To Honor or to Investigate?
A number of years ago, I had occasion to meet a local psychiatrist named Dr. Faruk Abuzzahab, a former faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry here at the University of Minnesota. The occasion was a class in medical ethics I was teaching, and which Abuzzahab had been ordered to take. As I later wrote in The New Yorker, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice had judged Abuzzahab a danger to the public and had suspended his license in response to the deaths or injuries of forty-six patients under his supervision, seventeen of whom had been research subjects. Abuzzahab had recruited severely ill patients into profitable, industry-funded drug trials, often in violation of eligibility criteria, and kept them in the studies even after their conditions worsened dramatically. When the board suspended his license, it cited his “reckless, if not willful, disregard of the patients’ welfare.”