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Children’s Hospital Blocking Key Deathbed Testimony In Saucedo Case

As a reminder: words in blue are links to articles providing greater context.

Attorneys for El Paso Children’s Hospital, Roberto Canales and the other defendants in the malpractice case over the death of Ivanna Saucedo filed court documents this week asking that the judge block the deposition of Dr. Thomas Mayes who is on his death bed. Mayes’ affidavit was attached to the original lawsuit filed a little over a year ago. The Saucedo’s have alleged that pediatrician Roberto Canales was negligent in his care of Ivanna causing her death. Mayes wrote in his affidavit that “Canales presents a real danger to his patients and should be removed from the practice of medicine.”

Mayes is a doctor with vast experience and was the individual in charge of approving doctors that practice at El Paso Children’s Hospital. Mayes refused to approve Canales but was overridden by the hospital’s administrators because the hospital “unable to turn a profit” needed Canales’ “millions of dollars each year” from his pediatric practice.

It is important to note that the attorneys defending El Paso Children’s Hospital and the doctors involved in the case have not alleged that Mayes has lied in his court filings, but rather what Mayes has stated is “privileged” information that should not be in the public record.

In March of last year, the defendant attorneys asked the court to throw out the so-called Mayes affidavit. In his affidavit, Mayes wrote that Roberto Canales was “unqualified to practice pediatric critical care medicine”. Canales was the primary doctor in the Saucedo case.

Readers can read the Mayes affidavit by using this link.

Mayes was in the position to directly evaluate Canales’ medical expertise as Mayes oversaw “credentialling” the doctors that provide services at El Paso Children’s Hospital. Mayes refused to allow Canales to practice critical care medicine but was overruled by the hospital’s administrators. The hospital has a history of financial troubles, including a bankruptcy shortly after it opened. Canales has a lucrative pediatric practice and the children’s hospital needs Canales to shore up the hospital’s finances with his practice.

Defense Attorneys Try To Block Key Deathbed Testimony

In a court filing on September 9, 2021, the attorneys for El Paso Children’s Hospital and the doctors filed a motion asking that a scheduled deposition in October of Thomas Mayes be canceled. According to the court transcript from August 19, 2021, Mayes is “near death”. The Saucedo’s attorneys want to take his deposition as soon as possible so that they can “preserve his testimony.” [1]

At issue, according to the court filings, is that there is some controversy over what evidence, including testimony, the judge will allow in the case. The defendants’ do not want Mayes’ affidavit to be allowed in. They are claiming that Mayes revealed confidential information about the credentialing committee that oversaw Canales’ credentialing at the children’s hospital. The judge has not ruled on the challenges to the evidence.

Because Mayes is “near death” the Saucedo family attorneys wish to ensure that his testimony is “preserved” to use in court. Although the judge has not ruled on what is admissible, the Saucedo attorneys argue that Mayes’ testimony can be taken and then removed from the court record if the judge rules it as not admissible.

However, the court filing shows that the defendants want to block the Mayes testimony because they do not want it to be “improperly disclosed” until the court rules on its admissibility.

Defendant Lawyers Want To Block The First Amendment

The lawyers’ court filings suggest that the reason they are blocking Mayes’ testimony has little do with the judge’s upcoming rulings on the admissibility of the evidence, including the Mayes affidavit, and more to do with blocking media coverage of what Mayes has to say, under oath, about the practices at El Paso Children’s Hospital and the defendant doctors.

The lawyers seem to agree in the court documents that the issue of what testimony will be allowed at the hearing can be addressed after the deposition of Mayes by simply removing the portions that the court rules against. However, what the defendant attorneys are concerned about is the disclosure of the Mayes deposition to the news media. In the court document, the defendant attorneys want a court order ordering that “the deposition testimony” of Mayes be kept confidential. [1]

Specifically, the lawyers wrote that Mayes’ testimony may not be “discussed or disclosed by the parties or their attorneys to any other person or entity, including any news outlet, social media platform, blog, or expert witness.” [1]

In other words, the El Paso Children’s Hospital and the doctors do not want the public to understand what happened in the case of Ivanna’s death.

Children’s Hospital’s History of Hiding Public Information

As readers may remember, El Paso Politics has challenged the children’s hospital’s stance that it is not subject to open records laws governing the disclosure of information important to the public. El Paso Politics challenged the children’s hospital refusal to release public information, although it is owned by the University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC), which is funded with public dollars.

Although El Paso Children’s Hospital argues on one hand that it has “immunity” from lawsuits because it is a government entity, by virtue of UMC’s ownership, while at the same time arguing that it does not have to comply with Texas’ open records laws.

In its latest filing, the children’s hospital is now attempting to limit what the public learns from Mayes’ testimony about the inner workings of the hospital.

An attorney, who is familiar with the case, agreed to speak to El Paso Politics on the condition that we do not name them because they litigate malpractice cases. The attorney told us that the attempt to muzzle the news media by limiting access to public testimony is a “violation of the First Amendment,” and “unconstitutional.” Regarding the motions to block the testimony, the attorney told us it is “overreaching,” describing the defendants’ motion as a “pro-active gag order.”

When El Paso Politics asked the attorney if the testimony could be taken before the judge rules on the pending motions of what would be allowed by the court, they told us that it would not be a problem because any testimony that the judge rules as not admissible can be stricken from the testimony by the judge.

Lawyers Refuse To Comment

El Paso Politics sent an email to each of the defense attorneys via email to their official court email accounts asking for comment on their court filing on September 14. The email accounts we used are the email accounts used to file official court documents with the court.

We asked them to specifically comment on why they want to delay the testimony of Thomas Mayes who is “near death”. We pointed out that we understood that the court had not decided on what evidence it would allow but that once the court ruled the relevant parts of the testimony, if any, could be removed from Mayes’ deposition.

We asked, “why delay his testimony?”

None of the attorneys responded to our question, as of publication time.

Court Hearing Set

A court hearing has been set for Tuesday, September 21, to address the motions to delay the key testimony of Mayes, who is “near death”. El Paso Politics will be monitoring the hearing and will report on the outcome.

The question that remains is why is El Paso Children’s Hospital trying to limit what information enters the public realm about the practices at the hospital and its doctors. The judge’s ruling is expected to address whether the public has a right to know about the practices at the children’s hospital, which are guaranteed under the First Amendment.

Footnote:

  1. “Defendant’s Joint Motion To Quash Deposition of Thomas C. Mayes, M.D. FAAP, FCCM As Noticed, Or, Alternatively, Joint Motion For Protective Order” (171st Judicial District Court, El Paso County, Cause No. 2020DCV2549), September 9, 2021.
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We are on a mission to deliver the news and information important to you. Information that no one else is covering. We believe that public policy is grounded on an informed citizenry. We provide information based on analytical analysis that is well-sourced to allow readers to understand the policy decisions that affects their lives. We keep our reporting open to give everyone access to our reports. We are self-funded. This allows us to be independent and we are not influenced by stakeholders on how and what we report.

Help us to keep this resource available to everyone. Your support allows us to fund the site and pay for the research we use to bring important topics to your attention. Support our project by making a small donation today.

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We are on a mission to deliver the news and information important to you. Information that no one else is covering. We believe that public policy is grounded on an informed citizenry. We provide information based on analytical analysis that is well-sourced to allow readers to understand the policy decisions that affects their lives. We keep our reporting open to give everyone access to our reports. We are self-funded. This allows us to be independent and we are not influenced by stakeholders on how and what we report.

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15 replies »

  1. This is insane! From what I am reading here, Dr. Mayes is a WHISTLEBLOWER! He as uncovered potential fraudulent activities and has reported them to the hospital administrators. In doing so he becomes a whistleblower whose testimony must be protected and further elicited. The argument that the information is privileged is total nonsense. Any type of duty of confidentiality or requirement to not disclose privileged information as a member of the credentialing committee go out the window the minute he reported the potential criminal activity. Any first year law student knows this.

    But most shocking is how can it be possible that the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital is trying to hide whistleblower testimony instead of embracing it and wanting to know more about potential criminal activity? Who is the Chairman of that Board. That person needs to answer immediately! Are they complicit?

    Another black eye for El Paso. What a shame. Add this to the long lost of corruption in our community. Another EPiSD? Handcuffs?

    Like

  2. 1. Why has this issue received so little coverage in the local media? Aside from this web site there has been almost nothing.
    2. If you were a specialist looking to work in a children’s hospital and you found out about this, would you want to come and work here?
    3. How do our city’s institutions always seems to find the most incompetent people to run them? Are we really such suckers?
    4. How about getting some comments from other doctors (and nurses) who work there? Or what about that director who quit? I wonder what other things are going on. Or will nobody talk?

    Like

  3. Joe and Loco Motive in response, by many of us to your questions.
    Threats and intimidation going on. Cindy’s scripted responses to reporters, Facebook comments and any one who asks. She too is Cintron’s and the boards puppet. Despite not getting and merit increases for many years and stayed because we loved our jobs, to keep your job you must do as “Cindy says”, i.e.. her daughters power point home work and constantly complimenting her. This is a small town. Complacency at it’s best. It’s not what you know or qualified for to do the job in any department, it’s who you know. When you turn in your resignation, Cindy will want to meet with you to find out where you are going and try and make a better offer to possibly buy your silence. Despite her always constantly canceling any one on one meeting you needed to have with her. Hence, this is why no one that has left will speak on the record. If you speak up about the discontent and what your are forced to do and approve doctors and other staff that are not trained in their field, you will be labeled as difficult. Despite what it being done wrong at the hospital and about any of the administrators they will have you blackballed. All of the Del Sol administration have now been hired at UMC to agree with Cintron and at Children’s to be “Yes ” people to Cindy. None of them have pediatric hospital administration and CEO experience. Sit in on any (board) meeting and many meetings for meeting and observe everyone from administrators and physicians on the payroll to board members sit there in a daze like ” Stepford’s” biting their nails, checking emails on their phones, and Facebook posts bored and non caring about the issues at hand. They all just sit there because they have a guaranteed monthly stipend to collect. They all pat each other on the back to make themselves feel better about the wrong they are doing to the children and cross their fingers that the judge will throw out true, credible and important testimony from a physician that EPCH hired as a locum, (Mr. Mayes) witnessed first hand when they needed someone to cover shifts. And also witnessed first hand as a Texas Techs administrator. We all are not disgruntled employees, but honest hard working people who did the right thing and were forced out by a “tyrant” who doesn’t want the truth to be known and resigning before we were fired for not playing along. Tax payers beware, we all will be the ones to pay the bills for all the litigations going on while Cindy is in haphazard control at EPCH!.

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  4. How do you know what really happened that day? Who are you to judge stop bothering Dr canales his a great person with a big heart for the kids in the community here in el Paso not many doctors answer any questions after hours or late. His a great guy he always looks it after his very Ill patients weather they are in picu oncology or at his clinic he will go and care for them and give them treatment. Sometimes you look out for the wrong doctors when there are some that are really bad and you never say anything about those that are really not caring for their patients and observing for ridiculous things. I’m just tired of all this nonsense plus it won’t bring back their baby girl back which I’m so sorry about their baby girls loss the hospital it depends who you get who treats your kids some nurses will not provide great service at all there is always one that will this doctor is great he has small group in his team they are always very positive and helpful in anyway they try their best. We are all human beings at the end no one is perfect and we all make mistakes I side by Dr canales he has saved my child’s life and my Child is doing great in his cancer treatment with him that’s all.

    Like

  5. Sounds like Aunt for All and Dr. Mayes ought to look into filing a Qui Tam action against the Hospital.

    Like

  6. En ese hospital hay muchos secrets ocultos, las personas que trabajan son muy falsas. Cobra mucho por cada procedimiento que hasen. Yo en lo personal como trabaje ahi hay doctores que se meten con las enfermeras y les pagan muy bien para que documenten falsesdades. No lo dudo nadita todo lo que dicen en todos los articulos, si se ve mucha negligenia ahi y sucieda. Deberian de meter gente nueva y honesta en ese hospital que este calificada para haser ciertos procedimientos en SUS areas. Muchos trabajdores le tienen miedo a los ceo ahi te amensan de que VAS a perder tu licencia y trabajo. Todos los departments ahi es UN desastre son muy escandalosas y racistas traten a ciertos padres muy mal no saben ayudar bien a la Gente que necessita mas ayuda. Tienes que caerles Bien sino te reportan. Deveria El estado ir a observer Este hospital ahi muchas cosas ocultas que pasan. David saucedo usted tiene toda la rason en peliar por la muerte de su hija, ojala gane su pelea en la Corte ahi si existe mucho maltrato y negligencia medica en especial en picu y oncologia.

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  7. I can kinda make out what Viviana is saying above in Spanish and it doesn’t sound good for the hospital. “racistas” – “negligencia” – no bueno!

    Also, imagine the legal bills the Hospital must be racking up hiding the truth to cover up their own wrongdoing. Are the hospital administrators using taxpayer money to pay their lawyers to kill the whistleblowers claims against them?

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  8. Yo y mi familia apoyamos al Dr. Canales por que ayudado a nuestra comunidad humilde. No kreeo nada de eso que Lo acusan porque El es una persona dedicada a su trabajo. Yo lo conosco de anos y El curo mis dos Ninas de una enfermedad grave y gracias a dios estan bien eyas hasta horita yo y mi familia estamos agradecidos con El siempre.

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  9. This hospital has been open for ten years and to date cannot seem to stand on it’s business feet it usually takes about five years for a hospital to establish and set a good business ethics and decisions. The sad thing about El Paso Children’s Hospital is that to many political decisions have been attached to it and one palm washing the other. Hospital ethics regarding placing Dr. Canales as Chief of PICU when he is not board certified is a JACO violation the CEO knew this but they wanted the money they thought Dr. Canales would generate but this has come through.
    1. Dr. Mayes is not dead, his testimony was fact not fiction.
    2. Dr. Canales was an excellent doctor at one time in his life but like all of us he is an elderly man now and it not quick minded anymore especially regarding medical decisions
    3. Estella Casas was hired but submitted her resignation several months into the job….to many secrets that she became aware of.
    4. The hospital does have good nurses and staff but they are being bullied by administration and sadly we all need a job.
    5. TTUHSC pediatric department also bullies their pediatricians and does not care of specialist that are leaving there department such as GI, Hemoc, Endo, PICU physicians.

    Like

  10. Dr canales is the best in town we support him and he is not negligent the nurses are they won’t communicate with him fast at all.

    Like

  11. Estaba trabajando en piso 10 en los momentos que sucedió esto. Cuando la gente dice que “nadie sabe lo que pasó”, eso no es cierto. Esa familia siempre tuvo casi entre quince a veinte personas en el cuarto y en la sala de mariposas. Había familiares, amigos, políticos y otros médicos que eran amigos de la familia y nunca estaban solos. La administración estaba muy preocupada y querían que la familia se fuera. Pero esa niña donó sus órganos y se quedaron dos días más en el hospital. La jefa Stout y toda la administración entraron al cuarto para disculparse con la familia cuando se dieron cuenta que habían lastimado a la chica de un político.

    Like

  12. Ha de ser muy buena persona el doctor, pero las tranzas que se han hecho con el hospital son imperdonables. El no estaba calificado para el puesto y de todas maneras (y a pesar de la recomendación de un experto) lo pusieron a cargo de las vidas de nuestros niños. Y ya sabemos lo qué pasó. No se vale. Ya es hora que la justicia se de y que lo boten a la calle. Fuera!

    Like

  13. Pobre doctor como hablan Mal de El eso no SE hase cuando El Steve fue El Mero culpable ahi. Ese doctor si es muy especial no atiende a muchos menos Gente que tiene condiciones especiales y Dr. Canales si.

    Like

  14. Did you all read the Cindy Stout interview/article in El Paso Inc? I wonder how much they were paid to print such a big bunch of lies. You could smell the BS coming right off the pages.

    Like

  15. Agree. Total puff piece in the El Paso Finc. How convenient. Definitely the handy work of the Hospital’s PR machine. A vain attempt to apply seriously heavy lipstick. After reading all these awful stories about our childrens hospital and its unqualified doctor, I can’t help but think that it is just a matter of time before it all unravels for Nurse Cindy. Her JV PR team and shady lawyers can’t possibly continue to hide the truth and obstruct justice for much longer, but then again, I could be wrong. After all, anything is possible with an unlimited government budget.

    Like

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