My response to the U-M report on our handling of suspected child pornography possession by a U-M resident

Dear Health System Community,

Today, President Coleman released a report evaluating the six-month delay in appropriately handling a suspicion of child pornography possession by a medical resident. The report includes what we will do in response to those findings.

I urge you to read the report, which can be found here. It provides a comprehensive summation of where systems broke down and what we will do to fix them. We have quite a bit of work to do to make sure our people, structures and processes are at their best. This work is an immediate priority.

We all have a responsibility to take action when we see something that is wrong, and I cannot emphasize enough the duty that every one of us has to report suspicions when patient or employee safety is at risk. We need to be vigilant in this effort to protect our patients, families, faculty, staff, trainees and students. To report suspicions of criminal activity, call 9-1-1 and inform your supervisor.

I echo President Coleman’s praise of the resident who had the courage to come forward twice. As I said in a previous message, it isn’t always easy to speak up, but it is always the right thing to do.

As an institution, we failed to make sure that this resident’s concerns were investigated in a thorough and timely manner. We are committed to turning this failure into a lesson, and turning that lesson into actions that ensure that when someone does the right thing and reports a suspicion, we have a safeguarded system and appropriately trained personnel in place to make sure the matter is handled in a judicious and correct manner.

See also  Enhancing Our Culture of Safety

The Joint Commission has requested information in order to conduct a review of this incident, and we are responding swiftly and cooperatively to this request. As a trusted outside agency with great expertise, they are in an excellent position to review the systems and procedures we have in place that are designed to protect our patients. Patient safety is our utmost priority as a health care provider, and as we strive to further improve, The Joint Commission may be in a position to offer further guidance.

We are working diligently, along with campus leadership, to correct the shortcomings brought to light by this serious lapse. It is important to remember that it is both our individual and collective responsibility to make certain that the University of Michigan Health System promotes an environment of safety. We must never be complacent in this effort, and this means feeling safe to speak up and report concerns. It is up to all of us to ask why and seek a second opinion when something doesn’t appear or feel right.

UMHS is one of the nation’s most outstanding health care organizations, where lives are saved and miracles occur on a daily basis. Sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we make mistakes. Our commitment to doing better has never been stronger.