EXTRA: Not A Wet Eye In The House: But Much More Work To Do

EXTRA: Not A Wet Eye In The House: But Much More Work To Do


Leonard Zwelling

This is not a happy day for MD Anderson despite what some might think.

The premature resignation of a president is not a time for celebration. It means that things have really gone terribly wrong and this borders on an emergency.

The number of missteps the DePinhos took on their way to the exit door are almost too numerous to count.

Conflict of interest.



Over spending.

Inappropriate rewarding of friends.

Poor hiring decisions.

Lack of caring.

Lack of discovery.

Lack of integrity.

Then the place lost $170 million in four months and Dr. Chin lost over $60 million on a project that led to nothing.

The new Ten Plagues!

The only question left is what took so long, but I have commented about that for weeks and now the inevitable has occurred.

Good, but like one thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, it’s just a start.

The next layer needs to be peeled back. Drs. Dmitrovsky and Buchholz who aided, abetted and enabled this carnage must resign as well. So does Dan Fontaine who was the chief financial officer during the acute fiscal down turn. If anyone was not able to plan for that new healthcare environment Dr. DePInho noted, it was Dan.

The assorted vice presidents below these people might also consider stepping aside.

As for the Division Heads, the leaders of the money losing clinical services, they too should be relieved of their current responsibilities. Heck, that would save millions each year in salaries of the administratively inept.

In the end, this team assembled by Ron DePinho never did understand the meaning of the core values of MD Anderson. They did not instill an atmosphere of caring. The only discovery that they were interested in was those being made in their own labs and which they could patent. And integrity? I doubt these folks can spell it.

I hope that Drs. DePinho and Chin have the decency to leave Houston and move on to other endeavors, presumably in the private sector where money is the metric of success not knowledge. Hopefully, off shore.

This blogger also gives the greatest support to Dr. Hahn as he tries to keep the ship righted, but his job would be made easier if all of these people voluntarily stepped aside so that he can insert a team of his own who can untangle the twisted wreck that is currently the leadership of MD Anderson.

As I said, this is not a happy day and it gives this blogger no satisfaction that rather than have this be dealt with in the first two years when the disaster was obvious and the handwriting was on the wall, despite the mural dyslexia in Austin, it dragged on for over five years, but that’s water under the bridge.

Step one has been taken. Dr. DePinho resigned. His video was worrisome because the words were right, but his contrition seemed forced as if there was a gun to his head out of frame of the camera.

But you don’t expect someone like that to step aside willingly and this was probably the best the Chancellor could get.

What’s next?

I presume that a search for a new president will begin. I suggest that a search firm be engaged and this time the faculty needs to be heavily involved because if they detect a phony, that person will never be any more successful than his immediate predecessor was. And things can always get worse unless you make sure that they don’t.

Every single faculty member and employee at MD Anderson needs to pitch in to help Dr. Hahn be successful in the interim, if he indeed is functioning as the president for now.

But the people who could be the most help are those who should step aside right now.

I think the Chancellor should call for the resignation letters of every member of MD Anderson’s leadership team with a title of vice president or above or that of Division Head.

Now THAT’s a start!

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