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And it never has had any comment since the curious 2008 death of one of its faculty in a private plane crash. People who knew John Borchers at Stanford added their praise to this glowing obituary; and only if you bother scrolling down to the very last comment on the story do you discover (details here) that Stanford had hired a man with ten years of substance abuse behind him, and that Borchers took his plane up with the following substances in his body:

In addition to cocaine and Prozac, toxicology tests by the FAA turned up opiates, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotic drugs…

A raging addict was treating addicts at Stanford University, and Stanford never got anywhere near acknowledging that, much less explaining why it thought it was safe to have this man in patient care.

… Borchers was … under investigation by the Medical Board of California and in danger of losing his medical license. According to the NTSB, an April 22, 2008, accusation by the [Medical Board of California] “documented a history of substance dependence and abuse for more than 10 years preceding the accident, involving the misuse of at least four different substances (including alcohol) and treatment through at least six different programs for substance-related disorders during that period.”

A raging addict took a plane up at night, and if he hadn’t managed to crash it into a mountain, he might well have crashed in nearby Incline Village, killing people.

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So, the problem with failing to acknowledge mistakes like this is that they keep getting made. Look, for a recent case, at how many incidents it took before the University of New Mexico dismissed its chief lobbyist.

Chief lobbyist. The person who represented the university to the state government. A huge alcoholic, he’d racked up his third DWI (plus a non-DWI alcohol-related arrest) before the university finally pulled itself together and fired him.

This man is well-connected (‘son of longtime state Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra’) and in a vastly corrupt, crony-ridden state like New Mexico I suppose that takes you some distance. But even in that context… Jeez.

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4 Responses to ““[T]he Stanford University School of Medicine had no comment.””

  1. adam Says:

    The third DUI that he racked up wrecked him.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Rectum? Damn near killed him.

    My father used to love to say that.

    And thanks for the correction.

  3. MattF Says:

    The outbreak of rationality at UNM is probably due to ‘personal’ factors among the UNM managers. In particular, I’d guess that Saavedra found himself dealing with a number of people who had gotten over drinking problems– and who understood that giving a drunk one more chance wasn’t the right way of dealing with the situation.

  4. Jack/OH Says:

    The boozed-up or drugged-up worker makes administrative fairness a bear, maybe next to impossible. Worker Smith and Worker Jones are both heavy-duty drunks presenting with the same public behavior. Worker Smith is enabled by an expert admin ass’t, and enjoys the favor of local political heavies. Worker Jones is not enabled by his subordinates, his work suffers and drags down the organization, and he’s politically unconnected. What do you do that’s fair to both? (BTW-I don’t know.)

    The only guy I know who was kicked into rehab was publically insubordinate to his superior. A talented manager, he cut back on liquor, and moved to a better job that he liked more, and which doubled his income.

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