As firing looms, Shock Trauma chief may resign He loses support of UMAB president

February 26, 1993|By Michael Ollove and Jonathan Bor | Michael Ollove and Jonathan Bor,Staff Writers

Dr. Kimball I. Maull, beleaguered head of the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, acknowledged yesterday that he may be unable to withstand efforts to oust him and therefore is considering resigning.

Two days after the news broke that Dr. Maull's bosses wanted him out, he addressed a gathering of the Shock Trauma staff, many of whom had bridled under his caustic leadership style. "In all likelihood," he said, "I will not be doing what I intended to in coming here."

A day earlier, Dr. Maull bluntly declared that he would not resign, a position that would force the state's Board of Regents to fire him. When he made that statement, though, Dr. Maull thought he might still enjoy the support of Dr. Errol Reese, president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

But during his remarks yesterday, Dr. Maull said he had learned "about an hour ago" that Dr. Reese would not champion his cause. The day before, the university president had co-signed a letter with Dr. Morton I. Rapoport, chief executive of the University of Maryland Medical System, recommending that the regents dismiss Dr. Maull.

Dr. Maull's attorney, William Marlow Jr., said they had only seen the letter yesterday morning. Suddenly Dr. Maull was confronted with the realization that both of his direct bosses wanted him out.

"I will need to discuss things with my family and consider what's in the best long-term interest of the institution."

Mr. Marlow denied that Dr. Maull was holding out for a large severance package before agreeing to step down.

After Dr. Maull addressed the staff, he took no questions and received polite applause.

Three hours later, Dr. Rapoport stood at the same podium in Shock Trauma's auditorium, telling staff members, "We are recommending a change in leadership" because "we care about you."

The decision to seek Dr. Maull's ouster, Dr. Rapoport said, "was largely made by me."

Dr. Rapoport and other university medical system officials say that Dr. Maull had demoralized much of the staff, especially when he publicly voiced harsh criticism of the care given at the trauma center.

Staff members questioned Dr. Rapoport -- some of them testily -- for an hour, mostly about expected changes at the center. Several of the questions, though, included complaints that the leadership of the center had long ignored their concerns.

Dr. Rapoport announced that John W. Ashworth III, vice president for strategic planning of the medical system, would be interim head of Shock Trauma.

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