New GCMC surgeon has troubled past
By JARED STRONG
A surgeon who was accused of professional incompetency by state regulators three years ago, fined and put on probation, has been hired by the Greene County Medical Center.
Dr. Josh Smith, 51, who has operated on patients at hospitals in surrounding counties as part of Western Iowa Surgery, will begin working full-time March 1 for the medical center in Jefferson.
“Greene County Medical Center’s board of trustees, leadership team and medical staff all take medical staff appointments and reappointments seriously,” said Carl Behne, chief executive of the medical center. “From the beginning, Dr. Smith has been very transparent with us about the Iowa Board of Medicine’s findings. The quality control audits, peer reviews and credentialing reviews we’ve performed have all shown Dr. Smith to produce good outcomes.
“His candor and our review of the findings factored into our decision to employ him directly.”
Smith has operated on patients at the local hospital for the past 17 years, Behne said.
“We have had great success working with him,” he said.
The Iowa Board of Medicine admonished Smith for nine surgeries he performed in Carroll, Manning, Ida Grove and Sac City, primarily for not identifying and treating injuries his patients suffered during the operations.
In one case, a child nearly died when his intestines and aorta suffered cuts during a procedure to remove the boy’s appendix and the injuries weren’t discovered until he was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Omaha the next day.
In another appendectomy procedure, Smith “removed necrotic fat but not the appendix,” according to state documents.
As part of a settlement agreement with the board in February 2016, Smith was fined $5,000 and his work was to be monitored by another surgeon for five years.
“I have chosen to move forward with a new venture to improve the quality of life for myself and my family,” Smith said. “It has been three years since the actions from the board. I have fully complied with all board recommendations and remain in good standing.
“I have maintained a successful practice in Carroll throughout this time and look forward to continuing care for patients at my new location.”