Johns Hopkins All Children's rehires top surgeon to lead troubled heart program

A well-known cardiac surgeon will return to St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in February to help rebuild its troubled heart transplant program, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

James Quintessenza, MD, will serve as chief surgeon and co-director of All Children's Heart Institute effective Feb. 15.

Dr. Quintessenza served as chief of cardiac surgery at All Children's for 19 years. He was reportedly pushed out in 2016 after the hospital merged with Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine. Since then, Dr. Quintessenza has served as chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington.

All Children's suspended all pediatric heart surgeries in October 2018 after the Tampa Bay Times published an investigative report detailing care quality issues and concerns over high heart surgery death rates.

Dr. Quintessenza's return represents "the first step in a multiphase process of restarting the hospital's Heart Institute," All Children's said in a news release. "Over the coming year, the hospital will recruit additional doctors and staff, including for intensive care and pediatric, interventional and fetal cardiology."

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