the NIH 32P poisoning incident/having kids

Sarah Boomer sarai at u.washington.edu
Tue Oct 15 14:54:33 EST 1996


I posted awhile ago on the topic of having children in grad. school -
mentioning the whole case at the NIH where the advisor is alleged to have
threatened his post-doc, recommending an abortion, etc. when she announced
that she was pregnant.  The worst allegation, though, remains that he
intentionally poisoned her with 32P, and then again recommended that, for
the baby's sake she abort.  

Some of the recent posts have made similar strong allegations that
advisors use similarly harsh language.  I have heard nearly as blunt
threats issued to colleagues - although only slightly less harsh language
is used:  have you considered "other options."  All flanked by remarks
that this was going to hurt their progress and the success of the lab. 

I think this happens a lot though am frankly stunned to read it discussed
in this forum as though, dare I say, it is almost acceptable. When the NIH
case hit the 60 minutes track, I was floored, in one sense, by the
outrageous allegations.  A part of me, though, was happy that this serious
violation of professional conduct may finally be addressed.  To me, an
advisor is seriously out of line making these kind of remarks.  And yet I
read people on this group openly talking about it. 

What can be done?  Is this right?  I don't understand how this kind of
misconduct gets perpetuated?  Anyone out there got any updates on this
case in particular?

Sarah




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