The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest Report



The Wiseman Committee meeting of October 17

At the committee's October 17 meeting, considerable discussion was devoted to the issue of transferring the care of post-operative neonates from the NICU to the PICU. While the neonatologists had given their agreement in principle to the idea of all open cases going to the PICU, neonatal nurses were resistant to the idea. They believed that the move represented a lack of confidence in the care they provided.

Seshia informed the committee that several nurses in the unit had developed a post-operative care package, which was to become a guideline for managing such patients in the NICU. She indicated that there were negative feelings about the lack of input from the cardiac surgeon in that process (Exhibit 20, Document 278K).

In discussing the issue, Kesselman said he believed that two bedside nurses were required for these cases, one of whom ought to come from the NICU. It was pointed out that the PICU nurses had some anxieties about providing care to post-operative neonates.

Giddins reported that two high-risk surgical cases had been successfully carried out. The minutes show no reference to the death of Erica Bichel on October 4. Wiseman testified that he could not recall the case being discussed or reported. Odim testified that he could not recall any discussion by the committee about whether or not the team should be performing Norwoods. Odim did say he was aware that Wiseman did not approve of the Norwood procedure being conducted under any circumstances, a view that Wiseman confirmed in his testimony.

The next committee meeting was to be scheduled after a series of meetings between team members and various HSC staff, to deal with the issue of post-operative care. As a result, it did not meet again until December 7.

At some point in the autumn, Blanchard had informally sounded out a number of people about Odim's surgical skills. Hancock told him that Odim's skills were comparable to Duncan's. Dr. Peter Duke, an adult anaesthetist, told him that Odim was comparable to an average adult surgeon, while Hamilton assured him that Odim was fine.

During the autumn of 1994 Isobel Boyle, after discussions with the operating-room nurses, once more spoke with Wiseman and asked him to observe Odim in surgery. She testified that Wiseman indicated that he was not prepared to do so at that time.

Susan VanDeVelde-Coke, the vice-president in charge of both the Department of Surgery and the Department of Anaesthesia, had heard informally from Boyle in the autumn that the nurses were having concerns about the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program, as were the anaesthetists. She testified that she had heard that there were concerns about Odim's surgical technique. According to her, Blanchard had passed on Hancock's positive assessment of Odim. In her testimony, VanDeVelde-Coke said she had not known about the May withdrawal of services until February 1995.



Current Home - Table of Contents - Chapter 8 - The Wiseman Committee meeting of October 17
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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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