Nebraska children's hospital CEO named in more than a dozen lawsuits

The CEO of Omaha, Neb.-based Children's Hospital & Medical Center was named in more than a dozen lawsuits related to his time at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, according to an article from the The World-Herald posted on Live Well Nebraska.

Richard Azizkhan, MD, was chief of surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center before taking on the CEO role at Children's in Nebraska. For part of the time Dr. Azizkhan was at the Cincinnati hospital, he and an employed spine surgeon were cited in lawsuits filed by more than 500 patients at Cincinnati Children's and other area hospitals. The lawsuits, filed in 2018, accuse the spine surgeon of performing unnecessary and sometimes botched surgeries.

In January 2019, two surgeons sued Omaha Children's and Dr. Azizkhan, accusing the parties of suspending the surgeons' privileges after they raised concerns about another surgeon.

While the cases in Omaha and Cincinnati are not tied, they both raise questions about surgeon competence, patient safety and management oversight, according to The World-Herald.

In a statement to The World-Herald, Omaha Children's officials said the hospital doesn't comment on litigation. In an internal hospital memo obtained by The World-Herald, Dr. Azizkhan said hospital administrators are usually involved in litigation "[t]o exert pressure to settle or to increase a plaintiff's opportunity for a monetary settlement — and that can lead to sensational headlines," he told staff. "While it would be inappropriate for me to speak to specifics of that ongoing litigation, I can say this: patient safety has always been and remains my highest priority."

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