Cooper CEO Was “Distraught” Over Critical Report

The CEO of the Cooper University Health System was troubled by a report criticizing the hospital on the day he died, witnesses say, but family members say work woes wouldn’t have spurred John Sheridan to commit murder-suicide.

John and Joyce Sheridan were found dead in their New Jersey home last fall. On Friday, the Somerset County prosecutor officially ruled their deaths a murder-suicide, a conclusion family members vigorously dispute.i

NJ.com reports:

On the day he allegedly killed his wife, John Sheridan was scheduled to meet with employees at the hospital he ran “to discuss the pending release” of a state report critical of its performance in cardiac surgery, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Sheridan, CEO of Cooper University Health System, was “worried that the report would not accurately reflect the high quality care Cooper provides our cardiac patients,” said Cooper University Health Care spokeswoman Lori Shaffer.

But family members are disputing the murder-suicide ruling.

“My father, like any executive who is serious about their career and invested in their organization took criticism of that organization seriously,” said Mark Sheridan. “There is no question my father was not happy about the report that was to be issued. … That said, it is a fantasy to suggest that he would become violent toward himself or especially his wife of 47 years over a report about the efficacy of a doctor who was no longer with the hospital.”

The family has said it will file a lawsuit challenging the results of the investigation.

Trial Starts Today for Accused Cops

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After a week of preliminaries, trial is expected to get under way today for six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused of robbing and shaking down the drug dealers they were supposed to be putting behind bars.

Defense attorneys for the officers — Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, Perry Betts, John Speiser and Michael Spicer — are expected to attack the credibility of federal prosecutors’ witnesses, many of whom are convicted or accused drug dealers. More than 160 drug cases involving the officers have been thrown of criminal court. Read more »

New Joe’s Steaks Wouldn’t Be Possible With Racist Old Name

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To this day, I’m not entirely certain whether Joe Groh was trying to be a good man or simply a good businessman when he chose to change the name of his Tacony cheesesteak shop to “Joe’s Steaks.”

What I do know that it made his life a lot more difficult for a long time. Fans of the shop’s old name, “Chink’s,” were enraged at the switch — convinced Joe had knuckled under to the forces of political correctness. They offered responses that ranged from taking their cheesesteak business elsewhere to outright displays of ugly hostility.

The reaction left Groh wondering if his business would survive.

“It’s the scariest thing in the world to look at an empty store,” he said in the summer of 2013.  Read more »

These Are the 20 Worst People You Will Find on Philly Sidewalks, Ranked

Illustration | Nick Massarelli

Illustration | Nick Massarelli

Ah, spring. It’s finally here. So you take to the streets for a walk, happy to end your long winter hibernation. The sun is shining, you feel the warmth on your skin, your vitamin D levels begin to surge, and the stress begins to roll out of your mind and body … but then, you realize you’re not alone. There are OTHER people on the sidewalks, too. And so many of them are just terrible. These are those people. Read more »

How Trauma Overwhelms Philly Schoolkids

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Photos | Shutterstock.com

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Photos | Shutterstock.com

During the 18 years he was a counselor at Barratt Middle School in South Philadelphia, Steven Hymans became accustomed to seeing students arrive for classes traumatized beyond their years.

“There were so many homicides in the neighborhood,” Hymans said recently. “In my 18 years at the middle school, I saw a lot of trauma, a lot of neglect. I did so much grief counseling while I was there.” Read more »

Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters: A Tribute

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Last weekend, a famous Philadelphian died. He was a dentist. But David Bresler — of Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters fame — was definitely famous locally. Those ads are everywhere. Even at the Phillies game, you run into ads for his pediatric dentistry chain. And look how cool it seems!

I guess this is the part of my article where I publicly shame my parents for not taking me to Doc Bresler’s. I went to some dentist with a Ms. Pac-Man machine in the waiting room, but that was about it. But Bresler’s place is bumpin’.

Bresler, 61, died of complications from surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center. (Per the Inquirer obit, he also “had an extensive collection of beer memorabilia, ‘which is ironic since he never had a beer in his life,’ his family said.”) And I knew Doc Bresler despite never seeing him, and that’s because of his infomercial. I don’t remember where it aired — Channel 48, probably — but his ad is up there in the great pantheon of awesome Philly infomercials along with TNT Amusements and Club Risqué. Read more »

Fumo to Judge: Let Me Off Early, Judge to Fumo: No Way

Former state Sen. Vincent Fumo leaves the James A. Byrne US Courthouse in Philadelphia for a lunch break, Tuesday May 20, 2014. A federal judge has ordered Fumo, who served four years in prison for fraud, to pay $400,000 in additional restitution. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Swanson)

Former state Sen. Vincent Fumo leaves the James A. Byrne US Courthouse in Philadelphia for a lunch break, Tuesday May 20, 2014. A federal judge has ordered Fumo, who served four years in prison for fraud, to pay $400,000 in additional restitution. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Swanson)

Like most people who are convicted of breaking federal law, former state senator Vincent J. Fumo received a sentence that included time in federal prison as well as supervised probation after release. And now that Fumo has completed just over one of his three years of probation, he thinks he should be allowed to end it early and be free and clear. Well, a federal judge just said no. Read more »

Report: Deaths of Cooper CEO, Wife Ruled a Murder-Suicide

John Sheridan, then-CEO of the Cooper Health System, died with his wife in September.

John Sheridan, then-CEO of the Cooper Health System, died with his wife in September.

The deaths of Cooper CEO John Sheridan and his wife, Joyce, has been ruled a murder suicide, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Prior to his death, John Cooper had led the Camden-based Cooper Health System.

Further details were not immediately available.

But that ruling by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey may not be the final word in the matter. The Inquirer also reports also that the couple’s sons are disputing the findings, as well as aspects of the investigation that led to today’s conclusion.

“The disagreement between the Sheridans’ sons – Mark, Matt, Dan, and Tim – and investigators has centered on whether John Sheridan killed Joyce and then himself, as authorities have long suspected, or whether their deaths were a double-murder by a third party, as the family believes,” the Inquirer reports. The family says “investigators did not process doors to the house for fingerprints and ‘left weapons at the scene for more than a month’ – specifically a fire poker in the couple’s bedroom.”

The Sheridans were found in September by firefighters responding to a blaze at their home. Since the, the case has trickled out in series of details without investigators announcing any firm conclusions until today. The family in November hired its own pathologist to investigate and monitor the official investigation.

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