Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The unfortunate experiment, updated

Dr. Ron Jones, the last of the three whistleblowers who exposed the "unfortunate experiment" at National Women's Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, published a book about his experience last February. But if you'd rather see a fifteen minute television documentary, this is a very good one.

Here's a reassuring headline for you: "Now teaching and treating patients at U, dentist settles suit for $2M with family of dead teen."

You've got to wonder what the parents of Sydney Gallager are thinking right now. Two years ago their daughter died after having her wisdom teeth removed by Edina oral surgeon Paul Tompach. The Gallagers sued, arguing that Tompach had incorrectly administered general anesthesia to their 17 year-old daughter and failed to provide proper monitoring. The case was settled for over $2 million. The state temporarily suspended Tompach's right to practice.

But while the malpractice litigation was still pending, the University of Minnesota hired Tompach as a clinical professor in the dental school.

Yes, you read that correctly. The U hired a professor whose license had been suspended, and who was still in the middle of a wrongful death lawsuit.

How do you explain this decision? Apparently, you can't. Here is what a U spokesman told the Star Tribune.

The U hired him a few days after the state lifted the final restrictions on his license, said Erin McHenry, a spokeswoman for the university's Academic Health Center. "He teaches oral surgery to residents and supervises oral surgeries," McHenry said. She added on Tuesday that he also performs dental procedures at the university.

As for hiring someone while wrongful-death litigation was pending, McHenry said, "The credentials and training of candidates are reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Tompach is a highly trained surgeon with a strong academic background."

And so it goes. Will anyone care, other than the parents of Sydney Gallager? It seems unlikely.