The director of the Annapolis hospital nursery where three babies were mistakenly poisoned has resigned without explanation, Anne Arundel Medical Center confirmed yesterday.
Dr. Sandra Lee Loeb, a neonatologist who was hired in January 1994 to supervise the opening of the critical care nursery, notified hospital officials Feb. 27 that her last day would be March 3, said spokeswoman Carolyn Shenk.
Dr. Loeb's assistant, Teresa Blocker, a neonatal nurse practitioner, also resigned.
The doctor's resignation came about a month after three newborns suffered breathing difficulties after they were given morphine accidentally. However, Ms. Shenk said the resignation was not related to that incident.
"She did not give an explanation," Ms. Shenk said. "Medical staff comes and goes all the time. It's not unusual. We have a great deal of respect for her and were sorry to see her leave."
When reached at her Annapolis home, Dr. Loeb would not comment. Her attorney, David Levin, did not return phone calls yesterday. Ms. Blocker could not be reached for comment.
The hospital recruited Dr. Loeb and Ms. Blocker from Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Fla., last year to run the unit.
Ms. Shenk speculated that her resignation was related to negotiations between the hospital and University of Maryland Medical School that began about two weeks ago.
The Rebecca Clatanoff Pavilion, under construction on Jennifer Road, is scheduled to open this summer and will house the critical care nursery and all maternity related functions, Ms. Shenk said.
Dr. Loeb will be replaced by Dr. Susan Rindfleisch, who often filled in during Dr. Loeb's absence, Ms. Shenk said.
Dr. Loeb hired Mr. Levin to represent her last month after lawyers for one of the families suggested the hospital may be responsible for seriously injuring one of the infants and tried to question Dr. Loeb and other hospital staff.
The newborns had to be placed on ventilators after pharmacist Susan E. Kron filled a handful of syringes with morphine instead of a blood thinner used to flush intravenous tubes, hospital officials said.
The hospital fired Ms. Kron, who has been charged by the Anne Arundel state's attorney's office with reckless endangerment and practicing without a license. Pharmacy director Larry Bierley resigned.
One baby still is being treated for unrelated medical problems.