The efforts of the GMECP began with sharp focus on St. Louis University Medical School. The Project was originally launched in June 2017, and re-branded in January 2018. The Project has subsequently taken on a national GME scope, but maintains attention on St. Louis University, which may serve as ground zero for the coming wave of GME reform. The Media and Updates below reflect some of that birth and history, as well as serve as a resource for those that will follow.
UPDATE 20 Nov 2018
KSDK 5pm News: “Since our story aired, we’ve received nearly a dozen phone calls and emails, all from students and staff. They claim that discrimination and harassment against women have been going on for years, and they want SLU to do something about it.” – PJ Randhawa. (news hotline: 314-444-5231)
20 Nov 2018
This story ran on the KSDK 10pm news on November 19th, in St. Louis.
“‘Residents have left the program but are so fearful once they leave that their board exams will be affected, fellowship and career choices will be affected,’ said Sandy.
“We spoke with several other current and former residents and faculty at the University. All of them say they too experienced sexual harassment at the Medical School. Most of them say they’ve since left the program because they felt their concerns were not taken seriously by the University and because they feared retaliation.”
UPDATE 18 Nov 2018: Amateur phone video capture of one of the spots promoting the exposé, emailed in this morning. There have been at least 3 different spots airing this weekend, one at least 30 seconds in duration. (This is in .mp4 format. If not playable within this window, check out our facebook post today for the video.)
We saw last night that KSDK News is running an ad for an upcoming I-Team 5-On-Your-Side exposé on a St. Louis university, to be aired on Monday, Nov 19th at 10pm. We have not caught the spot on video, but it calls for you to imagine your daughter working hard to get into a prestigious medical school, only to find herself sexually harassed by her professors. A whistleblower will speak up for those that have been silenced. If you find the spot link, please share. We will be following with interest. Stay tuned Monday night.
15 Sept 2018
Brantl v. Univ of Missouri
Dr. Brantl was as neurosurgery resident who was terminated as a senior resident. He alleges and details a very long list of failed due process, ACGME and university policy violations, toxic working and learning environment, harassment and abuses committed by his program director,… These conditions are likely much more common than the ACGME and national residency leaderships want you to know. We have created a page on the GMECP website for this case and will be following closely. Good luck, Dr. Brantl.
08 June 2018
The ACGME perused our website from IP address 188.8.131.52, visiting 8 pages between 0910 and 1058, including some of our articles. We welcome you to join the conversation.
SLU Lawyers to Depose Cancer Victim
04 May 2018
After months of a drawn out Discovery phase in the Rice v. SLU case, the first subpoena for deposition was filed by St. Louis University lawyers (specifically Ogletree Deakins) for a woman who is not directly involved in the suit, but who has lived with the Rices for over 6 months as she has undergone multiple procedures, surgery and months of chemotherapy for cancer. As she has no direct knowledge of pertinent events at the school, her selection as the very first to be deposed in the case might be seen more likely as harassment and an attempt to break into the physician resident’s home life and her conversations with her spouse. Does this tactic reveal the underlying weakness of the university’s case? Or perhaps it speaks to a moral hypocrisy of the self-described Christian institution? From SLU’s website: “The Mission of Saint Louis University is the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity.”
11 January 2018 – The Graduate Medical Education Compliance Project goes live. Thank you for the launch! Now on to Stage 2 with GMECP.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, January 3, 2018
Concerns about “fear/retaliation”
Excerpt: “An accrediting agency will pay St. Louis University’s medical school a visit this month to talk with residents about ‘concerns about the learning environment related to fear/retaliation,’ as well as oversight of some of the school’s programs.
“Investigators for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education plan to interview residents from 15 of the school’s programs when they come to campus on Jan. 16, according to emails from the associate dean for graduate medical education and documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch.”
25 Nov 2017 (edit 15 Jan 2018)
UDRP Complaint Terminated
Regarding SLU’s UDRP complaint and attempt to confiscate the domain name, the panel appointed by the international arbitration body that considers such things for ICANN (the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO) decided to “terminate” the complaint altogether, stating “While it is not altogether clear to the Panel why the Complainant chose to institute parallel proceedings by filing a UDRP complaint in tandem with its federal court lawsuit, it is evident to the Panel that the disputed domain names are tied up in a larger and more complex dispute than the issue of cybersquatting that the UDRP is designed to address.” WIPO case D2017-1759 decision can be read HERE.
The next hurdle is to overcome SLU’s federal lawsuit regarding trademark infringement, etc. (More information on that can be found below). SLU attorneys plan to depose the site administrator (Dr. M. Todd Rice) in early January 2018, on that case’s path to court.
10 Oct 2017 (edit 15 Jan 2018)
The Compliance Project has created a response to the UDRP complaint that has been submitted by SLU lawyers against us in their attempt to take the domain name(s) that we have a First Amendment Right to utilize and which we need in order to bring our information to the public. Our UDRP response was submitted to WIPO on Oct 9, 2017 and can be read HERE (with Annex 1 and Annex 2). As this is a process that few physicians and/or members of the public are familiar with, we will share what we learn with you through our own efforts at self-education and pro se representation. If you can understand the process, too, then you will be less intimidated when a large entity attempts to stifle your speech, dissent and advocacy.
Check out our Defending Digital Freedom page for related topics. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will take up to 15 days to appoint a three-person panel to review the arguments, then deliberate for up to another 14 days. We believe our points are clear, well-reasoned, and supported by administrative, legal, and moral principles. We believe this process will prove to be embarrassing for SLU. We believe that the entire process was initiated to bully and silence us. Whether we win or lose this battle, the public and the medical community must be made aware of the dysfunctions at SLU that affect so many. We’ll keep you updated!
27 Sept 2017, 0630
Please don’t try to hack into our website. We can see you, Mr iPhone, at 10:13pm last night, from IP address: 184.108.40.206. On a positive note, the website hit its 10,000th page view yesterday!
Additionally, stay tuned for updates on our UDRP dispute response to SLU lawyers’ complaints to ICANN against our First Amendment use of our domain name. That response is due Oct 17, 2017.
20 Sept 2017, 0625 hrs
SLU Med School Institutionalized?
The control of its departments centralized? Its chair persons stripped of control? We have never heard of such an action, but these are the inputs we’ve been receiving for weeks from our readers and followers. SLU Communication has not answered us. If accurate, what are the causes and the implications of such a change? What does this mean for the public, for current students and residents, for faculty, for those that interview with the med school for positions and will sign contracts of employment? We believe this is newsworthy information with the potential for significant impact on hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. We hope that SLU will inform us all on this matter.
20 Sept 2017
A surgical resident’s legal battle with her program. Physician’s Weekly.
“Having been a residency program director for many years, I know there are two sides to every story, and so far we’ve heard only one.
“However if the program is to prevail in this suit, the resident’s dossier needs to be much more robust than what her allegations describe.”
This article was also carried at medpagetoday.com
15 Sept 2017, 1415 hrs (edit: 15 Jan 2018)
SLU lawyers filed a Uniform Domain Name Dispute (UDRP) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in an attempt to take control of our domain. If they spent 1/10th of the energy fixing their problems as they do trying to suppress those that speak out about them, they’d be a stellar outfit!
15 Sept 2017, 0840 hrs
Breaking News! The ACGME has begun an official inquiry into the dept of surgery regarding complaints of suspected non-compliances with mandatory accreditation requirements. Step one is a written report back to the ACGME regarding those concerns,… which will be written and self-reported by the very individuals who would be the targets of concerns for the non-compliances. “We have investigated ourselves and found we have done nothing wrong! Nothing to see here! Back to your regularly scheduled dysfunction.” And we thought you had to be a politician in order to get that protected of a gig! #acgme #shaminvestigation #ABS
15 Sept, 2017, 0445 hrs
To avoid any confusion or unintentional diversion from the SLU Official Compliance Department: when we do an internet search for that department, we are led to the Office of General Counsel. That is apparently a new link – or at least new to show up on an internet search after our Project was started. Although our long course of reporting and complaints led us through the Office of General Counsel 6 months ago (email to them from March 13, forwarding our letter to the dean of the medical school here which was sent March 9 – redacted to try to avoid their next threat of a restraining order), we did not receive a single word of response. Therefore, we started our own Project for Compliance as the official department seemed as dysfunctional as the other systems we were dealing with.
We hope you will send the Official Compliance Department all of your interest, comments and complaints regarding any issues that may have brought you to our sites. They should be the ones to hear about and have opportunity to address them. Again, here’s their webpage. Unfortunately, we do not see specific compliance concerns on their pages for the issues that we have brought forward: hostile work environment, retaliation in the workplace and training programs, dysfunctional physician behavior, non-compliances with mandatory accreditation requirements, failure to follow evaluation and promotion procedures, etc. Perhaps those links could be added on their pages for better education and as an access point for the residents, faculty, and staff that an official compliance office would seem to serve. We would be happy to act as a consultant service – pro bono!
Sept 12, 2017. ST. LOUIS • “St. Louis University is suing a surgical resident who filed suit against the school last month.
“In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the university alleges that the surgical resident Mandy Rice and her husband Michael Rice are diluting SLU’s brand by using the institution’s trademarked name on a website the pair created.”
12 Sept 2017: Jury Trial Scheduled for Rice v. SLU, et al. – date is currently unspecified online.
Surgical Resident Alleges Defamation in Lawsuit Against St. Louis University by Ashley Jost. St Louis Post-Dispatch. August 31, 2017. “A St. Louis University surgical resident filed a civil lawsuit last week alleging a series of misconduct issues. SLU resident Mandy Rice claims a series of failures and retaliatory behavior by her superiors is causing her to have to repeat her fourth year of her surgical residency. The lawsuit was filed Friday against the university; Catherine Wittgen, the director of SLU’s surgery residency program; Carl Freeman, the chief of the trauma service.”
Surgical resident sues St. Louis University, alleges discrimination due to nursing background by Mackenzie Bean. Becker’s Hospital Review. August 31, 2017. “A fourth-year surgical resident filed a civil lawsuit last Friday against St. Louis University over alleged misconduct issues involving program leaders….”
Surgical resident “too much of a nurse:” lawsuit. Univadis: A Trusted Medical Reference. Sept 1, 2017. “A one-time registered nurse and current surgical resident is suing St. Louis University, alleging she had to redo her fourth year of surgical residency because of discrimination by her superiors, in part because of her nursing background…. [and] claims a series of failures and retaliatory behavior on the part of her superiors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.”
“Eventually, I became a supervisor, borne out of an aspiration that no trainee should have to undergo a ritual of humiliation to somehow emerge the secure and well-adjusted doctor that society deserves. If doctors were to be genuine healers, they couldn’t commence their career by licking their own wounds inflicted by their own colleagues. From the stories I still hear, we are not there yet.
“It’s a myth long perpetuated in medicine that trainees will only learn through ‘tough love,’ but this tough love ignores constructive criticism, finding space to listen, providing room to grow, resting instead on public (or if you’re lucky, private) shaming. I have seen plenty of doctors destroyed by it but have yet to meet someone who blossomed through such cruelty.”
SLU Medical School Put on Probation by Accreditation Agency by Ashley Jost. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 15, 2017. “SLU is the only medical school in the United States currently on probation,….”
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