Not the Headlines Banner Health Needs: Controversy Continues to Follow Them

Regular readers are likely aware of the Banner Health saga here in Scottsdale, but for those who are not…the synopsis is that Banner Health is attempting to build a large hospital complex in North Scottsdale, in an area that is already well serviced by existing hospital facilities. It has little community support for the project and has gotten significant heat for attempting to shove a square peg into a round hole. You can get fully up to date here.

With such a daunting task in front of them, one thing seems evident: Banner Health would be well served to gather as much positive press as it possibly could. And yet, controversy continues to follow them.

The latest example of this comes in the form of the largest medical malpractice award in Arizona history; a Maricopa County jury delivered a unanimous verdict Friday against Banner Health, and more specifically the company, its employees and one specific doctor, and ruled in favor of the plaintiff for a staggering of $31,550,825 in a medical malpractice case for a severely brain-damaged child.

Amongst the details, some of which are difficult to read, notable is that Banner denied responsibility and refused to make any offer to settle the case. Also, it stated that fetal heart monitoring records that the plaintiff wanted to use to make its case were “accidentally lost”. And when you accidentally lose records that could be used against you in a court of law, it’s difficult to see the positive angle for Banner. We all assume that our medical records won’t be lost in a healthcare facility that we trust; that is not something on the radar of anyone with health issues.

This comes with extremely unfortunate timing, as it currently has the daunting challenge of attempting to win over North Scottsdalians for its plans to build its facility there with a currently tepid level of public support. It needs all of the wins it can get, and this revelation certainly doesn’t help as the local citizenry does their own research on whether or not the proposed facility would be a welcome development.

Perhaps Banner would be best served by setting its focus internally; by getting its house in better order before disrupting thousands of households in North Scottsdale with an unnecessary new hospital. Maybe then it would garner support for its plans instead of facing down the specter of significant opposition.