Husband In Trouble


#1

So my DH has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, worked for a Pharmaceutical company for a while, and then got a late admission to medical school paid for by his company with the stipulation he serves with them for 10 more years.

So after a while in school, they assign you to clerkships in Drs offices and hospitals, before you actually do your rotations. He met a 4th year guy student who was graduating in August, and looking to do his residency at a Neuroscience fellowship at Yale Neurosurgery. He needed 1 more letter of recommendation for his application.

Since my Husband has a Ph.D., a letter from him counts just as well as from an M.D., and he is fairly well known in neurobiology, so DH wrote his friend a letter and sent it to Yale. He signed it:

XXXXXXXX, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Senior Scientist/Program Manager, GlaxoSmithKlein

Well, Yale called Glaxo to verify the letter, but the HR secretary there directed them to the Medical school where DH is going. In short, the Medical school somehow found out DH wrote another student a letter of recommendation, and now he is in trouble.

They are bringing him before the disciplinary committee because they say he cannot be a medical student, a Senior Scientist, and a colleague of the 4th year med student he wrote the letter for, all at the same time. They basically said is was unethical for a medical student to write another medical student a letter, even though he has a Ph.D., and is well-respected in Neuroscience.

Some of his professors refuse to address him as Dr., and it bugs him to no end. I’d like to be able to think he wrote the letter to help the student out, but part of me also thinks he did it just to tick off the Administration because many of them are hostile to him because he comes from Industry.

I’m at the same school doing my Ph.D in Psychology, and I am hoping this won’t reflect bad on me. Any advice/suggestions out there?


#2

PPP, Prayers for Petty Politics in places like that.

Trust in the Lord and state the case succintly is all I can say.

Waht a load of hooey!


#3

Did he voilate a written policy? That is the first thing that comes to mind.

If there was not written policy but a unwritten code - my advice would be for him to swallow his pride and submit to the authority of those running the med school. Maybe he can speak with your Priest about working on pride?

Many many prayers!


#4

On the first issue, he IS a senior scientist, a medical student and a colleague, so he can establish that and his PhD credentials at the hearing. As for the not-calling-him-doctor issue, in a medical setting it is best to give in. an MD is different than a PhD, and medical folks are very concerned about confusion on that point. The implication to other students that your Designated Hitter already has an MD needs to be avoided.


#5

If he has a neuroscience PhD, and experience in the field, of course he can be a senior scientist and a medical student at the same time.

They may reject the reference because of affinity (they are students together), but they can’t claim he is not what he is.

Actually, if push comes to shove, one letter from a lawyer will bring a fair bit of clarity to the minds of the bozos who are, effectively, defaming this man.

Blessings,

Gerry


#6

His letter does seem a bit dishonest. He signed it as an employee of GSK but he wasn’t writing the letter in his company capacity. I wouldn’t use my professional affiliation in a signature if the letter I was signing was for a personal acquaintance. He didn’t use good judgment here and should be ready to admit that if needed.


#7

i think they’re flexing some muscle to keep him in his place. nothing will come of it.


#8

He needed 1 more letter of recommendation for his application.

Since my Husband has a Ph.D., a letter from him counts just as well as from an M.D., and he is fairly well known in neurobiology, so DH wrote his friend a letter and sent it to Yale.

Honest opinion? Applying for a residency is a serious professional step. Letters of recommendation in this setting should come from one’s teachers, mentors or attending physicians who have direct knowledge of the student’s performance. The fact that DH has a Ph.D. is immaterial; unless he played some formally designated role in the medical education of his 4th year friend (eg. tutorial role sanctioned by the school), he probably shouldn’t have written it. Again, just my opinion, but I am not surprised by the school’s reaction. They are probably embarassed knowing that Yale received such a letter regarding an applicant from their own school (makes their recommendation process look like there’s no oversight).

I’m at the same school doing my Ph.D in Psychology, and I am hoping this won’t reflect bad on me. Any advice/suggestions out there?

As for you, I’d just lay low, and not get in the loop.

-Tim


#9

I second an earlier comment suggesting this is something he should accept. Sometimes, people with PhD’s have to deal with people who have the impression that because they don’t have an MD, they aren’t a “real doctor,” which may be where some of your husbands resentment comes from. As somebody currently working towards a PhD myself, I don’t share that view. However, I am also familiar with the medical community, as a volunteer EMT. In the medical community, misrepresentation of credentials is a very serious offense. (I even got in trouble once because I hadn’t updated my uniform patch, and was therefore claiming a LOWER certification.) Even once I’ve earned the title of Dr., anytime that I am in a medical setting, it would be inappropriate for me to use that title. The average patient, hearing me referred to as doctor and seeing me providing medical care, could mistakenly believe I have an MD, which could expose me to liability.

For that reason, I am not surprised that his professors refuse to call him doctor. It isn’t necessarily a refusal to respect his degree. It could cause significant problems if he were on clinicals and his professors or fellow students had gotten in the habit of calling him Dr. X. The hospital could be sued by a patient if they thought he were an MD instead of a student.


#10

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