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Hillcrest surgeon

We have new information about a Hillcrest surgeon who's come under criticism over the deaths of two patients.

As we first told you last week, the families of those patients and the chief surgeon of that section believe surgeon error played a role in those deaths. News on Six reporter Lori Fullbright has the latest.

Larry Crider's response to his worries about his wife, Christine's death, was to contact a lawyer. Larry Crider, patient's husband: "My wife was only 44. She walked into the hospital and should've walked out. But, after 11 days, she was dead and I have a lot of questions that've never been answered." Christine Crider’s surgeon was Doctor Arshad Yousuf who also operated on Wilburn Millard, who died following that surgery.

His family contacted the same attorney after receiving an anonymous letter that said in part, "several people from the OR complained to the administration regarding Doctor Yousuf’s ability. The letter says mishaps caused Millard’s life to be endangered, shock and low blood pressure, which caused renal failure."

Doctor George Cohlmia, a cardio-thoracic surgeon for 18 years and the chief of that section at Hillcrest for 8, expressed his concerns in letters to Hillcrest administrators. Dr. George Cohlmia: "My responsibility as section chief is the protection of patients under a surgeon's care, including myself." Doctor Cohlmia also raised questions about the process to credential Doctor Yousuf at Hillcrest.

Hillcrest sent us a letter that says in part, the professional affairs committee reviewed the credentialing process and concluded Doctor Cohlmia's allegations are false. The committee has the utmost confidence in Doctor Yousuf's qualifications and skills. Doctor Yousuf's attorney says they still maintain all the allegations are false and malicious and are delighted the professional affairs committee came to the same conclusion. Hillcrest and Yousuf's attorney both told us they could not respond to specific patient issues, because it would violate confidentiality.

A complaint concerning Milburn's death was filed with a national hospital accreditation agency. A spokesman from that agency told us today, they asked Hillcrest to investigate and felt the hospital's explanation of what happened was credible and plausible. They have not received a complaint concerning Christine Crider's death.

We also heard from two of Doctor Yousuf's surgical patients after our first story aired. Both of them praised him as a caring and competent doctor.
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