March 7, 2016 / Brooklyn news / Coney Island / Health, Mind & Body

Head surgery: City removes two leaders from Coney Island Hospital

Cut out: City officials removed two Coney Island Hospital leaders and a third retired a month after a controversial emergency-room death.
Brooklyn Daily
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It’s an emergency doctor-ectomy!

The city is removing top leaders from Coney Island Hospital a month after a controversial emergency-room death on Feb. 1. Officials reassigned executive director Robert Hughes and medical director Dr. John Maese from the city-run hospital “to improve the patient experience,” and a chief nurse is retiring, a spokesman said.

Patient Grisel Soto died there last month after workers apparently mistook a serious illness for bad reaction to synthetic marijuana, the New York Post reports. But her death was not the sole reason for the high-level changes, officials aid.

“The changes at the hospital are not related to any individual incident,” said New York City Health and Hospitals spokesman Ian Michaels in a statement.

Soto’s death spurred the agency to extensively review Coney Island Hospital, uncovering leaders there hired 450 employees — mostly nurses — without proper authorization, according to the Post.

Michaels insists otherwise but refused to elaborate.

“I don’t know the steps that actually need to be taken to authorize a nurse,” he said.

Michaels does not know when the review began or ended, he said.

Hughes will be executive director of Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, a post he previously held. Maese will remain in the system at an unspecified leadership role, and chief nursing officer Terry Mancher will retire, Michaels said.

The medical examiner’s office is still investigating Soto’s death. Family members believe she died from undiagnosed meningitis, the Post reported. Investigators are performing additional tests, because the initial autopsy did not reveal what killed the woman, said medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer.

“An examination of the body was completed last month, but the autopsy is not yet finished,” said Bolcer. “Highly contagious meningitis has been ruled out, whether it’s a different kind, we have no idea yet.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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