Dr. Bigby should go
DPH could have averted twin scandalsIn recent months, Massachusetts has been rocked by two major scandals involving theDepartment of Public Health. It
has been clear for some time that in both cases the state’s
procedures were seriously flawed. This week, it became clear that the woman in overall chargeof these matters, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, has nosatisfactory answers as to how and why these disasters were not prevented.
The first, involving rogue chemist Annie Dookhan at the state’s drug
-testing lab in JamaicaPlain, has resulted in the release of dozens of individuals previously convicted of drug-relatedcrimes, and is likely to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in additional litigationcosts.The other, still more serious case, is the fungal meningitis outbreak at a Framinghamcompounding pharmacy, an unfolding tragedy that thus far has killed 36 people and sickenedhundreds of others nationwide.Either scandal alone would call into serious question oversight procedures within the DPH, aswell as the leadership abilities of those responsible for ensuring public safety.On Wednesday, Dr. Bigby addressed the drug lab scandal before a joint committee of lawmakerson Beacon Hill. She cited numerous violations of protocol, but appeared unable to satisfy
State Rep. Harold Naughton, D-Clinton, told the Boston Herald he knew no more about thescandal after the three-hour session than he had before. And Rep. George N. Peterson Jr. joined
other House Republicans in signing a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick calling for Dr. Bigby’s