Aug. 25, 2016 Children's Hospital

E-mail trail: Years of problems at DMC

Here’s an overview of the problems with sterilizing equipment at the Detroit Medical Center’s Midtown campus, which includes Children’s, Detroit Receiving, Harper University, Hutzel Women’s and DMC Heart hospitals. The chronology is taken from records and emails obtained by The Detroit News.


Mike Duggan, then CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, consolidates three sterilization departments — Detroit Receiving, Children’s and Harper — into one at Detroit Receiving. It is intended to streamline the process and doesn’t include new hires or extra money for equipment or space.

June 9, 2013

Rodney Huebbers, then chief operating officer of the DMC, sets a meeting to talk about sterilization problems with Joseph Mullany, president of the DMC; Herman B. Gray, then president of Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and Valerie Gibson, then chief operating officer of Harper/Hutzel hospitals.

“Looks like we’re finally getting some attention,” Gray writes to two top executives at Children’s.


Jan. 8, 2014

Dr. Joseph Lelli, chief surgeon at Children’s Hospital, writes that sterile processing (CSP) workers routinely misplace instruments or fail to clean them.

“We are NOT making progress in solving the CSP problems. … ,” Lelli writes to several officials including Huebbers and Larry Gold, then president of Children’s.

“We are CHM are replacing thousands of dollars of instruments that CSP is losing every year.”

May 14, 2014

Victor Bell, DMC lean manager, is reassigned to help fix problems sterilizing equipment.

June 7, 2014

Larry Gold, then president of Children’s Hospital, informs chief nursing officer Shawn Levitt that ophthalmologists are “so fed up and are at least threatening to consider alternative centers to do their surgery.”


June 13, 2014

Andrei Soran, then the DMC’s chief operating officer, tells Gold that sterile processing has improved to “95% accuracy.”

June 14, 2014

London Quicci, then regional vice president of DMC, is confident changes are working. “In a few short weeks we’ve been able to turn around the historic poor performance of CSP, and I believe we are at a tipping point to provide all locations the service they deserve,” he writes to Soran.


September 10, 2014

Bell leads a walkthrough outlining new processes he predicts will fix problems at sterile processing. Later that day, cables needed for open heart surgery are missing.

October 2014

Another new hire, Lukeysih Hall, is brought in to manage sterile processing.

April 2, 2015

Hall writes a long memo to the DMC’s owner, Tenet Healthcare, saying she considers herself a whistle-blower and hasn’t received support from administrators to make changes.


April 2015

Another new administrator, Thom Michael-Corbit, is brought aboard sterile processing.

April 30, 2015

DMC officials transfer executive oversight of fixing sterile processing from Quicci to Binesh Patel, chief medical officer of Detroit Receiving Hospital.

May 8, 2015

All six of Children’s Hospital’s laparoscopic sets are missing, Lelli says.

“We are now operating on a child with the wrong instruments because he needs an urgent operation,” Lelli writes to Gold, Hall, Patel and others.

June 29, 2015

“We are drowning in the OR due to CSP and supply chain … we are putting patients at risk frequently and now canceling up to 10 cases this week … promises just aren’t cutting it,” Lelli writes to Patel and Gold.

June 1, 2016

DMC hires Unity HealthTrust of Birmingham, Alabama, to manage sterile processing.