Former CEO of hospital dies in crash in France |

Former CEO of hospital dies in crash in France

Bob Karp, who served as the interim CEO of Aspen Valley Hospital when it was pulling out of debt, and his wife, Sondra, died Thursday in a car wreck in France. A letter from the U.S. Embassy provided by the family said the Karps died from multiple injuries suffered while driving on a highway to Chateauroux. Family members declined to comment.Karp, a retired cardiovascular surgeon, was initially hired as CEO for a couple of months, starting at a moment’s notice, on Jan. 5, 2004. He ended up staying through September 2004 and is widely credited with beginning changes that pulled the hospital out of a steep dive. As the CEO of Aspen Valley Hospital during troubled times, Karp also got his share of flack. “Due to a variety of circumstances, Dr. Karp had a difficult job,” current hospital CEO Dave Ressler wrote in an e-mail to staff members Friday morning, “but his focus was always on the viability of the hospital and the provision of the highest quality of care.”During 2003, Aspen Valley Hospital was hemorrhaging nearly $1 million a month. Discontent had spread among the hospital staff and through the community.Karp and financial expert Jim Carris went through an intensive process sorting through thousands of financial documents, trying to right the course. The fallout was painful, with layoffs of more than 10 percent of the work force. By mid-July, Karp was able to announce, “We’ve managed to stop the ship from sinking.”Ressler remembered Karp as a good friend who was a quick-witted voice of reason.”I met with him often and we shared many perspectives,” Ressler wrote. “Most importantly, Bob cared deeply about the hospital and remained interested in everything that we have done and are planning to do. He will forever have my deepest admiration and appreciation.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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