A doctor with ties to Loretto Hospital took several doses from the West Side Chicago facility to a suburban relative's home as part of a private request, sources and the hospital confirmed Monday.
Dr. Ali Ahmed, president and CEO of Affinity Health, which oversees COVID clinical trials at Loretto Hospital, was allowed to take 10 vaccine doses to a home in Bloomingdale, owned by one of his relatives, hospital officials said.
The hospital confirmed the vaccination doses were given to Ahmed on Jan. 29 as part of a request to vaccinate a terminally ill woman and several others.
Hospital officials told NBC 5 that Ahmed was initially denied permission to take the vaccine to the Bloomingdale home, but the hospital's former COO Dr. Anosh Ahmed, who is not related, signed off on a private request.
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"A request by a hospital partner to vaccinate a terminally ill woman and nine other individuals, including her family members, was made in late January and was approved by a former executive who is no longer employed at Loretto," a spokesperson for the hospital confirmed Monday. "While information provided at the time deemed that these individuals were eligible per city vaccination guidelines, Loretto is no longer approving off site visits that aren’t either hosted by the hospital or community partners and organizations.”
Multiple sources told NBC 5 the terminally ill woman did receive the coronavirus vaccine, but died a week later.
The COO who approved the request has since resigned from the hospital amid allegations that he arranged for well-connected individuals to receive coronavirus vaccines.
"I made the decision to resign my position as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Loretto Hospital because I was becoming a distraction to the heroic work being performed by the nurses, doctors and staff throughout the pandemic," Anosh Ahmed said in a statement. "My decision to resign was not easy. But, after long and careful consideration, and in light of the attacks in the media on my character and intent, many of which were inaccurate or patently false, I decided it was best to leave with a heavy heart."
The Bloomingdale home's vaccination event is the latest incident to come to light involving Loretto Hospital, which has been accused of several improper vaccinations. In a series of stories published in Block Club Chicago, several events have been revealed where highly-connected individuals were able to receive the coronavirus vaccine when they weren’t eligible for it, including at Chicago’s Trump Tower and at several other area businesses.
Allegations of a possible “VIP line” for individuals seeking the vaccine have recently surfaced, but hospital management has said they don’t believe that such a line exists.
"Loretto is very important as a safety net hospital, particularly given the population that they serve on the West Side," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday. "And obviously, they deviated from what I think is their core mission and what should have been the focus during this critical time period, which is driving vaccine exclusively to that West Side population that's so in need and where we still have a lot of work to do to boost the numbers."
The latest report comes as the hospital conducts an internal audit, which was nearly complete, and follows disciplinary actions taken against hospital CEO George Miller, who is currently serving a two-week suspension.
Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health have already pulled all first doses from the hospital in the aftermath of the allegations, giving them instead to Rush University to continue distributing them to the community that Loretto had previously been serving.
The SEIU says that it strongly objects to the city’s decision to withhold first vaccine doses from the hospital, expressing concerns about front line staff at the hospital and about the safety of Austin residents.