Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The unfortunate experiment, updated

Dr. Ron Jones, the last of the three whistleblowers who exposed the "unfortunate experiment" at National Women's Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, published a book about his experience last February. But if you'd rather see a fifteen minute television documentary, this is a very good one.

Here's a reassuring headline for you: "Now teaching and treating patients at U, dentist settles suit for $2M with family of dead teen."

You've got to wonder what the parents of Sydney Gallager are thinking right now. Two years ago their daughter died after having her wisdom teeth removed by Edina oral surgeon Paul Tompach. The Gallagers sued, arguing that Tompach had incorrectly administered general anesthesia to their 17 year-old daughter and failed to provide proper monitoring. The case was settled for over $2 million. The state temporarily suspended Tompach's right to practice.

But while the malpractice litigation was still pending, the University of Minnesota hired Tompach as a clinical professor in the dental school.

Yes, you read that correctly. The U hired a professor whose license had been suspended, and who was still in the middle of a wrongful death lawsuit.

How do you explain this decision? Apparently, you can't. Here is what a U spokesman told the Star Tribune.

The U hired him a few days after the state lifted the final restrictions on his license, said Erin McHenry, a spokeswoman for the university's Academic Health Center. "He teaches oral surgery to residents and supervises oral surgeries," McHenry said. She added on Tuesday that he also performs dental procedures at the university.

As for hiring someone while wrongful-death litigation was pending, McHenry said, "The credentials and training of candidates are reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Tompach is a highly trained surgeon with a strong academic background."

And so it goes. Will anyone care, other than the parents of Sydney Gallager? It seems unlikely.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Last Great Disgrace

If you teach the case of the Willowbrook hepatitis study in a bioethics class, be sure you have seen this documentary first. It might well change your views of the case dramatically.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A look back at the whistleblower who exposed the horrifying conditions for disabled children at the Willowbrook State School

If you've ever seen The Last Great Disgrace, the 1972 documentary that exposed the disgraceful conditions at the Willowbrook State School in New York, you probably remember Dr. Michael Wilkins, the physician who blew the whistle. A television crew in Kansas City tracked him down last week.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Don't forget the hush puppies

If you've never been to a fish camp in Gaston County, North Carolina, you really need to start planning a trip. You'll want to go on a busy night, to make sure the waitress brings the seafood to your table directly from the fryer while it's still hot. Our favorite growing up was Lineberger's, but other people liked Stowe's and Twin Tops. To be honest, you can't really go wrong unless you make the mistake of ordering something that is not fried.