not accept the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award this April in the wake of accusations a hospital neurosurgeon botched multiple surgeries after drinking or doing drugs, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

The 160-bed facility is the first accepted honoree to ever decline the award, one of the country's most prestigious honors for innovation, leadership and high-quality performance, Gail Porter, director of public affairs for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which administers the awards program, told the JournalThe organization was looking into Baylor Plano's situation when the hospital made the choice to withdraw, according to the article. 

After touting its November nomination for months, the hospital made the deciision to withdraw after patients filed lawsuits against the hospital and Baylor Health Care System in January and February alleging that neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch, M.D., was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol when he conducted surgeries, killing and injuring patients, according to the article. One lawsuit claims Duntsch, who had a nine-month affiliation with Baylor Plano starting in July 2011, left one patient a quadriplegic after surgery, and another claims a patient bled to death following surgery. 

Baylor Plano and Baylor Health Care System have denied the "material allegations" in the lawsuits, according to the Journal, but the hospital system has not filed a response in court to the lawsuits. However, the hospital released the following statement after announcing its decision to withdraw from the award process:

"Right now, Baylor Plano is working to address allegations being made against it by plaintiffs' attorneys in lawsuits and in the media," the statement reads in part. "So at this time, out of respect for the Baldrige Award and to not give any misleading allegations an elevated public platform, Baylor Plano is announcing this decision."

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