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Mayo says it suspected abuse in 'medical kidnapping' case

Accuses CNN of not reporting important facts.

Posted: Aug. 15, 2018 7:21 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Mayo Clinic says it suspected abuse in the case of patient who “escaped” from its care.

CNN published the story “Escape from Mayo Clinic” on Monday. You can see that story by clicking here. In it, a family accused Mayo of “medically kidnapping” their daughter and details their efforts to get her out of the hospital.

Mayo issued a statement Monday, which you can see by clicking here, which called the story “inaccurate” and “incomplete.” Mayo has now said it has sent a letter to CNN describing their objections to the story and how it was reported.

“A team of Mayo Clinic leaders met with CNN for more than four hours to give them context and share insights to inform their reporting and help them see that there were highly complex and sensitive family dynamics involved in caring for this patient,” says Chris Gade, chair, Mayo Clinic Department of Public Affairs. “While we knew the reporter was focused on a pre-determined narrative, the information we provided should have helped them see that their premise was inaccurate. Instead they chose to ignore that information. We were shocked and deeply saddened by the wholly inaccurate and incomplete reporting that was published.”

In the letter, Mayo accused CNN of ignoring concerns for the patient’s safety.

“We chose not to be interviewed by CNN for the story because doing so would bring negative publicity to a vulnerable adult in a suspected abusive family environment,” says Charles (Michel) Harper, M.D., executive dean for practice, Mayo Clinic. “It’s a heartbreaking situation. And, as caregivers, we believe our role is to protect our patient’s well-being and safety. Because of the egregious errors in the story – and the fact that the public is left believing such false and sensational claims about our dedicated and hard-working staff – we were left no choice but to share more information about the situation. This is a decision we do not take lightly, and it is highly unusual for us.”

Mayo also states it never denied a request from the family to transfer the patient to a different facility.

“This case was escalated to the highest levels of leadership, and the care team worked with this family on a daily basis to listen and resolve their concerns,” says Dr. Harper. “The needs, welfare and safety of the patient during a potentially life-threatening situation were our top priority, and at the same time we were dealing with a very complex situation with extremely challenging family dynamics involving a vulnerable patient. Information given to us by family members, and behavior we experienced ourselves, compelled us to notify authorities of our concerns.”

The text of the letter is below.

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