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Little by little…

… we’re getting our education in academic medicine.

Thanks to Senator Grassley, the weird science of some university-sponsored research reveals itself, and even UD, who’s been around, finds it head-spinning.

Here, for instance, is a professor at Washington University defending his colleague, Timothy Kuklo, charged with falsification of data, forgery of documents, and other stuff:

… The inquiry also found that Kuklo falsely claimed other Army doctors helped write the study. … [A colleague said, in defense of Kuklo, that] it’s not uncommon for a researcher to sign other authors’ names to a study after getting verbal consent. It is a practice that is done, for example, when other authors are abroad and do not have easy access to fax machines.

Since Kuklo has so far refused to respond to anyone – in the press or the military – about any of this, we can’t know whether he got the four faxless horsemen’s verbal consent… Or what that consent was for. We do know that sticking lots of names on articles – names of people who have absolutely nothing to do with the project – represents one of many curious folkways of UD‘s fellow professors in med schools around the country. No doubt it’s a short jump from rounding up friends who have nothing to do with your work and pretending that they helped you with it, to just going ahead and putting their names down… forging their names… on the cover page of your study… without permission:

… [Kuklo] falsely claimed had a 92 percent success rate in healing shattered legs of wounded soldiers injured in Iraq, and Medtronic [his client, and maker of the device at the heart of the study] has supported his research, the Times reported.

Kuklo’s study was retracted in March after [the] paper’s publisher, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, received notification from Walter Reed questioning the validity of the report’s conclusions.

“It was further disclosed that much of the paper was essentially false,” the retraction read.

Additionally, four doctors listed as co-authors on the report said they had not seen the manuscript prior to publication, and their signatures were forged on the article before its submission…

But wait! They were detained abroad, bereft of faxes …

It’s not only the weird ways of research we’re learning about. It’s the yet weirder ways in which other researchers defend the research.

Margaret Soltan, May 14, 2009 4:54AM
Posted in: conflict of interest, hoax

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5 Responses to “Little by little…”

  1. Bill Gleason Says:

    we can’t know whether he got the four faxless horsemen’s verbal consent…

    from the NYT article:

    “This was a real letdown for us to have one of our former members do something like this,” one of those doctors Lt. Col. Romney C. Andersen, wrote in an e-mail message Tuesday. Dr. Andersen, now posted at a combat hospital in Baghdad, said he could not comment further without the permission of his commanders.

    It was Dr. Andersen who brought the problem to the Army’s attention last year, prompting the inquiry. In its March edition, at the Army’s request, the journal retracted the article — something that has gone largely unnoticed outside orthopedic circles.

    At our place – University of Minnesota – another Medtronic consultant, Dr. David Polly, commented (NYT):

    A former Walter Reed colleague, Dr. David W. Polly Jr., who is also a Medtronic consultant, said he believed that Dr. Kuklo’s data was “strong” and the episode had been overblown.


    Lord love a duck…

  2. Soraciel Says:

    I wonder about that journal – I used to work as an editorial assistant at a scientific journal and we had to get all authors to sign off on papers. If your author was out of the country and couldn’t be contacted for three months, tough luck. You waited the three months.

    That’s not to say that people couldn’t get around that if they wanted, we weren’t the journal-equivalent of Fort Knox. People could agree that they were co-authors via e-mail, so if the submitter made up a bunch of fake Gmail accounts he could, in theory, okay the authorship through them. However we kept an eye for that sort of thing and in the short time that I was there we definitely caught a few cheaters. Journals need to be careful about their standards.

  3. Andy Hoffman Says:

    Medtronic is unraveling faster than Britney Spears during her "spiraling" phase. http://tinyurl.com/pojupd

    Honestly, what must the Supreme Court be thinking now about its Riegel decision in light of relentless news stories like this one.

    Here’ hoping the Medical Device Act passes soon!

  4. "A Breach of Trust" — HealthFeedr Says:

    […] Hat counsel to and wager boost statement by Prof Margaret Soltan on the University Diaries blog. […]

  5. Health Care. (united health care, universal health care) » Blog Archive » "A Breach of Trust" Says:

    […] Hat tip to and see further commentary by Prof Margaret Soltan on the University Diaries blog. […]

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