UK appeals ruling requiring release of children's hospital surgery documents

jcheves@herald-leader.comApril 25, 2013 

University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children's Hospital. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

The University of Kentucky on Thursday sued a public radio reporter who requested documents about surgeries at Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Brenna Angel, a reporter at WUKY-FM 91.3 in Lexington, submitted an Open Records Act request to UK in December for documents related to the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program, which has been suspended pending an internal review.

UK refused to release many of the documents, citing federal patient-privacy laws, but the state attorney general's office sided with Angel.

UK is appealing the attorney general's ruling by suing Angel in Fayette Circuit Court. (It is not suing the radio station, which it owns.) The case is assigned to Judge James Ishmael Jr.

"The open records requests impact three competing values — the right of the public to know what transpires at a public institution, the right of individual patients to privacy and the obligation of the health-care providers to engage in critical self-examination so as to improve patient quality and safety," said William E. Thro, UK's general counsel.

Following the attorney general's ruling in March, the Herald-Leader filed a similar open records request to the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program. UK denied the newspaper the same records it had denied Angel.

John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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