Dr. Jonathan Ellen has resigned as president and physician-in-chief of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital following reports about high death rates in the hospital’s pediatric cardiology program.
Ellen not only has led the St. Petersburg pediatric hospital for seven years, but he’s been involved in some of the most transformational activities and groups in the area. It’s unclear what his resignation will mean for those groups, which include the USF Consolidation Task Force, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Innovation District.
Ellen was one of three All Children’s leaders to resign. Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, chief of the division of cardiovascular surgery, and Jackie Crain, vice president and chief of staff, also resigned, and Dr. Paul Colombani has stepped down as chair of the surgery department, according to a statement from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“The events described in recent news reports are unacceptable,” the statement said, referring to an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times. The newspaper reported that mortality rates at the hospital’s Heart Institute tripled between 2015 and 2017, and that hospital leaders overlooked warnings from several employees.
The board of Johns Hopkins Medicine has commissioned a comprehensive external review, the statement said. “We will share the lessons learned from that review to ensure that Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins All Children’s and other hospitals around the country can learn from and avoid the mistakes that were made.”
Kevin Sowers, who is president of Johns Hopkins Health System and vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, will lead All Children’s temporarily while a plan for interim leadership is established, the statement said.
Ellen, a veteran of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, joined All Children’s in July 2011, and was credited with transforming the St. Petersburg facility from a regional pediatric referral center to a leading pediatric academic health system focused on research, teaching and patient care. He was at the helm as All Children’s completed its $95 million Research and Education Building, which opened in September.
He’s been active in regional and state organizations, according to a biography that was removed from All Children’s website earlier today.
He’s been chair of the USF Consolidation Task Force, chair of the board of trustees for the Foundation for Healthy St. Petersburg, chair of the board of trustees of Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and president of the St. Pete Innovation District. He also is a member of the Florida Council of 100, the board of trustees for Florida Hospital Association and the board of trustees of the Straz Center, the bio said.