UNC Children’s suspends complex heart surgeries amid investigation

North Carolina Children’s Hospital will be suspending heart surgeries for its most complex cases for the time being—a direct response to a New York Times investigation that called into question the safety of practices in the center’s pediatric heart surgery unit—the Times reported June 17.

UNC Health Care’s announcement comes less than three weeks after North Carolina’s health secretary called for an investigation into the hospital’s practices and a month after the Times article was first published, raising eyebrows with worrying mortality figures and physician interviews suggesting the pediatric unit was in “total disarray.”

UNC Health Care also released previously undisclosed mortality data Monday, putting an end to the Times’ year-long legal battle to obtain the information. The data showed that mortality rates for young heart surgery patients continued to surge for years after physicians first warned administrators of possible issues in the department.

“We are in crisis, and everyone is aware of that,” Tim Hoffman, the chief of pediatric cardiology at UNC Children’s Hospital, said in a 2016 meeting the Times captured on tape.

Read a full update on the case below: