Duluth News Tribune runs correction to St. Luke's coverage

Duluth News Tribune runs correction to St. Luke's coverage

Last year, the Duluth News Tribune ran several investigative stories about a former neurosurgeon at St. Luke's hospital, Dr. Stefan Konasiewicz, with the gist being that St. Luke's "was aware of the harm Konasiewicz was alleged to have caused [patients] and yet continued to let him practice," according to one of the newspaper's pieces.

The articles recounted a remarkable history of alleged medical malpractice (six of Konasiewicz' colleagues told the paper they'd been "gravely concerned" about his "ability and competence," for instance) and suggested that St. Luke's allowed the doctor to continue practicing because it helped the hospital turn a profit. For its efforts, the paper received numerous journalism honors, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award and top honors from the Association of Health Care Journalists.

But the reporting generated controversy as well as praise: St. Luke's sued the newspaper last September, disputing some of the newspaper's coverage. This Sunday, the newspaper ran a correction acknowledging "inaccurate statements about St. Luke's and its administration" in some of the paper's articles.

Here's the newspaper's correction:

Former Duluth neurosurgeon Stefan Konasiewicz
Former Duluth neurosurgeon Stefan Konasiewicz
Texas Watch

Last summer, the News Tribune published articles that included inaccurate statements about St. Luke's and its administration.

The News Tribune acknowledges that St. Luke's is an accredited hospital and has always had a rigorous Quality of Care program and that state and federal law dictate the process that any accredited hospital must follow in responding to complaints about physicians. That process is called peer review. It requires that concerns about the quality of care provided by a doctor are reviewed by other doctors, his or her peers. Although St. Luke's is prohibited by law from discussing peer review, prior to publication the News Tribune had been told by other sources that the Medical Executive Committee was responsible for acting on quality of care complaints, that concerns about Dr. Konasiewicz had been brought to that committee and that the committee took action which in some respects was more extensive than the monitoring requirements which were later ordered by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

We've reached out to the Duluth News Tribune's editor, Robin Washington, and investigations editor Brandon Stahl (who was one of the reporters on the series) for comment, as well as the hospital. We'll let you know if we hear anything back.

As for Stefan Konasiewicz, he moved to Texas in 2009, where he remained controversial with patients.

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