Surgeries & Interventions

Adena Health Pauses Cardiac Surgeries Amid Mounting Deaths, Controversies

Ohio’s Adena Health System has temporarily stopped performing heart surgeries and fired two of its cardiac surgeons, after months of growing scrutiny and some troubling deaths.

Adena Health reportedly “escorted out” two of its cardiac surgeons, Dr. Atiq Rehman and Dr. Mario Matos-Cruz, and will transfer all scheduled heart surgeries to OSU Wexner Medical Center during its “pause.” 

  • However, Adena’s cardiology, and thoracic and vascular surgery operations were not affected, and the system will continue to operate its cath lab and treat all incoming emergent heart attacks.  

Adena’s cardiac surgery pause and surgeon departures follow the recent deaths of two women during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures, although problems within Adena’s cardiac surgery department have been mounting for some time.

  • Just a few weeks ago Dr. Rehman was accused of “propping up” another deceased patient to look “fake alive” and then urging family members to remove her from life support
  • Dr. Rehman and Dr. Cruz were allegedly seen watching YouTube videos to prepare for medical procedures they were unfamiliar with, including one procedure that turned fatal and another that led to three follow up procedures
  • In May, Adena surgeon Dr. Jarrod Betz was accused by 31 sources of performing at least three TAVR procedures without proper credentials, including one where the patient died

Dr. Rehman and Dr. Cruz were both fired after less than two years working at Adena Health, while Dr. Betz apparently remains with the medical center.

Given that Adena is Southern Ohio’s top medical center, the problems with its cardiac surgery department became widely covered by local news outlets.

  • However, news of the “propped up” woman earned international headlines and apparently inspired an upcoming People Magazine story, while these latest deaths during CABG procedures prompted Adena Health to take action.

The Takeaway

Cardiac surgery deaths happen at even the best run hospitals, but Adena’s growing list of controversies and the fact that it elected to pause all heart surgeries is a clear sign that there was something seriously wrong there. Let’s hope Adena figures out what’s wrong and fixes these issues before restarting its cardiac surgery operations.

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