In the days after an NBC News investigation revealed problems with a major hospital’s handling of a suspected child abuse case, members of the hospital’s medical staff criticized senior administrators and demanded changes, according to several people who attended a series of internal staff meetings.
The article, published last week, detailed the case of Dr. John Cox, a former emergency room physician at Children’s Wisconsin, who was charged with abusing his 1-month-old daughter, based largely on medical reports from child abuse specialists at his own hospital. More than 15 other medical experts who treated the baby or later reviewed the case concluded that the hospital’s child abuse team made serious errors, but Child Protective Services took her anyway, NBC News reported.
The reporting sparked public backlash aimed at Children’s Wisconsin and state child welfare authorities — including from within the hospital.
Several physicians told administrators during a series of staff “listening sessions” held in response to the reporting that they had serious concerns about the work of the hospital’s child abuse specialists, and some asked for an external investigation of their practices, according to four Children’s Wisconsin doctors who attended the meetings and spoke to a reporter on the condition of anonymity.
Numerous physicians from across the hospital have spoken out at the meetings, attendees said, including cardiologists, neonatologists and infectious disease specialists.
At one internal meeting this week, some Children’s Wisconsin doctors told administrators from the Medical College of Wisconsin — which employs physicians who practice at the hospital — that without swift policy changes, they would hesitate to bring their own children to the hospital following accidental injuries, fearing that a medical mistake or overreaction could lead Child Protective Services to break their families apart.