Mistakes Are Made On 168th Street

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Oh haaaay

The New York Times is reporting that federal investigators uncovered the existence of some crazy shit at a prestigious Columbia brain-scanning lab: Scientists regularly injected patients with a commonly used low-level radioactive substance that might have had traces of dangerous chemicals. Then some staffers tried to cover it up by forging documents. Um!

An internal investigation released on July 6 concluded that no one appears to have been harmed—many of the studies focused on imaging the brains of schizophrenics and other people with serious mood disorders—but the research at the lab, the Kreitchman PET Center on 168th street, is on hiatus, and some heads have already rolled. David I. Hirsh, Columbia’s executive vice president for research who, according to a letter from PrezBo posted in the comments, resigned on July 9 and will step down when a successor is named, told the Times, “we are fundamentally reorganizing the lab’s management and operations in response to what the F.D.A. told us.”

More from the article (which, as of now, is the top story on the Times home page):

The F.D.A.’s latest investigation, which took place from Jan. 5 to Jan. 21, listed six categories of violations. It found that since 2007, “at least 10 batches” of drugs had been “released and injected into human subjects” with impurities that exceeded the level the lab had agreed to set. At least four injections “had impurity masses that more than doubled the maximum limit implemented.”

The report highlighted an equation that the lab routinely used, resulting in injections that exceeded the limit for acceptable impurities. The lab did not adequately check “the identity, strength and purity of each active ingredient prior to release” for injection into patients, the report said.

The first building to go up in Manhattanville will be the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which will be used for brain research. Budum-ching!

In the words of our tipster: you stay classy, Columbia.

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  1. Hebrew Hammer

    could use some more pithy commentary.

  2. Anonymous

    At least it wasn't GS again.

  3. Dude  

    David I. Hirsh just resigned a few weeks ago. Get with the times, Bwog!

    • Eliza  (Bwog Staff)

      That's from the Times! I assume he gave them that quote within the last few days since the story just broke today, but you may well be right- how do you know he's resigned? Thanks for the tip

  4. Dude  

    Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2010
    From: "Lee C. Bollinger"
    Subject: Our Gratitude to Dr. David Hirsh

    Dear fellow member of the Columbia community:

    It is with regret that I write to inform you that Dr. David Hirsh will be stepping down from his position as Executive Vice President for Research.

    In 2003, I asked David to assume the newly created post of EVP for Research to build a University-wide office for supporting research and establishing greater consistency in compliance practices and policies.
    As an admired scholar and researcher at CUMC, and at the time of his appointment, the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, David was well prepared for leading this effort.

    David has been successful in creating a strong foundation for this new office. Among his many contributions, David has overseen the consolidation and restructuring of six operating units and has created three new units, streamlining and standardizing research services, enhancing research compliance, and mitigating compliance risk during a period of unprecedented growth, when sponsored research expenditures have increased nearly 50%. He has developed training programs for faculty and staff in federal regulations and internal policies related to research, designed initiatives to help faculty secure funding for research, and focused new attention on postdoctoral affairs.

    I am grateful for all that David has achieved in this challenging administrative assignment. But most of all, I believe I speak for so many colleagues in saying how grateful I am for David's warmth, good humor, and collegiality. He is a person of enormous integrity and kindness. This spirit has characterized his thoughtful approach to the important work he has done with and for so many of us at the University.

    I will launch a search process for his successor over the summer. Until a successor is named, David has agreed to remain in the position. We are delighted that he will then return to his own scholarly pursuits uptown. For the present, please join me in recognizing Dr. David Hirsh for his many contributions to science, and for his dedication to Columbia.

    Lee C. Bollinger

  5. hahahaha

    them trying to forge the documents just made my day! lol


    Anyone else realize that Columbia's OB/GYN clinic is also pretty fucked up? like inserting metal rods into monkey's vaginas or performing open-heart surgery on monkeys without any anathessia? i hate PETA and think they're annoying, but thanks to them, they've made this come to light.

  7. Anonymous

    What the hell is going on uptown?

    • Anonymous

      In general, groundbreaking research... As long as there are people involved, there will be labs that conduct improper research. But this is ONE lab at Columbia. Do not make the mistake of thinking that this reflects badly upon anyone but the doctors involved.

      • ...  

        there is nothing groundbreaking about PET. it is the imaging equivalent of laserdisc... except, unlike laserdisc, PET involves shooting people up with radioactive marker.

    • Anonymous

      how about the administrators? with this and the harlem hospital fuckup, they're building up a great track record!

  8. Anonymous

    it's not just the doctors involved but all of the administration. there is a horrible working culture uptown where serious problems are overlooked because of money, ego, and bumbling bureaucracy


    http://www.columbia cruelty.com

    remove the space between columbia and cruelty to form the link

  10. CC 10

    Sounds like the beginning of a B-level zombie movie to me.


      OR, as a Dartmouth student would say, "a B-Side 28 Days Later" (for anyone who used to follow [email protected])

    • border?


      how did cc 10 get a border?

      • html?

        If bold works i wonder wut else works
        Don't hassle the hoff
        http://www.bwog.net" rel="nofollow"> metrosexual lesbians



        Urethra Franklin:

      • Anonymous

        CC10 got a border because he's special.
        Also, your an idiot. [sic]

        • html?

          Oh, so they're giving borders to special people! In which case, they should gold frame you at least six times for good measure. But it makes sense if you think about, like a virtual means of quarantining stupidity so that it doesn't infect the rest of us. Mmm, someone who uses [sic] on an inline forum must be very special, indeed: I heard the short bus tipped over, I hope you were wearing your helmet!

  11. (unrelated)


    Interesting for Bwog or B&W to cover - don't know if CU is affiliated, but reminds me of efforts a couple of years ago to do something similar for CU apparel.

  12. Med school

    mistakes were made

  13. Alum

    "David I. Hirsh, former executive vice president for research who, according to a letter from PrezBo posted in the comments, resigned on July 9...."

    Sorry, Bwog, but you're still wrong. PrezBo's letter says that Hirsh "will be" stepping down and that he has "has agreed to remain in the position" until a successor takes over. He's still on the job, so he's not a former EVP just yet.

  14. Also...

    It's pretty lame that you posed as "anonymous" in order to pat yourself on the back, loser. There's a track option now...

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