A Note From A Very Concerned Colleague
This was sent to me
in an email that putatively was listed on one of the blogs as a comment, but I
cannot seem to find it. For that reason, I am printing it in full. It
articulates my sentiments better than I ever could.
When the writer is
ready to meet to figure out what to do now, call. We’ll have a beer. On me.
In your September 10th blog post, you referred to the fear of
retaliation that permeates the culture at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The fear
is not limited to faculty and providers. Fear of retaliation exists at all
levels of service. I want to somehow gather all of the good members of both the
faculty and staff, and reclaim this wonderful hospital and important research facility.
“Why? Because fear so permeates the institution that no one
dares raise a finger or a voice when he or she sees misdeeds and injustice
occurring all around. They fear retaliation.
I wish I had known you when you walked among us. We unfortunately
never met. I assure you though, my concern regarding retaliation is based on
years of first hand experience with friends and colleagues being black-balled
and edged out of practice and research at MD Anderson, for speaking-up and
taking a stand.
I gathered my family this afternoon to discuss my response to
your blog. I needed to ensure they understood the potential ramifications to
our family. I do fear my actions will negatively impact my family and my
patients (the treatment are able to access) if I am prematurely discovered.
In your post you asked:
“Finally, have you been able to get a full accounting of your
grants and contract balances that allows you to manage those funds? My
understanding is that the systems that were to be put in place years ago are
Len – I am concerned the mismanagement of research finance
extends far deeper than anyone suspects. I have personally witnessed, at best,
seriously incompetent management, and at worst – blatant financial theft. As
you noted, the systems that were to be in place, to provide financial
transparency of research monies, have been scrapped and millions of dollars
having been spent with nothing to show for them.
I worked with the group for over five years that was to provide
the latest research system that was to solve many of our problems. Like most of
the corrupted projects at MDA, around eight to ten weeks ago, all of the
consultants were gone and the woman “in charge” of the colossal failure was
moved to a different supervisor. There has been no accounting for the years of
effort and millions of dollars that are now simply gone.
Part of the reason research finance is now being spotlighted, is
the planned roll-out of the institution’s new patient record. The verdict is
still out on this new health record initiative. At first look, it appears this
group is sincerely trying to help us help our patients and advance research and
the product is good. On the other hand, one of my colleagues shared some
disturbing news on Friday that indicated a number of protocols may not
‘make-it’ into the system in time. I will look into my colleague’s claims next
week and will keep you posted. I will not be offended by the significant
price-tag of the patient health record initiative IF it actually produces tools
that help us treat patients more efficiently and effectively and advances
I am completely disgusted by the millions upon millions of
dollars that have been wasted on the non-existent clinical research computer
systems at MD Anderson. Hundreds of millions of dollars “gone” and technology
resources for researchers at MDA are still best described as ridiculous.
Someone is profiting from all of the money invested, however, it is NOT the
patients and researchers.
Research finance (and possibly research management) at MD
Anderson requires a serious audit and possible over-haul. The investigation
should cover both mismanagement and potential criminal activity.
Tenured MDA Research Faculty Member