“Strike Three-Yer’ Out”

“Strike Three-Yer’ Out”


Leonard Zwelling

         This letter was printed in the Houston Chronicle this morning, Saturday, April 11:

Mislabled group?

Regarding “Hospital closer to union’s censure”
(Page B1, Thursday), the American Association of University Professors is no
more a “union” than are the American Medical Association, the
American Bar Association and the American Dental Association.

Dr. Ronald DePinho labelled it a “union” in an
attempt to disparage the organization that, as others have already done,
exposes his questionable leadership of MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Robert White, Houston

         This is the third
time in less than two weeks that Dr. DePinho’s leadership abilities have been
questioned in the pages of the Chronicle.  First there was “Code Blue” on April 1, an
opinion piece by the Chronicle’s
editorial board:


         this was followed in turn by my letter of comment on “Code
Blue”  on April 5:


         This trend can no longer be considered random or undirected
activity by the only daily newspaper in the nation’s 4th largest
city. This is for real.

         I cannot know why this is occurring now. A friend with whom
I shared my letter as I emailed it in doubted the Chronicle would publish it. Then, the newspaper did. I do not know
Mr. White, but I believe he has written to the Chronicle before on this subject with clarity comparable to that
which his current letter demonstrates.

         To me, there are only two explanations.

         Either the big money from River Oaks, the Board of Visitors
or prominent MD Anderson patients have had about enough of Dr. Ron and his
exiled spouse and whispered in the Chronicle’s
ear to do something; OR, the Chronicle
already knows that the DePinho runway out of town is being greased by the
Admiral in Austin and the journal is jumping on a band wagon far too late but
at least in advance of the news itself. Either way, this is good news for the
faculty and patients of MD Anderson.

         But it is only good news if all of the gathered forces of
DePinhoville are summarily sent to the metaphorical showers and out of the
Great State of Texas. That includes Buchholz, Dmitrovsky, Fontaine and Leach.
It is time to turn a new leaf.  Here are
a few more suggestions:

1. Dump the Making Cancer
History baloney and get back to reality–Fighting Cancer.

2. Put the docs back in charge of patient care. No
offense the nurses work for the patients and the doctors not the other way
around. I have nothing against nurses in white outfits or scrubs. The ones in
the three-piece grey flannel with leather-bound clipboards make me

3. Free up some of that money used for commercialization
and Dr. DePInho’s “Institute for Advanced Cancer Science” and support the basic
science faculty and help them get grants without penalizing them for trying to
scare up support for their research in this awful funding environment.

4. Initiate a series of faculty-led committees to open up
the finances, org chart and pay scale structures of MD Anderson to public scrutiny.
MD Anderson is a state institution for goodness sake. 

5.  Should the
President of MD Anderson really be making $1.8M per year? I don’t think so. What
football game has he won? My guess is that his pay is 1000-times greater than
that of the lowest level employee at MD Anderson. That is just unconscionable
in this economy! It is also just plain wrong. Frankly, not only is the current
President of MD Anderson not worth 1000-times more than a cafeteria worker.
None of the past Presidents of MD Anderson or any other CEO were either.

time has come to clean out the Augean Stables and it won’t take Hercules to do
it. We can all pitch in except for those who played along and fiddled while Ron
burned through the money. They did anything but their fiduciary roles. They
were paralyzed from acting by their fear of job loss or for personal greed.
Either way, they have no place in the future MD Anderson.

2 thoughts on ““Strike Three-Yer’ Out””

  1. Sir
    I don't know anything about whether you're right or wrong but what I do know is that your math can't be right. Saying that he makes 1000 times more than the least paid employee means that employee only makes $1,800 per year or $150 per month…Ridiculous… So if your math can't be trusted what else from your discourse should be doubted?

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