As the academic misconduct case involving Washington University in St Louis Associate Professor, Dr Timothy Kulko, continues to garner intense interest, the public is increasingly frustrated in not obtaining any information concerning possible sanctions that might be levied against the colonel. Before his retirement he was on staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and treated Iraq War casualties with serious lower-limb injuries incurred during the Bush administration War in Iraq.
First: I believe Washington University’s reluctance to discuss this matter is appropriate. I also cannot condemn Dr Kuklo’s strict refusal to respond to any inquiries concerning this matter, however, frustrating that may be.
“To protect the people involved, and the integrity of an investigation, Washington University does not confirm whether any particular case is under review,” spokeswoman Joni Westerhouse stated on Tuesday in an AP story.
Clearly, given his training as a lawyer at Georgetown and possible counsel, he has been advised to maintain his silence. The New York Times which has extensively consulted my blog postings on this matter has run two articles which elevated an inside baseball matter between the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and Walter Reed into a growing controversy. Colonel Kuklo’s faked his research in order to sell Medtronic’s Infuse protein-bone growth product; he lied about four co-authors who did not particpate in the study; the JBJS retracted the article in which this army surgeon falsified data concerning lower-limb casualties from the Iraq War and as a coward falesly implicated other army officers in this shameful study.
Second: When an academic institution is considering sanctions against an academician, it should conduct its inquiry in secrecy. The public, including the New York Times should have its efforts resisted to acquire information. As one who has been involved in controversy concerning a suspension and academic freedom to protest robustly war, I prefer that administrators not comment on pending cases of controversy which might unnecessarily influence internal proceedings.
Third: Suspension from an academic appointment is a major sanction that must never result from external-public pressure on an academic institution. However, third parties in a democracy may vigorously advocate sanctions or the reverse. The American Association of University Professors guidelines should be adhered to by an institution to insure fairness and due process is afforded the individual. Suspensions can only be meted out, “if immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened.” The A.A.U.P. Polcy Documents and Reports Redbook reiterates in numerous documents the extraordinary circumstance under which an academician may be suspended in the United States. The documents are the ninth “1970 Interpretive Comment” of the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” the “1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings” and the revised 2006 “Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.”
Fourth: I believe Dr Kuklo prior to any final determination of his status should be suspended, with full pay and benefits, and prohibited from treating patients or carrying out any of his duties. His article, that has been withdrawn from the medical literature, may have already caused harm to patients in its falsification of the efficacy of Medtronic Corp. Infuse. Claiming it was 92% effective from a ghost, non-existent study cohort, it may have been used by orthopaedic surgeons or physiatrists to rehabilitate injured persons. Dr Kuklo has apparently lost all sense of professional obligation to “do no harm” and indeed may have caused grievous harm by his actions to leg-injured persons desperately seeking limb restoration or healing.
Washington Univesity in St Louis School of Medicine should announce a suspension so patients will not be distracted or frustrated in attempting to make appointments and to insure a smooth transition in the interim. That is certainly appropriate because it would serve the public interest. It could be argued that Dr Kuklo does represent a clear and present danger to patients that he is treating at Washington University and that he should be suspended from all duties pending an ultimate finding of his suitability to maintain his tenured appointment. I believe the public interest is a factor in insuring that professional excellence in administering health care not be compromised.
Other articles on disgraced Colonel Kuklo:
May 17, 2009 Dr Riew first critiqued
comments and information to Kirstein@sxu.edu