UPDATE: Following publication, Dr. Granberry emailed TKNN to state that he apologized to the two reporters. The original story is below.
Following critical reporting on the hospital’s heart transplant program, Baylor St. Luke’s Hospital chief of staff Dr. William Granberry sent a letter to the editor into the local newspaper, the Houston Chronicle. Dr. Granberry attempted to rebut some of the criticisms and also took issue with Houston Chronicle reporter Mike Hixenbaugh and ProPublica reporter Charles Ornstein’s reporting on Dr. Bud Frazier’s troubled medical past.
“These accusations of wrong doing by Dr. Frazier, on face are pointless and empty,” Granberry wrote. “How do these articles help our community?” Although the answer to Granberry’s question would be that by shedding a light on poor practices, the community is better informed and the hospital is held to a high standard through transparency. Indeed following the reporting, the hospital has suspended its heart transplant program.
However, Granberry also took his commentary a step further and threatened to withhold coverage from the reporters, stating, “I hope this letter does not give any of the authors a heart attack, because these journalists will need to have a contingency plan to go to Europe or maybe the Cayman Islands.”
On Monday, the hospital system distanced itself from Granberry’s comments in a statement to TKNN. In a joint statement, Baylor College of Medicine (where Granberry serves as an associate professor) executive dean and CEO Paul Klotman, MD, and President and CEO of the Catholic Health Initiatives Texas division Doug Lawson, PhD, stated, “We cannot speak for Dr. Granberry but the article obviously touched a nerve for physicians who try every day to do the right thing and save lives. We have complete respect for the job reporters do to uncover problems and tell the truth. Even if we do not agree with details of stories, we must recognize the right of reporters to do their work and we must always be transparent when mistakes are made.”
“At Baylor College of Medicine and at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, our mission is to care for the sick and comfort the families of patients no matter who they are, what they believe in, or their ability to pay. That will always be the case for our school and our affiliated hospitals.”
The Texas Division stated in an email to TKNN that they were unaware of Granberry’s letter prior to him sending it.
This post has been updated with additional information and to fix the spelling of Granberry’s name in the statement at CHI’s request.