HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Friday, July 28, 1995, page 28A

                 BOY'S DEATH TO BE PROBED

                  Physician is suspended

              by Lydia Sum and Ruth Sorelle

       Saying they fear a "serious and immediate threat to
public health," Texas Department of Health Officials sought
permission Friday to investigate the death of a 5-year-old
boy after a circumcision.

       Meanwhile, Doctor's Hospital-Airline has suspended
the anesthesiologist present during the July 18
circumcision, pending outcome of a peer review investigation
and final autopsy of Jeremie Johnson.

       The boy died Tuesday after a week in a coma and on
life support.

       Dr. T. Jose Tovar was suspended July 18, said
Doctor's Hospital spokeswoman Jan Haines.

       Family members said they brought the boy to the
hospital that day for the 30-minute procedure but he stopped
breathing afterward and had to be resuscitated.

       A secretary for Tovar said the physician declined
comment.  Haines called the suspension routine in such instances.

       Dr. Tovar has had many good years at this hospital,"
she said. "He has always been in good standing here and many
know him in his field."

       In Austin, spokeman David Vaughn said TDH officials
asked the federal Health Care Finance Administration, which
oversees Medicaid payments to find out why the boy died.

       The heath department's bureau of heath care quality
and standards and the HCFA share responsibility to monitor
patients' treatment in Texas hospitals, Vaughn said.

       He says he expects the investigation to begin early
next week.

       The boy's mother, British Gaines, expressed
frustration Friday at the lack of explanation as to why he
went into a coma.

       Preliminary autopsy results only described the boy's
medical condition when he was transferred to Texas
Children's on July 18, Gaines said.  Final results are not
expected for another eight weeks.

       "It's very sad because I was thinking we'd actually
find out something, but there are just these big, medical
terms that don't tell us anything we don't already know,"
said Gaines, 23.

       In recent years, fewer boys have been circumcised
because of conflicting medical opinion as to its necessity.
But in some cases, medical conditions make it necessary.

       Gaines said she thought the procedure on her son was
successful until Dr. Michael Morris, who performed the
circumcision told her the boys heart had stopped and he had
resuscitated him.

       Johnson was immediately transferred to Texas
Children's, where he was in intensive care until his family
decided to have him removed from a respirator Tuesday.

       Gaines said Morris visited her son at Texas
Children's to examine the result of the circumcision.  She
said Tovar also visited them at Texas Children's on July 18.

       He said he was sorry, that he didn't know what
happened, and patted me on the back," Gaines said.

       Tovar graduated from medical school in Bogota,
Colombia, according to the Texas Board of Medical Examiners
and has been licensed in the United States since August 15,
1970.  Board records show no disciplinary actions against him.


               by Lydia Lum and Ruth Sorelle

       Autopsy reports may be released today explaining why
a 5-year-old boy died this week after a circumcision.

       Doctors at Texas Children's Hospital removed Jeremie
Johnson from a respirator Tuesday, said Brenda Gaines, the
boys great-aunt.  He had been in a coma for a week, she said.

       Gaines said the ordeal began July 18, when she and
his mother, British Gaines took the boy to Doctor's
Hospital-Airline for a circumcision.  Brenda Gaines said
they believed the 30-minute procedure went successfully
until a doctor told them the boy's heart had stopped in the
operating room shortly after the operation.

       The doctors resuscitated the boy and put him on a
respirator, Gaines said.  He was taken by Life Flight
helicopter to Texas Children's she said.

       She said the boy never woke up.

       "At first we thought he was just sick because he just
looked like he was asleep. Brenda Gaines said.  "But the
doctors said he was cold as ice."

       Jeremie remained in intensive care for a week and his
mother kept a continuous vigil that resulted in her losing
her waitress job, Gaines said.  Doctors at Texas Children's
hospital had given the boy a 50-50 chance of awakening, she said.

       Doctor's Hospital officials are investigating
Jeremie's death, according to a statement issued by B. Lee
Brown, the hospital administrator.

       We offer our deepest condolences to the family of
Jeremie Johnson," said B. Lee Brown.  "We have begun an
in-depth review of the case to learn more about this
tragedy.  We hope to obtain additional information from
Texas Children's Hospital to assist us in our
investigation."  Doctors Hospital refused further comment.
Texas Children's spokeswoman knew little about the boy's case.

HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Friday, July 28, 1995, page 28A 

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