They Lie

By

Leonard Zwelling

         It took a while to find out what really happened at My Lai
on March 16, 1968. We still don’t really know what happened in Dealey Plaza on
November 22, 1963. I suspect there is much about 9/11//01 that we will never
know and surely about Edward Snowden, Michael Brown, the Mosad or the Secret
Service agents’ favorite past times when they aren’t actively guarding the
President—wink, wink.

         There are three reasons we don’t know.

         The first is that the truth has not been actively
pursued by the authorities vested with the power to pursue that truth. I think
this is true of the Kennedy assassination. The story we’ve been told about Lee
Harvey Oswald may well be right on, but no one in my generation believes it
because a bunch of old white guys who look like we do now were not to be
trusted. They were all over 30.

         The second is that the truth cannot be known because the
historical record is inadequate or destroyed. This also may characterize the
Kennedy assassination and surely does the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson. It
may well be the final outcome of the current Clinton Foundation foreign donors
mess because Mrs. Clinton ditched many of her emails. Who knows what deals were
made with the Russians or large donors? No iPhone when it was really needed.
May even be true in Baltimore. We will know Friday, we hope, but I bet not.

         But surely, the most common reason is the third—someone
lied.

         The great fictional diagnostician Greg House MD always said
“everybody lies” and on many occasions in the TV series he proved that to be
true. Lies were often the great impediment to his team making a correct
diagnosis. The point was not only that people lie, but they lie even when it
isn’t good for them.

         Most lies are perpetrated by people who believe the lying IS
good for them. Here are a few examples:

         Richard Nixon saying he was not a crook.

         Ronald Reagan saying he did not trade arms for hostages in
the Iran Contra scandal.

         Bill Clinton and “not having sexual relations with that
woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

         Barack Obama and his saying “if you like the health
insurance you have you can keep it,” when he and everyone on Capitol Hill knew
that was a lie.

         Everybody lies.

         So it should come as no surprise that the leadership of MD
Anderson regularly lies.

         Here are my Top Ten Greatest Hits of the Lies from Pickens a
la David Letterman’s Top Ten List:

         10. They say they believe in transparency, when no one has a
clue what the budget really is.

         9. They say they believe in research excellence when truly
lack luster candidates are given enormous jobs with accompanying resources.

         8. The President says he cares about this great faculty. No
he doesn’t. His actions belie his words.

         7.  Dr. DePinho has
also pledged to cure 5 or is it 8 or is it 3 or whatever cancers in 5 years.
What a bunch of hogwash!

         6. Dr. Burke had to fire Raph Pollock. Really? Dr. Pollock
doesn’t even know why he was fired, but I do. Raph told the leadership what it
would take for him to accomplish their proposed activity goals in the OR and
they didn’t like his answer.

         5. The party line is that Dr. Kleinerman resigned and she
was thinking about it for several months. Baloney. I know this situation pretty
well. Genie did not want to resign but was forced to by Dr. Dmitrovsky and Dr.
Buchholz at the point of a metaphorical bayonet, Luka Brasi style.

         4. Dr. Kalluri is an excellent choice to head Cancer
Biology. Unlikely given he was rejected for a far
lesser job as Dean of the Grad School.

         3. Dr. Chin is going to Austin on a mission for the UT
System. Why would she unless forced to? They had to get her out of town as a
last ditch effort to save the DePinho Presidency.  Fortunately, it won’t work.

2.
MD Anderson is the number one place for cancer care. Well, it was before Dr. DePinho
got here.

1.”I
am the best President MD Anderson ever had,” Ron DePinho told all who would
listen.  Not only isn’t this remotely
true, but Dr. DePinho will probably be the MD Anderson President with the
shortest tenure.

I
guess it is OK for the government to lie to us, the lawyers to lie to us, and the
courts to lie to us. Even the police used to be able to lie until smart phones
intervened. It’s just not OK for doctors to lie and especially those in
academic medicine where truth telling is the major product.

The
top level of administration at MD Anderson needs to go not because they are
incompetent, although they are; not because they are nasty, although they are;
and not because they are lack luster and lazy intellectually, even though they
are. They need to go because THEY LIE!

Leonard Zwelling