Imagine if your local hospital suddenly lost half of its doctors. Such an occurrence could cause panic among the public as well as among hospital owners. As it happens, a similar scenario has played out for real in the state of Mississippi. The Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center has recently seen thirty physicians quit in response to unsanitary conditions and a lack of some necessary medical supplies. This move prompted hospital officials to sue several doctors who had allegedly led a pack of like-minded doctors into quitting the hospital. However, the doctors are claiming that cockroaches infested several areas of the hospital that were supposed to be kept sterile at all times. The group of doctors are insisting that they made several complaints to hospital management concerning the numerous cockroaches and other issues, but these complaints fell upon deaf ears. Therefore, the doctors claim that the hospital owners broke their end of the contract first by not maintaining workable and safe conditions for both the hospital staff as well as the patients.
The current legal conflict between doctors and the owners of UMMC has resulted in lawsuits from both parties. Although UMMC officials are denying their claims, numerous doctors and staff have claimed that the children’s hospital had contained a plethora of cockroaches and even pervasive mold. After hearing these claims, a reporter with the local newspaper, the Clarion Ledger, requested an insect inspection report from hospital officials. He asked for all insect inspection reports collected by hospital staff since 2015. However, hospital officials instead sent the reporter six pages printed from the Joint Commission website. These pages consisted of information that was not at all related to insect inspections. Eventually, the Joint Commision told the reporter that they could not release insect inspection records.
According to former UMMC geneticist Dr. Omar Abdul-Rahman, the cockroach problem in the hospital had become so commonplace that hospital staff appointed certain staff members as “designated cockroach killers”. The staff members who were the least creeped-out by cockroaches were tasked with their removal. This legal dispute has not yet been resolved, but it is not looking good for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Would you leave a hospital if you discovered cockroaches in a room that was supposed to be free from all germs?