100 Years Later - The Flexner Report Still Relevant

The centenary celebrations of the Johnson-Jeffries “fight of the century” which took place on July 4th, 1910 understandably overshadowed another event, arguably more important and relevant to Americans living today – the publication in June, 1910 of the Flexner Report on the state and reform of American medical education.

Abraham Flexner, working for the Carnegie Foundation at the behest of the American Medical Association (at that time a relatively weak organization) issued Bulletin No. 4 a few weeks before the Johnson boxing match.  Flexner had traveled across the country visiting each and every medical college in the U.S. that purported to offer a medical education.  The Flexner Report was a ringing condemnation of the state of most of the medical schools of the time and called for them to reform or close.

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Wholesale Sedation of Young Children: Medically, Morally Indefensible

(first appeared in the Patriot Ledger, March 27, 2010)

The twin murder trials of the parents of Rebecca Riley, who died at age four of an overdose of the psychiatric drug, clonidine, have cast a spotlight on the beliefs and practices of the doctor who prescribed the drug.  Kayoko Kifuji was granted immunity in both trials in exchange for her cooperation for testifying.  Reactions from jurors, comments online and letters to the editor based on newspaper accounts of Kifuji’s testimony range from confusion, shock, and outrage directed at the doctor’s role in the tragedy.

Kifuji did go before a grand jury and was not indicted, avoiding any criminal prosecution for her actions.   Massachusetts’ medical licensing board, the Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) initially suspended Kifuji’s license to practice medicine.  But after conducting an investigation the BRM fully restored Kifuji’s privileges.  She is now back at Tufts Medical Center practicing child psychiatry without any restrictions, penalties or supervision.

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Mother Guilty of Murder-Pediatric Bipolar Disorder Innocent

On February 9th a jury at the Plymouth Superior Court in Massachusetts convicted Carolyn Riley of second degree murder of her daughter, Rebecca, a 4 year old, who died three years ago. Rebecca’s father, Michael, will be tried separately for first degree murder next month. A county coroner determined an overdose of the medication, clonidine obtained from a child psychiatrist, caused Rebecca’s death.

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