Family sues North Carolina Children’s after toddler dies post-heart surgery

The parents of a toddler who died two months after undergoing heart surgery at North Carolina Children’s Hospital are suing the Chapel Hill institution for failing to disclose issues within its pediatric heart surgery program.

Tasha and Thomas Jones filed two suits after their daughter, Skylar, underwent what’s typically considered a low-risk surgery to repair a heart defect in 2016. At the time, physicians at North Carolina Children’s were starting to question the safety of their program—an investigation by the New York Times later revealed unexpectedly high death rates at the hospital between 2016 and 2017—and the Joneses said their daughter’s team “chose to protect their own reputation and monetary interests” instead of warning them of the program’s pitfalls.

Shortly after her procedure, Skylar developed complications that eventually led to her death.

According to the Times, physicians named in the Jones’ lawsuits include doctors Kevin Kelly, head of the children’s hospital until last year; Michael Mill, the surgeon who operated on Skylar; Timothy Hoffman, the chief of pediatric cardiology; and Pamela Ro, a cardiologist.

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