After stepping down amid allegations that he arranged for well-connected individuals to receive coronavirus vaccines, the COO of Chicago’s Loretto Hospital released a statement Saturday saying he's become a "'distraction" to staff.
On Wednesday, Dr. Anosh Ahmed, the hospital’s COO and CFO, tendered his resignation, and the hospital’s board unanimously accepted it.
He released the following statement on Saturday:
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. 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.
As I depart Loretto Hospital, I will look back at all of the accomplishments that were made during my tenure as COO. When I joined Loretto’s leadership team in 2018, I purposefully chose to work at a hospital located in an underserved community. Working with other dedicated and like-minded leaders, we greatly improved the quality of care, expanded service lines, and significantly improved the financial condition of a hospital on the brink of bankruptcy.
It is unfortunate the present controversy is overshadowing the good work the hospital is doing to fight COVID-19 by testing and vaccinating residents in the Austin community and City of Chicago. To my dismay, prior to my resignation, Loretto chose not to share exculpatory data from their COVID vaccination audit with the public. This data clearly shows great things have occurred at the hospital to fight this deadly virus. Specifically, the hospital tested over 23,000 people and vaccinated 16,000 people, of which more than 4,000 live in the Austin community. Of the 16,000 vaccinated, nearly 70% are persons of color--far exceeding the outreach efforts of just about everyone else on the front lines. Moreover, the audit revealed that only 200 people vaccinated were not yet qualified to receive a shot. That means only 1.25% of those vaccinated were not qualified, and of those persons, many received vaccinations that would have otherwise been discarded at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, stories of my involvement of providing vaccines outside of the community became daily media and political fodder instead of focusing on the pandemic and expanding access to healthcare services in the Austin community and beyond.
I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish during my tenure at the hospital and I hope, with my resignation, they will continue to move in the positive direction and remain an asset to the community. It is my hope the city will immediately reinstate Loretto’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
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, including a restaurant and a jewelry store.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she believes that there is at least one more incident of Loretto giving out vaccines privately, and that she is waiting on an internal audit by the hospital before deciding how to proceed with any further action.
Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health 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.
“There should be an independent investigation to determine the specific uses of every dose they’ve been allocated,” Lightfoot said.
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.
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.