CMC memo to employees slams Boston Globe story on former heart surgeon

·2 min read

Sep. 9—In a memo sent to its hundreds of employees, Manchester's Catholic Medical Center slammed a Boston Globe story centered on the abnormally high number of malpractice suits brought against the heart surgeon who was a marquee name at the hospital until his 2019 retirement.

The story reported 21 malpractice lawsuits against retired heart surgeon Yvon Baribeau were settled out of court, and out of public view. The Globe's analysis found Baribeau was the defendant in the largest number of of malpractice settlements involving surgical deaths in the last 20 years, and that none of the 125 heart surgeons working in the Boston area have been sued more than twice.

In a memo to Catholic Medical Center employees, hospital President and CEO Alex Walker called the story one-sided.

"The story paints a picture of a hospital that is unrecognizable from the place we all know, and is based on allegations that we strongly refute," Walker wrote. "And it overlooks the fact that thousands of people are only alive today because Dr. Baribeau operated on them."

"We stand behind our stories 100% and hope that people will read them for themselves," said Scott Allen, assistant managing editor for projects at the Boston Globe. "All of the issues raised in the memo to CMC staff are discussed in detail."

Though the Globe story included statements from Walker and others defending Baribeau and impugning the doctors who spoke out against him, the memo complained the Globe story had not included these perspectives.

Allegations against Baribeau were part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2018 by another former Catholic Medical Center cardiologist.

The Union Leader reported on the settlement of the whistleblower suit against Catholic Medical Center in February. The suit included details of serious complications following Baribeau's surgeries, as well as allegations of "kickbacks" paid to the hospital for referring patients to a particular doctor.

jgrove@unionleader.com