Monday, May 25, 2009

Dr. Polly's Fellow Medtronic Consultant, Dr Kuklo - Out at Wash U

Despite protestations from a University of Minnesota physician - not coincidentally also a Medtronic orthopedics consultant - Dr. Timothy R. Kuklo has recently taken leave of Wash U.

From the NYT:
Dr. Timothy R. Kuklo, a former Army physician accused of falsifying research involving injured soldiers, has taken a leave of absence from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and its affiliated hospitals, the medical school said Friday.

Dr. Kuklo, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery, will not perform operations, conduct research or teach students, said a medical school spokeswoman, Joni Westerhouse. The university granted the leave, she said, so that Dr. Kuklo “can focus on responding to queries about his research and consulting.”

Ms. Westerhouse declined to say whether the leave, which began Thursday, was paid or unpaid. She said she did not know its duration or whether Dr. Kuklo requested it or it was imposed on him. The university has declined to say whether it was investigating Dr. Kuklo.

“We know this is a major situation,” Ms. Westerhouse said.

Dr. Kuklo, who previously worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, had been accused by four former colleagues there of falsifying research on a bone-growth product made by Medtronic that was used on severely injured soldiers. He was also accused of forging the other doctors’ signatures when he submitted a research report to a medical journal last year.

The Army, which investigated the matter, issued a report rebuking him. It took no further disciplinary action, Army officials said, because Dr. Kuklo is now retired from the military. But Walter Reed notified Washington University of its findings five months ago.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, a British publication, retracted Dr. Kuklo’s article in March after receiving a report of the investigation from the Army. But the episode largely escaped public notice until last week.

Army investigators said Dr. Kuklo’s study had cast Infuse, a bioengineered bone-growth product sold by Medronic, in a misleadingly favorable light compared with conventional bone grafts in repairing severely shattered shin bones of American soldiers injured in the Iraq war.


From an earlier NYT article:

A former Walter Reed colleague, Dr. David W. Polly Jr., who is also a Medtronic consultant, said he believed that Dr. Kuklo’s data was “strong” and the episode had been overblown.
[Unfortunately, Dr. Polly, in addition to being a Medtronic consultant, is also a physician at the University of Minnesota. Overblown, Dr. Polly? I don't think so...]

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