Champion figure skater and orthopedic surgeon Debi Thomas has withdrawn her support of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, a public hospital founded in the wake of the 1965 Watts Riots to serve the poorest areas of Los Angeles County. Thomas claims that in the midst of its $12.5 million renovation, administrators closed all but two operating rooms and cut the number of overnight anesthesiologists. Allegedly, many patients--some with open wounds--had to wait days for surgery. In response to the operation room closings, King/Drew medical director Dr. Roger Peeks stated, "[i]t's the necessary pain that you have to go through to get to the ultimate goal of having the state-of-the-art operating rooms so we can deliver quality care to everybody."
Thomas' complaints couldn't come at a worse time for King/Drew. She voiced her concerns at a physician meeting with federal regulators--the same regulators who, next month, will conduct a complete review of the hospital. If CMS identifies problems at King/Drew, the hospital stands to lose half its budget.
- read this Los Angeles Times article for more
PLUS: This isn't exactly the first time there have been quality issues at King/Drew. In 2004 the Times ran a five-part series about the hospital's long and troubled history. Article