Disgraced doctor William Tarnow Mordi was allowed to quietly stand down from treating babies in the Centre for Newborn Care, the Neonatal Intensive care Unit, at Westmead Hospital after whistleblower Dr Michael Cole alerted authorities to Tarnow Mordi’s lack of competence and an external investigation found that he should not be allowed to treat babies.
But despite this scandal Tarnow Mordi, a University of Sydney Professor, was allowed to remain as Director of the unit and to manage research on the babies he was not allowed to treat. He was promoted to Director of neonatal trials at the National Health and Medical Research Council’s clinical trials unit.
The Human Research Ethics Committee at Westmead Hospital ignored complaints that Tarnow Mordi continued to experiment on babies after his clinical privileges were removed in July 2009. Dr Cole and another doctor wrote to the Human Research Ethics Committee’s Chairman, Professor Stephen Leeder, expressing concerns. The doctor’s concerns were ignored.
The same concerns remain unanswered. Are the parents who agree to experiments being performed on their babies fully informed about the professional status of Tarnow Mordi who has no clinical privileges and is not allowed to treat babies? Or are parents misled, believing that their babies are under the competent care of a University of Sydney professor and Director of the NHMRC neonatal trials unit?
Sydney West Local health Network Lied. That is not a surprise.
Initially Sydney West Local Health District (SWLHD) told Julie Robotham of the Sydney Morning Herald that William Tarnow Mordi, the disgraced director of the Westmead Neonatal Unit, had been allowed to step down quietly in August 2008. See Millions More Taxpayers Dollars wasted by Sydney West Local Health District in this blog.
Finally SWLHD admitted that Tarnow Mordi had been allowed to stay on as researcher and director of the Unit until his contract expired in December 2009. During this time he remained in charge of treatment protocols, governance and the safety of the babies in the Unit. SMH Here.
SWLHD and its predecessor Sydney West Area Health Service covered up the Tarnow Mordi scandal for nearly a decade. Junior nurses and doctors including Dr Michael Cole had told an external investigation by Professor Ross Haslam in 2001 that they did not know who to turn to when they were concerned by the management given to babies in the Unit.
Taxpayers and parents of babies who were harmed or died in the Westmead Neonatal Unit during this time should contact their Members of Parliament to demand a Judicial Inquiry into Tarnow Mordi’s appointment and SWLHD’s decade long cover up.
The Hon Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health can be contacted at
Level 31, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney 2000
Phone 9228 5229, Fax 9228 5877
Contact details for other Memebrs of Parliament can be downloaded from here.
Professor William Tarnow Mordi was protected by Sydney West Local Health District for nearly a decade.
An articles in the Sydney Morning Herald slams Westmead Hospital and Sydney West Local Health District (SWLHD) for not acting on damning external investigations spanning seven years that exposed William Tarnow Mordi’s lack of managerial and clinical skills. Thousands of taxpayer and charity dollars were wasted on equipment that no one knew how to use. And babies were put at risk by concerning clinical practices.
The first report was in 2001 by Professor Ross Haslam who found ”considerable variability in the work practices of the consultants”.
In August of 2008 William Tarnow Mordi was allowed to step down quietly after the report by Professor David Tudehope and specialist nurse Sandie Bredemyer was critical of Professor Tarnow Mordi’s clinical and managerial skills.
A Westmead Hospital spokesperson said that between August 2008 and the appointment of a new director, Professor Tarnow Mordi took periods of leave and undertook further training.
Taxpayers and those who donate to charities might well be concerned that Westmead Hospital and SWLHD took no effective action to correct a problem that had been brought to their attention seven years earlier in 2001. They might be concerned that taxpayer’s dollars might now be wasted on possibly avoidable legal cases and damages for at least one baby who was allegedly harmed during those seven years.
Taxpayers would be relieved by Westmead Hospital’s reassurance that Professor Tarnow Mordi was not the director of the Unit and did not perform research on babies in the Unit after August 2008.