Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


August 7, 2013

UK secrecy now on the national stage

Aug. 7, 2013 — We criticized the University of Kentucky three months ago for withholding information about suspected problems in its College of Medicine.

In fact, we asked if UK had forgotten about higher education’s historic commitment to a free and open search for truth.

At the time, UK had sued a reporter from its own public radio station, WUKY, rather than abide by an opinion from the Attorney General’s office that is should release information requested by WUKY’s Brenna Angel under the state open records law.

But now that problem has emerged in the national media with a lead story last weekend on CNN about the deaths of infants following surgery at UK.

As it did in May, the university chose not to be transparent about a high-profile program that was shut down last year – without explanation – at its medical center.

In our opinion, UK should be totally forthcoming and abandon its strategy of hiding behind claims of patient confidentiality.

This matter actually began in 2007 when Dr. Mark Plunkett became chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UK.

His salary of $700,000 a year was justified by UK because he was a highly-regarded specialist in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.

In late 2012, the university said Plunkett was no longer performing surgeries until an internal review could be conducted.

As of Sunday when UK responded to CNN, that review apparently is still underway.

Ms. Angel used the state open records law in her work on an investigative story on the Plunkett situation.

She asked how many surgeries he had done in the last three years, when was the last surgery, what payments had been received for surgeries in 2010 and 2011, what was the mortality rate on pediatric cardiothoracic surgeries in the last three years and had the program been externally evaluated in that period of time.

Text Only
  • Juvenile justice bill finally wins passage

    We complained in this space last month that the General Assembly, specifically the Senate, was headed down the wrong path in its handling of Senate Bill 200, a carefully-crafted, broadly supported effort to modernize Kentucky’s juvenile justice laws.

    April 16, 2014

  • Numbers say stop fussin’ and start fixin’!

    We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again. It is long past time for Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to stop complaining about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start working with the other party to fix the pieces of the massive law that need fixing.

    April 9, 2014

  • Benching Rupp Arena project a mistake

    Folks who believe that college basketball is more important than anything else in Kentucky apparently don’t serve in the State Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Snow days decision can wait no longer

    We had hoped this editorial would not have been necessary by the time you read it in today’s issue of the Journal-Times.

    March 26, 2014

  • Are some legislators smarter than experts?

    Ready - shoot - aim. No good deed goes unpunished. There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Frankfort way. We could go on with pithy sayings about the strange happenings at the State Capitol when the Kentucky General Assembly is in session.

    March 19, 2014

  • Shouldn’t majority rule mean smoke-free?

    Recent statewide polls show as many as 65 percent of Kentucky voters say they are in favor of outlawing smoking in workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

    March 12, 2014

  • Legalized marijuana, hemp must be explored

    Whether you call it marijuana or cannabis or whether you believe someone can get high on industrial hemp, Kentucky is making history with both plants.

    March 5, 2014

  • We must protect against dating violence

    We were encouraged when the leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives came forward last month with House Bill 8 to amend the domestic violence protection laws to shield unmarried individuals in dating relationships.

    February 26, 2014

  • Did Bluegrass Poll predict our future?

    Life may have become much simpler for Kentucky voters recently when the Bluegrass Poll released its most recent survey.

    February 19, 2014

  • Senate race poll attracts national spotlight

    “Mitch has met his match” shouted the headline on the Huffington Post, a trendy, online news aggregator and blog founded by socialite Arianna Huffington.

    February 12, 2014