May 16, 1994 - The meeting of the
Section of Pediatric Anaesthesia
On Monday, May 16, 1994, the pediatric anaesthesia section met. It was at this meeting that the section voted to take the extraordinary step of withdrawing services to pediatric cardiac surgery. Swartz, McNeill, Wong and Reimer outlined their concerns with the program. They were concerned about morbidity and mortality, the apparent lack of monitoring and the deteriorating relations among team members. According to McNeill, the members of the section who did not give anaesthetics for open cardiac procedures all expressed their support for the four who did.
Craig was present at the meeting, although he left during the discussion. Before leaving, he indicated that he would support the section members in whatever decision they reached. At the time Craig recognized that withdrawal of services was an option under consideration.
After continued discussion, the section decided to issue a statement about cardiac anaesthesia. The statement was sent to Wiseman because he was the head of pediatric surgery. The memorandum was to inform him of a decision to suspend the provision of cardiac anaesthesia services for open cases until a review of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program was undertaken. The suspension of services was to go into effect on May 17. Ullyot testified that she initially opposed the decision to withdraw services on such short notice. However, she said, the anaesthetists were adamant that the program be halted until it was determined if it was viable.
The section also selected McNeill to serve as the head of pediatric cardiac surgery anaesthesia. This appointment was not widely communicated at the time. Indeed, it was not until October 12, 1994, that Ullyot sent a memorandum to Craig, with copies to the appropriate heads and VCHC staff, announcing McNeill's appointment as director of pediatric cardiac anaesthesia.
After the meeting ended, Ullyot drafted a memorandum outlining the decision that had been taken at that day's meeting. In the evening she telephoned Craig and read the memorandum to him. Craig said he indicated that he would continue to support the anaesthetists in their action. He testified he did this because the issues they had raised were serious and it appeared that they had not been able to have them properly addressed.