The Cleveland Clinic is held in extremely high regard. If there was an Ivy League of hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic would be in it. At about this time last year, however, the scientific community's faith in the Cleveland Clinic was shaken.
In an article aptly titled "The Fool at the Cleveland Clinic," Dr. Josh Bloom detailed the pseudoscientific ramblings of a doctor named Daniel Neides. Dr. Neides had written a blog post about how to avoid "toxins" and "chemicals," buzzwords used by alternative medicine practitioners and peddlers of pseudoscience. But that was hardly the worst part.
Dr. Neides also parroted anti-vaccine propaganda. As Dr. Julianna LeMieux remarked, that position is so unacceptable today, that it should be reserved exclusively for a lying ex-physician and an ignorant Playboy Bunny. In response to public criticism, the Cleveland Clinic issued a statement, but that was about it. The article Dr. Neides wrote is still available (though, thankfully, not on Cleveland Clinic's website), and it appears as if he is still employed by the hospital. In other words, for being an anti-vaxx quack, Dr. Neides simply received a slap on the wrist.
Let's hope that the Cleveland Clinic reacts differently to the latest bombshell.
An investigation by USA Today discovered that a surgeon was accused of "anally raping" two patients in 2008 and 2009, yet the Cleveland Clinic "kept him on the staff while reaching a confidential settlement." The accused surgeon left the hospital last summer, which means that the Cleveland Clinic covered up his alleged crimes for nearly ten years.
What is going on at the Cleveland Clinic?
Cleveland Clinic: A Victim of Institutional Arrogance?
Harvey Weinstein and the myriad of men who have been accused of sexual assault in 2017 show that some powerful people behave as if they can do anything they want without any consequences. The same attitude can be true for entire organizations, a phenomenon known as institutional arrogance.
Just like people, there comes a point when certain organizations become so influential that they believe they are exempt from public accountability. Consider the New York Times, which has been caught lying repeatedly about transgenic crops, biotechnology, organic food, and alternative medicine. They have no interest in getting the science right because they have an ideology that they prefer to push. When confronted about their shoddy journalistic standards, they brag about how many Pulitzers they've won.
We're the New York Times. We can do whatever we want.
A similar mindset exists at Columbia University, where America's quack, Dr. Oz, is employed. The university also employs Mark Bittman, a former New York Times writer (of course) who spreads misinformation about agriculture and biotechnology. Harvard University has its own resident science denier, as well, Naomi Oreskes. UC-Berkeley has a "Wi-Fi truther" on staff.
And why not? When you're at the top of the food chain, you aren't accountable to anybody. Is it this mentality that has also afflicted the Cleveland Clinic?
Veni, vidi, oopsy
Rome did not collapse overnight. Instead, the empire succumbed to a long, protracted process of decay. One wonders what role institutional arrogance played in its demise.