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Wayne State pediatricians being evicted from DMC Children's Hospital, dean says

Wayne State University
Paulette Parker
Michigan Radio

The leader of Wayne State University’s medical school says the Detroit Medical Center is committing an “egregious act” by no longer allowing the university’s pediatricians to see patients at the DMC's Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Dr. Mark Schweitzer announced the change in a note obtained by Michigan Radio.

In that note, Schweitzer said many of the pediatricians have treated patients at the hospital for decades. He said the Children’s Hospital has an “open medical staff” policy allowing qualified outside physicians to practice medicine at the facility.

Schweitzer says Wayne State University doctors remain qualified. But the ownership of Detroit Medical Center has told them they can no longer care for patients after July 1st.

“Preventing pediatricians from seeing Detroit children is unfathomable and will leave families wondering why their children can no longer be cared for by the best physicians, some of whom have formed lasting relationships with their children,” Schweitzer wrote in the note.

In a phone call with Michigan Radio, Schweitzer says he first learned of the change just days ago.

“This has happened in the last 2 to 3 days,” he says. “And we will try and protect the children to the best way that we can. And I have yet to find a solution, but I will do my best to try and find one.”

Schweitzer says the change affects approximately 25 teaching physicians. It does not affect medical students.

He says he’s not sure yet how many patients will be affected, though he noted two of the pediatricians specialize in treating children who have AIDS.

Schweitzer blames the change on the Detroit Medical Center’s parent company, Tenet Health, which is based in Dallas.

“This is an example of taking money from Southeast Michigan, from Detroit, and sending it to Texas, and to disadvantage patients,” he says. “And it makes no ethical or moral sense whatsoever.”

Schweitzer says the change does not appear to be related to the response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the timing doesn’t help.

“It’s really medically inappropriate timing,” he says, adding that the resources being spent on the disagreement could better be spent taking care of patients.

Schweitzer says he is hopeful DMC’s parent company will reverse the decision before July 1.

The Detroit Medical Center has not yet responded to Michigan Radio’s request for comment on the situation.

Michigan Radio listeners, readers, and reporters are rising to the challenge every day. If you can, please support essential journalism during this crisis.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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