The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest Report



Nurses seek reassignment

As April progressed, some of the operating-room nurses began to express reservations about continuing to work in the program. According to Dixon, McGilton approached her and asked her if nurses could refuse to scrub in for pediatric cardiac surgery procedures. "They were hoping, I think, that they wouldn't have had to be part of the whole operative procedure." (Evidence, page 12,511)

According to Dixon, McGilton asked to be removed from pediatric cardiac cases. Dixon testified that a second nurse, Helen Skomorowski, also asked to be removed from such cases. However, for resource reasons, removing those nurses from the care of these patients was not possible.

On May 9, Dixon had a formal meeting with Wiseman where she told him that morale was low and there were problems with cannulation. She testified that Wiseman told her he did not think that Odim was having any greater problems than Duncan had experienced. In addition, she testified that Wiseman suggested that the program was on a learning curve as it adapted to a new surgeon. Again it appears that those assessing were applying the concept of a learning curve, although in this instance it is uncertain if the concept was being used to justify poor surgical outcomes or the ongoing conflicts between individuals.

In testifying about this meeting, Wiseman said:

I perceived at that time that they were undergoing a kind of culture shock phenomenon, in the sense that they had for five years worked with one individual, and had a mindset of the way things were done. And you know, we tend to be creatures of habit, and when things are done differently, there is two ways we can approach them; we can sort of say, well, this is a different way of doing it and be a little I guess open minded about the advantages or disadvantage or value; or we can get to be old and crotchety like I am and not to be so flexible and think that my way is the best way. (Evidence, page 39,560)

From the evidence presented to this Inquest, it would appear that there was far more than culture shock involved. It would also appear, however, that the message that Bishop was receiving from Wiseman was simply that some members of the surgical team were having difficulty adapting to a new leader. That message failed to fully capture and report the depth of the problems facing the program.



Current Home - Table of Contents - Chapter 6 - Nurses seek reassignment
Next Odim's view
Previous Meetings in late April and early May
Section 1 Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Issues
  Chapter 2 - Pediatric Cardiac Issues
  Chapter 3 - The Diagnosis of Pediatric Heart Defects and their Surgical Treatment
  Chapter 4 - The Health Sciences Centre
Section 2 Chapter 5 - Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Winnipeg 1950-1993
  Chapter 6 - The Restart of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in 1994
January 1, 1994 to May 17, 1994
  Chapter 7 - The Slowdown
May 17 to September 1994
  Chapter 8 - Events Leading to the Suspension of the Program
September 7, 1994 to December 23, 1994
  Chapter 9 - 1995 - The Aftermath of the Shutdown
January to March, 1995
Section 3 Chapter 10 - Findings and Recommendations
Appendix 1 - Glossary of terms used in this report
Appendix 2 - Parties to the Proceedings and counsel
Appendix 3 - List of witnesses and dates of testimony
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