August 22, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The hospital system employing two recently fired New Orleans Saints team physicians says its review of the doctors' work yielded no evidence of a ''misdiagnosis'' or even an unusual diagnosis.

The Ochsner Health System review came after the Saints removed orthopedic surgeons Deryk Jones and Misty Suri from the team's medical staff last week.

Coach Sean Payton has said the decision came after cornerback Delvin Breaux learned he needed surgery to repair a fibula fracture that was initially diagnosed as a bone bruise.

A statement Tuesday by Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas and chief medical officer Robert Hart says the hospital system ''routinely reviews any claims of questionable diagnosis, and has taken the time do so in this case.''

''Our medical experts have stated that it is not uncommon for stress-related fractures to be unnoticeable in initial imaging; follow-up diagnostics are always required when a patient doesn't show appropriate clinical progress,'' the statement continued. ''After a very careful and thorough review, we want the record to be clear, Drs. Jones and Suri did not `misdiagnose' an injury.

''Ochsner stands behind the clinical knowledge and expertise of our physicians.''

Payton has said that while Jones and Suri did ''a great job'' for years, the decision to make a change was not based on one event. While Payton did not go into detail about other cases, Breaux is at least the second Saints starter this year to delay surgery because the initial medical opinion was that an operation was not necessary. Another was center Max Unger, who tried to treat foot injury from last season with rest and rehabilitation before deciding in May to have surgery.

''There was a point at which we just felt as an organization that that change was going to be necessary,'' Payton said last week.

The Saints are in the process of hiring replacement orthopedic surgeons from New Orleans or nearby areas for the duration of this season.

The removal of Jones and Suri created an awkward situation because Ochsner is one of the most visible sponsors of the Saints as well as the NBA's Pelicans, whose training headquarters this summer were renamed the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Both teams are owned by Tom Benson, after whom Ochsner's cancer treatment center is named.

Suri, who last year served as a lead orthopedic surgeon for the Pelicans, remains in that position. It also appears that Ochsner is not ready to let the doctors' dismissal by the Saints affect the hospital's business relationship with the NFL club.

''As we have stated previously, Ochsner respects the Saints' decision to change team physicians,'' the statement said. ''We remain deeply committed to our partnership with the Saints and look forward to working together in the future.''


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