County

Children’s Hospital Seeks to Hide Evidence In Court Hearing Yesterday

The El Paso Children’s Hospital and two doctors went to court yesterday asking to have evidence thrown out in the Saucedo malpractice lawsuit. On August 10, 2020, David and Mariana Saucedo filed a malpractice lawsuit against El Paso Children’s Hospital, Roberto Canales and Rodolfo Fierro-Saucedo over the death of their three-year-old daughter, Ivanna. The Saucedos allege “grossly negligent care provided by EPCH, EPCH’s staff, and in particular Dr. Roberto Canales.”

Central to the Saucedo case is an affidavit by Dr. Thomas Mayes.

The Mayes affidavit lays out what led to the death of Ivanna Saucedo. It shows a need for the hospital to make money before meeting the needs of the patients under their care. El Paso Children’s Hospital is currently facing several lawsuits for malpractice. One lawsuit alleges that hospital staff broke a sixteen-year-old’s arm. There are at least three other malpractice cases pending in court.

Roberto Canales is well known in El Paso and his medical practice is lucrative for El Paso Children’s Hospital. However, Canales does not meet the standard of El Paso Children’s Hospital to practice there and yet hospital administrators have made an exception for him.

The Thomas Mayes Affidavit

Dr. Thomas C. Mayes provided an affidavit where he outlines his expertise in pediatric medicine and how he came to be appointed as the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at El Paso Children’s Hospital. One of his responsibilities as Chair “was to ensure that physicians were appropriately trained, certified, qualified” to provide services at El Paso’s children’s hospital. [1]

El Paso Children’s Hospital had put in place a set of regulations governing how doctors can provide services at the hospital. One of the requirements is that doctors “were required to be board certified.” [1]

Because Dr. Roberto Canales is not board certified, Mayes declined to approve him, and deemed him “unqualified to practice pediatric critical care medicine” at El Paso Children’s Hospital. [1] It is important to note the children’s hospital’s own Bylaws “prohibited” Canales from treating children like Ivanna. [2]


Mayes refused to credential Canales with pediatric intensive care privileges. [1] It was Mayes job to ensure that the doctors providing services at children’s were qualified to do so.


When Mayes refused to provide a waiver for Canales, Cindy Stout, the CEO and other administrators tried to “brow beat” Mayes into approving Canales because it “was very important for the hospital to get Dr. Canales’ business,” and because Canales “was a great guy.” [1]

El Paso Children’s Hospital has a history of financial instability since its opening.

Failing to convince Mayes into credentialing Canales, the hospital bypassed him and approved Canales to practice at the hospital.

Why Children’s Wants To Hide The Affidavit

El Paso Children’s Hospital and the two doctors, Canales and Fierro-Stevens, want the Mayes affidavit to be excluded. Mayes’ affidavit lays out why Canales should not have been in the position to care for Ivanna.

The defendants’ lawyers argued at yesterday’s court hearing that Mayes violated confidentiality by providing the affidavit. According to the defendants’ lawyers, Mayes was not entitled to expose the damning evidence because as a member of the Credentialing Committee he must keep the information secret.

However, the Buzbee Law Firm lawyers argued that there is no confidentiality problems because the Mayes affidavit is information that was not deliberated in a formal credentialing committee meeting. The Buzbee lawyers are arguing that the Mayes affidavit provides information derived from informal meetings between various individuals outside of any formal committee meeting.

The Buzbee Law Firm presented a Powerpoint presentation at the court hearing yesterday outlining the importance of the Mayes affidavit.

It should be noted that the defendants’ lawyers have yet to offer evidence that contradicts the Mayes affidavit, instead arguing that the jury should not hear what Mayes wrote because it violates confidentiality.

Thomas Mayes Faces Health Problems

The judge did not rule on the affidavit yesterday. She said she will issue her ruling later. Regardless of her ruling, it is expected that the losing party will file an appeal further delaying the case.

The Mayes affidavit lays out a clear case of negligence and without it proving the negligence becomes more difficult because of “confidentiality” and the lack of individuals willing to come forward in the litigation.

Thomas Mayes “is now very close to death in a San Antonio hospital,” and his testimony is important to the case because it proves that Canales was not qualified to practice at El Paso Children’s Hospital. That and the hospital’s financial needs is putting children at risk. [2]

Read the Thomas Mayes Affidavit

Footnotes:

  1. Affiant Mays Aff. Cause No: 2020DCV2549, Saucedo v. El Paso Children’s Hospital Corporation, et al.
  2. The Buzbee Law Firm Powerpoint Presentation presented at 243 rd District Court, El Paso County, “Defendants’ Motions to Strike Affidavits, Opinions, and Testimony,” March 4, 2021.

3 replies »

  1. Surely there are other people who can testify if the affidavit is excluded, whether or not they incriminate Dr Canales. What about those other doctors named in the affidavit?

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  2. Most shocking (and damning) is that CEO Stout hasn’t done anything to control her risk and prevent future exposure for the Hospital – I’m seeing on the EPCH website that Stout still has Dr. Canales on her Staff??!!. What?! Where is her Board of Directors? Who is running the show over there? So, Stout is keeping this doctor on her staff – and actually made him the Chief Clinical Officer – while knowing that her own Credentialing Committee made an extremely questionable decision to allow him to practice in spite of his lack of qualifications? Crazy! This the pinnacle of depravity. Her Board needs to give us answers now! Does the County have any say so here?

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  3. Jose Martinez unfortunately the answer to that is not very reassuring. The Board is equally incompetent or underhanded. This is the classic defense when you know you are guilty. Deny, and then try to suppress the evidence. The medical community here is afraid of Dr. Canales and doesn’t want to offend him because he can ruin them. So nobody is willing to call out his substandard care except for Dr Mayes. And the hospitals are falling over themselves to get his business because they are motivated by greed.

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