Loretto Hospital CEO suspended amid vaccine controversy

The president and CEO of Loretto Hospital in Chicago will be suspended for two weeks without pay amid reports of improper COVID-19 vaccinations from the 122-bed safety-net facility, the Chicago Tribune reported March 29.

George Miller Jr.'s suspension will not begin until Loretto fills a vacancy left by COO and CFO Anosh Ahmed, MD, who has resigned, a hospital spokesperson told the newspaper late March 29.

News of the pending suspension comes after Mr. Miller acknowledged that he authorized the hospital March 10 to vaccinate 72 restaurant, housekeeping and other hotel support personnel at Trump Tower, where public records show Dr. Ahmed owns a condo. Block Club Chicago and NPR affiliate WBEZ have also reported that ineligible judges in Chicago's Cook County were offered doses by the hospital, and that the hospital offered COVID-19 vaccinations to ineligible people at a luxury watch and jewelry shop frequented by Dr. Ahmed in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Block Club Chicago also reported that the hospital administered shots to hundreds of members of a suburban church attended by Mr. Miller.

Most recently, Block Club Chicago reported that a physician had his family vaccinated in January in the Chicago suburbs with shots from Loretto's supply.

Loretto confirmed this, telling the Tribune, "a request by a hospital partner to vaccinate a terminally ill woman and nine other individuals, including [the ill woman's] family members, was made in late January and was approved by a former executive who is no longer employed at Loretto."

The hospital said Ali Ahmed, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Affinity Health, which oversees COVID-19 clinical trials at Loretto, requested to provide the vaccination off-site at a home, and 10 shots were provided to Dr. Ahmed on Jan. 29 and then administered.

"While information provided at the time deemed that these individuals were eligible per city vaccination guidelines, Loretto is no longer approving off-site visits that aren't either hosted by the hospital or community partners and organizations," a hospital spokesperson told the Tribune.

Dr. Ali Ahmed is not an employee of Loretto, and there is no known relation between him and Dr. Anosh Ahmed, Block Club Chicago reported. The hospital's board on March 24 accepted the resignation of Dr. Anosh Ahmed.

The city of Chicago is also withholding first COVID-19 doses from Loretto, which is on the city's West Side, and Dr. Anosh Ahmed and Mr. Miller have faced scrutiny amid the reports. 

Mr. Miller has apologized on social media, for "going my own way" and being "misguided by my own self-serving purposes," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Dr. Anosh Ahmed has said he resigned from his position because he was "becoming a distraction" to the work being performed by nurses, physicians and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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