Over several weeks now, El Paso Politics has been communicating with several individuals about the El Paso Children’s Hospital. Most of the individuals have requested that we keep them anonymous for fear of reprisals. Few have been willing to go on the record fearing that they would be retaliated against. Some current children’s hospital staff members have communicated their concerns to us, all of them fearful that we would name them in our reporting. In addition to those we have communicated with, we have also received some information anonymously. That information that we have collaborated and feel we can report without exposing the source we have done so already. Any information we have not been able to collaborate we have kept to ourselves, for now. As soon as we collaborate the information we will publish our findings.
That individuals with first-hand knowledge are fearful of publicly talking about factual information should be concerning to members of the community.
Doctors and nurses have come forward sharing with us what they see, or have seen at the hospital that is troubling to them. As we complete our research and interviews we will update our findings in new articles.
Over the last few weeks we received one letter three times from three different sources. The sources, other than the letter, seem to be unrelated to each other. In all three cases, we have been asked to keep the individuals anonymous. Because of the anonymity requirement and because the letter we received is in Word format and is unsigned we had decided to withhold it because we could not publicly source it for fear of exposing those who had shared it with us.
As it was unsigned, we could also not verify its authenticity without publicly identifying who had provided it to us.
However, on Sunday, David Crowder published his article on the El Paso Children’s Hospital’s problems in the El Paso, Inc. In it, Crowder authenticated the letter and provided several quotes from it. 
Over the last several days we have received several requests asking for a copy of the letter.
As such, we have decided to publish the letter below as it was sent to us now that it has been authenticated. We also feel the information is important for the community to know.
The letter has “August 2020” noted on it.
We are publishing the letter verbatim as it was sent to us. We have not made any changes to it.
This is the content of the letter:
Dear El Paso Children’s Board of Trustees,
The purpose of this letter is to inform you on our thoughts regarding the changes that will transpire on November 1st, 2020. As charge nurses in the pediatric intensive care unit, we feel it is our moral obligation to speak up when necessary and that time is now. This letter is not aimed to discredit Dr. Canales as he is seen as a man of great character, a good human being, and a dedicated pediatrician in the city of El Paso. However, those characteristics aside, we feel that he is unfit for this service as we have witnessed on numerous occasions while caring for his patients in our unit.
The current issue is not just about how this affects the welfare of our patients, the lives of the current board certified pediatric intensivists who have moved from other parts of the country to serve our community, the physician assistant who’s considered the backbone of this unit, the Texas Tech residency program, but the entire unit’s moral as a whole. We are worried that the risk the hospital is asking us to take will result in the loss of uniquely groomed healthcare talent. One of the appeals of working at this hospital is that is a teaching facility. Our attending physicians like to teach and we like the opportunity it provides for us to learn. We trust their judgment when it comes to the decisions made for each patient and feel confident with the plan of care using our nursing critical thinking knowledge. The relationships and rapport that our nursing staff has developed with the current group of physicians has been vital to the positive outcomes in our unit. We adjust ourselves to how each of our physicians work and even if we learn their preferences, we expect precise orders. We do not want to work outside of our scope of practice and we are not used to ambiguous orders like those received while caring for Dr. Canales’s patients. There is constant miscommunication with orders themselves and the time in which they are placed. Several nurses and respiratory therapists have expressed concern during bedside procedures as well. Change is expected, but it demoralizes the unit when that change brings upon unnecessary risks that could have devastating consequences.
El Paso Children’s Hospital opened its doors to the community of El Paso in February 2012 with one goal in mind, to serve the children in the El Paso region and those in surrounding areas. Dr. Angelica Chavez, a proud El Pasoan and current board certified pediatric intensivist at EPCH, recalls standing on the foundation of this hospital when it was first being constructed while working at the pediatric sector at what is now called University Medical Center. While having worked here, she has used the 20+ years of knowledge and experience in the intensive care area to save countless children’s lives. She has made an impact not only in the child’s life but the lives of their families as well. She is now left with two options: Leave or join a team where the head physician is not a board certified intensivist and is currently facing multiple lawsuits for negligence and malpractice. There is no logic in that.
In closing, we urge you to reconsider this decision. We feel that this is the only way to let our voices be heard. Transparency is one of the core values of this hospital and we want to be transparent with how we feel about this decision. It is the quality that we should be focused on rather than the quantity.
The copies of the letter we received were not signed.
- David Crowder, “Doctors voice concerns about El Paso Children’s,” October 11-17, 2020.
Categories: El Paso