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4/6/2021 Sen. de la Cruz, Rep. Place call for removal of Zambarano med chief

STATE HOUSE, Providence – Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz, (R-Dist. 23, Burrillville, Glocester, North Smithfield) and Representative David J. Place, (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) are calling for the immediate dismissal of Dr. Andrew C. Stone, the chief of medical services at Eleanor Slater State Hospital.

“The situation at the Zambarano Unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital has deteriorated to the point where the chief of medical services needs to be removed,” Senator de la Cruz said.  “Patients, their families and employees are all being negatively affected by the cold and callous treatment of patients and the toxic culture at Zambarano.”

Several doctors have resigned rather than comply with Dr. Stone’s directives, which have included issuing an ultimatum to oxygen dependent patients at Zambarano – that they agree to transfer to the Cranston campus to continue receiving oxygen, or agree to be put on “comfort code measure” status (hospice) to remain at Zambarano.

“The director of BHDDH told us that moving patients was one potential plan, that patients were not under imminent threat of being moved against their will,” Representative Place said.  “Dr. Stone undermined the director and began ordering the move, apparently without her authorization. When the need to move nine patients was identified, Dr. Stone ordered the transfers without any written orders, which is an enormous liability to the hospital and the State of Rhode Island.”

The legislators have been working to prevent the closure of the hospital, which provides desperately-need care unavailable anywhere else in the state to extremely vulnerable patients.  The closure plan was set into motion more than a year ago by Governor Raimondo’s department heads and the legislators have been working with hospital staff, patients, and their families to expose these actions so Governor McKee can stop efforts to close Zambarano. Hospital administrators began planning the closure last year under the guise that services were not needed and then began pressuring physicians to improperly discharge patients.

This is the second time that Senator de la Cruz has called for Stone’s resignation. Shortly after Stone was hired last fall, it came to light that he was convicted four felony counts of open and gross lewdness for exposing himself on multiple occasions to boys in the locker room of a YMCA in Seekonk, Mass.

“Governor McKee needs to step in and fire Dr. Stone,” Senator de la Cruz said.  “The gambling with these vulnerable people’s lives needs to stop.”

For more information, contact:
Katie Haughey Cardoza, Senate Minority Office
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2708