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Hospital Settles Suit Over Safety Data For Embattled Pediatric Program

Tue, 08/20/2013 - 10:27am
Elizabeth Cohen

The University of Kentucky has settled its case with the state over the release of safety data for its embattled pediatric heart surgery program, which was closed last year following patient deaths.

The dispute stems from a request last year by a local radio reporter for information about the program. The university declined to give that information, citing patient privacy laws, but then released it August 9 when a CNN investigation caused an uproar among parents of children with congenital heart disease.

"We are pleased that the litigation has been resolved," said university spokesman Jay Blanton. "The university was not put in the position of having to disclose patient and family information that would violate either peer review or privacy laws -- both of which are protected by federal laws."

The Kentucky attorney general got involved in December when the university declined to provide the safety data requested by Brenna Angel, then a radio reporter for WUKY. The attorney general asked the university to make the information public, but the university declined, and sued Angel in order to keep it private.

After the CNN report, the university revealed that the pediatric heart program had a higher mortality rate than the national average.

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