SSI recently received this email from someone who identified himself as a physician and wants to refer SPR victims to Semmelweis:
Please post this to everyone involved in this running feud. I used SSI when I was having my career ruined. Now I don’t know where to send fellow health care providers to when they are getting their lives ruined in a sham peer review. All the clinics and hospitals will use your fued (SIC) against you in court and discerdit (SIC) SSI. Shame on all of you for what you are doing. Both sides of this SSI fued (SIC).
SSI believes that your question is important. As requested, we have posted your email and this response on our website.
If you are mugged and you defend yourself, the casual observer might conclude that you and your mugger are equally and shamefully immoral. Reasonable people know, however, that your morality is not based upon the pedestrian’s casual observations. By raising the specter of shame, you are either profoundly misinformed or are practicing the intellectually lazy doctrine of Relativism. If either is the case, I encourage you to join Dr. Murtagh’s cohorts.
If you read my preliminary investigation and my ongoing investigation you’ll see that “the dispute” began in May 2008 when ex-SSI members James Murtagh and Kevin Kuritzky issued outrageous allegations against UC Professor Peter Duesberg and investigative journalist Celia Farber, with the intent to compel the SSI Board to summarily rescind their 2008 awards without review.
Their complaint called for a competent independent investigation because, if false, their libelous allegations could have professionally harmed both (per se libel) and would have unnecessarily subjected Semmelweis and its Board to unnecessary liability.
As a retired member of the LAPD and licensed investigator who had not heard of the issues, disputants or SSI before 2008, no one was better suited to examine the charges. As soon as I began my investigation however, Murtagh’s camp tried to pressure me into stopping it – going as far as criminal attacks and witness intimidation.
My continuing investigation eventually developed sufficient evidence for this New York Supreme Court lawsuit against and Murtagh and Kuritzky, who are still hiding from process servers. Their co-defendant receives, directly and indirectly, millions of dollars in funding from pharmaceutical and mining companies (and their investors) that avoid billions of dollars in liability by blaming their impoverished black African miners’ silicosis, asbestosis and tuberculosis on “irresponsible sex” (e.g. AIDS). Murtagh, his co-defendants, hedge fund operators, pharmaceutical companies, international mining companies and the UN promote the scam as a “human rights” issue in order to sack Africa’s rich mineral wealth while attacking individuals like Farber and Duesberg who question the arrangement. Without AIDS, thousands of international mining operations in Africa would close – as they almost did in 1995.
So outrageous were Murtagh’s charges that even his collaborators recently distanced themselves – calling him morally repugnant.
If Murtagh’s allegations against Farber and Duesberg were true, he would enthusiastically respond to the civil charges against him - just as SSI did after Ralph Bard filed his frivolous lawsuit against SSI last December. Because of our fact-based response, Bard’s own neighborhood court will soon dismiss his complaints.
So as you can see, the two sides consist of 1) the current board and membership, and 2) “Murtagh’s camp” which libelously tried to rescind the 2008 awards to Duesberg and Farber without evidence – in what anathematically resembles “sham peer review.”
If you read my bio and investigation you’ll see that I have better things to do than keep the peace between SSI and a tiny group of socially dysfunctional ex-doctors. But as a victim of retaliation myself, I never targeted others for personal gain. Murtagh’s camp demonstrates that not all peer review are shams: Their behavior only serves to corroborate whatever allegations were once made against them.
My year-long examination concludes that SSI, its membership, mission and goals are too important to turn over to alleged men who attacked SSI on behalf of individuals like Murtagh and Kuritzky.
What also appears to animate Murtagh’s camp is SSI’s refusal to advertise legal services by ex-doctors. The SSI Board stopped this practice last year when they sensed that SSI’s former ex-doctor-lawyer board members were exploited SSI’s website, name and members for personal gain.
Since those lawyers were removed from Board influence last year, SSI has assisted more than a dozen physicians and nurses with free legal consultation and affirmative defense that has saved their careers at a minimum cost.
Because of the complications of HCQIA and peer review, SSI no longer promotes the use of career doctors who become lawyers for the same reason that we would not encourage surgery by a career lawyer who becomes a surgeon. When it comes to peer review cases, experience matters.
If you’re still confused about what you’ve called our shameful dispute, SSI probably isn’t for you. Our mission and goals are too important to waste time with Murtagh cohorts or those who are easily confused by them: Nor do we waste much time thinking about them. Like other benign pathologies, they will eventually slough off or find softer targets.
As a former US Marine and LA cop, I am proud that the SSI Board stood strong in the face of Murtagh and his enablers. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis knew that courage often exacts a terrible price. Of courage, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression that the loss of courage extends to the entire society.
SSI membership is not for the morally confused or ambivalent. While it takes courage and endurance to fight corrupt multi-billion dollar healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, it would take comparatively little effort to accept the material benefits that would come by surrendering to them in the name of patient safety and Semmelweis.
As long as there are some healthcare professionals who take their Hippocratic Oath seriously, I am proud to remain in that fight.
Semmelweis Society International