Stanford University Suspends Teaching Privileges of Nezhat Brothers
Stanford University has suspended the teaching privileges of Drs. Camran Nezhat, Farr Nezhat and Ceana Nezhat after an independent investigation found "seriously deficient scholarship" in their published research, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Nezhats also lost their directorship positions at the Stanford Endoscopy Center for Training and Technology, where they taught minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques that they helped pioneer (Carlsen/Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20). Last year, the university convened an independent panel to investigate allegations of misconduct against Camran Nezhat and Farr Nezhat, who were accused of concealing surgical complications, performing unnecessary operations and misrepresenting their work in research papers on their surgical technique (California Healthline, 11/7/2000). The Chronicle also conducted an investigation of the Nezhats' research last year and found that the brothers "reported substantially less blood loss and shorter operation times" in their journal articles than what was printed in study participants' medical records.
Stanford said yesterday that the problems found with the Nezhats' research "did not rise to the level of scientific misconduct or fraud," and Stanford University School of Medicine Dean Dr. Philip Pizzo said there is no evidence that the Nezhats "lied or fabricated information" in their works (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20). The university said that the articles "misrepresented raw data regarding the success" of the doctors' surgeries, but attributed these problems to "sloppy scholarship." The suspension of the Nezhats' volunteer clinical faculty and directorship positions means that they will no longer be allowed to teach Stanford medical students or residents and will not be allowed to claim Stanford affiliation in their private practice. However, the doctors will retain hospital privileges at Stanford's hospital, as the university's panel declared that the three doctors are "excellent surgeons" and can continue to practice at the hospital. Pizzo said that seven additional journal articles by the Nezhats are still under review and the university will decide whether the doctors' teaching privileges will be permanently suspended or reinstated after that review is completed. Camran Nezhat said he and his brothers will appeal the university's decision to suspend their teaching privileges, but Stanford spokesperson Ruthann Richter said there is no appeals mechanism for the brothers because the volunteer clinical faculty position is "a privilege, not a right" (Feder, San Jose Mercury News, 12/20). As a result of the Nezhat controversy, Stanford is revamping its entire procedure for certifying community doctors as voluntary clinical faculty, who do not receive a salary from the university (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.