Former health system CEO to testify in case involving former orthopedic surgeon


Tom VanOsdol, former CEO of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Ascension St. Vincent, will have to testify as the health system defends lawsuits focused on a former orthopedic surgeon at Riverside Hospital, News4Jax reported Dec. 2.

Multiple lawsuits allege Richard Heekin, MD, who allegedly suffered a progressive neurological condition, injured patients. Alleged errors have led to bone fractures, ruptured tendons and severed nerves, and in one case a patient died after allegedly suffering a fracture during surgery. Dr. Heekin retired in 2020.

Ascension St. Vincent has tried shielding Mr. VanOsdol from giving deposition testimony under a Florida law known as the Apex Doctrine. However, a judge ruled Ascension didn't "meet their burden" in showing Mr. VanOsdol should be protected from being deposed, the report said. An appeals court denied a request to review the ruling.

In a 2021 affidavit, Mr. VanOsdol said he wasn't involved in day-to-day operations and didn't know about Dr. Heekin's issues.

Mr. VanOsdol was CEO for Ascension's Florida and Gulf Coast ministry from 2017 to 2022 and currently serves as chief mission integration officer of St. Louis-based Ascension.

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