(CN) – The Vatican’s children’s hospital Monday threatened to sue the Associated Press over its investigation into quality of care problems.
In a statement Monday, the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital dismissed AP’s reporting as a “hoax” and threatened to sue over what it said were news service’s “false, dated and gravely defamatory” accusations.
The AP reported Monday that the Vatican authorized a secret inquiry in early 2014 that gathered testimony from dozens of current and former staff members of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital.
The Vatican investigation allegedly confirmed that the mission of “the pope’s hospital” had been lost and was “today more aimed at profit than on caring for children.” Doctors and nurses at the Vatican hospital were angry that corners were being cut, safety protocols were being ignored and sick children were suffering.
The hospital cited a second Vatican-commissioned report by a team of Americans who spent three days at the hospital in 2015, “disproved” the first report and declared Bambino Gesu in many ways “best in class.”
Earlier on Monday, the AP quoted Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University’s Global Health Institute, as saying the number of problems at the Vatican’s children’s hospital identified in its suggests the institution needs a complete overhaul.
Jha said the diverse issues highlighted by the AP — including bringing children out of anesthesia early and a superbug outbreak that killed eight children in the cancer ward — would likely be addressed much quicker if they arose in the U.S.
He says “I would not expect to see this in a good American hospital, let alone a premier children’s hospital.”
In a statement, Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital spokesman Greg Burke said “No hospital is perfect, but it is false and unjust to suggest that there are serious threats to the health of children at Bambino Gesu.”