A Boston Globe Spotlight investigative report revealed that a New England cardiothoracic surgeon settled 21 medical malpractice claims during his tenure at a hospital in New Hampshire, 14 of which accused him of making errors that led to a patient’s death. The Globe report said there is no other physician in the country with more settlements involving surgical deaths in the last two decades.
Dr. Yvon Baribeau retired from his cardiothoracic surgeon position at Catholic Medical Center (CMC) in Manchester, N.H., at 63 years old in 2019, according to the Globe. The cardiac specialist was hailed as a gifted and “natural” surgeon by his contemporaries while he operated at the hospital. He even became one of the most publicly recognizable faces attached to the hospital — appearing in multiple CMC advertisements.
The Globe report showed that Dr. Baribeau had one of the worst surgical medical malpractice records among all medical practitioners in the country.
Dr. Baribeau’s malpractice record is a substantial outlier compared to most other physicians. The Globe’s analysis of 125 current, retired and other non-practicing cardiac surgeons connected to Manchester’s most distinguished hospitals discovered that only 12 practitioners had malpractice settlements, and of those 12, none had more than two, the Globe reported. Ten of those 12 doctors had just one settlement in their careers, the Globe added.
The report said executives and other doctors at Catholic Medical Center were aware of Dr. Baribeau’s deadly surgical track record. Multiple surgeons and other medical professionals at the hospital told executives that Baribeau’s errors were harming, even killing, patients, according to the Globe.
One former CMC cardiologist went as far as to file a federal whistle-blower suit detailing the disastrous and deadly outcomes of a dozen of Baribeau’s cases, the Globe said.
In a statement the Globe received from Baribeau’s attorney, Baribeau stated “I performed over 10,000 procedures at CMC, always with patient safety as my first priority.” Both Baribeau’s lawyers and CMC executives told the Globe that malpractice settlements do not constitute an admission of wrongdoing.