Beebe Leaders Discuss Earl Bradley Settlement, Hospital's Future - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Beebe Leaders Discuss Earl Bradley Settlement, Hospital's Future

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- Leaders at Beebe Medical Center said they have taken steps to prevent another Earl Bradley case, but they cannot say whether the area will see a similar tragedy in the future.

Jeffrey Fried, hospital president, and Bill Lee, chairman of the board of directors, sat down with WBOC for their first interview after settling a class action lawsuit against the hospital this week filed on behalf of Bradley's victims.

Lee said he is confident the hospital has the best possible systems in place to prevent another case.

"Can I guarantee that it's not going to happen again? Frighteningly, I can't," said Lee. "This was an outstanding doctor, and he was a pedophile and he was a monster."

Fried said the $123 million settlement will help the hospital avoid bankruptcy while providing the victims with as much money possible.

"I think, considering how horrific a situation it was, it was best possible outcome that existed to address the needs of the children and the families," said Fried.

Bradley is behind bars after a Delaware judge convicted him on child sex abuse crimes last year. In court proceedings, prosecutors said Bradley sexually assaulted dozens of young patients at his medical practice over a period of years, in many cases recording the acts.

The convicted pedophile once worked at Beebe before moving into his own private practice; Lee said Bradley also treated the children of some hospital staff.

"He was a respected physician who turned out to be a pedophile and a monster," said Lee. "The personal impact on Beebe staff was large."

During a court hearing in November, Fried revealed that Beebe decided to take responsibility for the case and opted against fighting the lawsuits from victims' families.

"We decided early on that the money should go to the victims and not the lawyers," Lee said.

Fried said he plans to restore credibility to the hospital by providing great medical care and emphasizing Beebe's role as a community hospital. But for some, the Bradley case delivered a tough reality check.

"When it comes to protecting our children, we can't give anybody the benefit of the doubt," Fried said.

The president said the hospital has implemented a more diligent hiring process, which includes new state rules as well as background checks.

An arbitrator could start distributing settlement money by early 2013, said Bruce Hudson in a phone interview on Monday. Hudson is an attorney who represented some of the victims' families.

"I'd like to say we feel their pain but that's empty because you can't possibly understand the pain a parent goes through in this situation," Lee said of the victims and their families. "But we're aware of their pain and we want to do everything we can to make their future better."

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