Just ask Lazar Greenfield, MD, a world renowned surgeon from the University of Michigan. Dr. Greenfield's recent Valentines Day editorial in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) newsletter cost him the Presidency of the 77,000 member group he was poised to assume in October. In the surgery news editorial, which some found demeaning to women, Greenfield described semen as a female mood enhancer and suggested that, "there's a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolates." Apparently the Board of ACS was none too amused. Inundated with correspondence, they met with the repentant surgeon and subsequently announced his resignation in an email broadcast.
What is most amazing is the abrupt and fantastic fall of the now 78-year old Dr. Greenfield who enjoyed a stellar career and was truly recognized as an eminent surgeon. His invention of the Greenfield filter, a device to prevent spread of blood clots from the lower body to the lungs, made brought his name into everyday medical terminology, if not also layman's vocabulary. Many in medicine would opine that surgery is the last bastion of sexism, and perhaps Greenfield hit on a raw nerve. Hard to say, but the buzz in the medical and surgical communities has hit new heights.
Given the extreme controversy, some of you may want to read the entire editorial and, no doubt you should. You won't find it on the ACS website; it was cut from the posted copy of the newsletter in which it originally appeared. However, the blogsite Retraction Watch posted the complete editorial in an early description of the brouhaha. As for Greenfield, he fired off a scathing email to the media, calling his female critics, "vindictive" and citing his record of recruiting and promoting women during his tenure at Michigan.
Incredible how fast and far a respected person can fall. And merely by picking up a pen or perhaps today, by hitting "send."
EMS Editor - Fire Engineering