February 25, 2007

Altruistic Bunny Boiler

Former girlfriend of a Sydney based senior medical specialist was seared by her conscious following their breakup, compelling her, in a fit of Little Miss Goody Two Shoes, to take action to reform the Australian medical profession.

Ms Karen McLeod girded her loins to change the world of medical practice by writing to the NSW Minister for Health, and to her former boyfriend’s health service employer.

In the letters she explained that Dr Mark Hertzberg was wont to a bit of "schmoozing and boozing" on drug company junkets, and was something of a "dysfunctional walking zombie". Not dissimilar to the rest of us, in other words.

"I thought my letters would change the system … I don't believe there was anything in those letters that was malicious to him. It was about the good of humanity, the system, and for him."

A less noble person might have written a kind letter to his Mum, noting all of his faults, and suggesting that he had come from a deficient family setting. But Miss Humanity thought more good would come from writing to someone with no power or inclination to do much of anything about your garden-variety boozing-dysfunctional-zombie doctor.

Ms McLeod was surprised that her letter found its way back to her former boyfriend, obviously believing - quite reasonably so - that the identity of Supergirl would be protected, as the recipients of her missive sprung into action behind her, stung by the devastating revelations of her correspondence, their very beings pricked like pin cushions at the notion of doctors taking advantage of drug company sponsored conferences, not to mention the social and medical ramifications of the consequential jet lag. This was whistle blowing on a grand scale, on matters previously hidden safely behind the curtains of business class.

Thus it came to be that the former boyfriend sued Supergirl, not for the depth and sincerity of her humanity, rather, for defamation, as if schmoozing at pharmaceutical funded fun-filled days is a tawdry matter, of which doctors carry a private burden of shame, or that boozing is a dirty family secret in this great brown land.

Funnily enough, the jury was a phlegmatic bunch, rejecting nine of the ten charges of defamatory imputation, concluding, we assume, that it’s damned near impossible to defame a doctor. You can throw as much mud as you’d like, and a jury will shrug its collective shoulder, and mumble, slack-jawed, “huh”, as if one had merely mentioned a baby passing wind, or burping. A doctor’s reputation is a momentary and valueless thing.

The jury did agree that Dr Hertzberg "brags he is cooking the system" - but found it was not defamatory.

It is expected Dr Hertzberg's barrister will ask for the jury verdict to be put aside as "perverse", as you would.

Having failed, on this occasion, in her "duty to reveal the corrupting influence of drug companies", and to thereby bring about any good for humanity, the system, or her former boyfriend, we await Supergirl’s future efforts at doing something good for humanity, the system, and her next boyfriend.


  1. Ohhh ... the profound loneliness of the whistleblower. Defying the system for common humanity. Gives one goosebumps.

    LOL !!!!

  2. I've frequently sued people for the depth and sincerity of their humanity.

  3. Anonymous8:44 PM

    Hey, you guys. You're very ill informed. Go to Google and type in the words : Karen McLeod Roche and read the whole story. This is a very very brave whistle blower!!! Like the cigarette lobby. It's a David and Goliath story.

    Maybe when you're prescribed medication from a doctor next time, you'll wonder if there wasn't a different brand of medication that may have been better for you, or maybe you'll wonder if you shouldn't have been prescribed any medication in the first place!! And FYI - Hertzberg and McLeod are both Jewish in this instance.

    The jury are judges and they're there as part of the constitution. For you to knock a jury decision is just plain dumb. Anyway, it's impossible for Hertzberg to appeal the jury's decision. He's lost.

    Before you go blogging and shouting your mouths, get the information into you so you don't look so bloody stupid!!

  4. Oh dear, they don't call you Mad Max for nothing, do they?

    Sooo, Hertzberg and McLeod are both Jewish "in this instance". Huh? And? Your point would be?

    In other instances are they both what - Catholic or Hindu?

    Yeah, next time a doctor prescribes something for me, I'll be too dumb to ask about identical generic brands, too stupid to ask about alternatives medications, too indifferent to ask if I really need the drug at all. Because, you know, I'm a blithering idiot.

    Are you aware that most people don't even bother to take the medications they are prescibed, or take them incorrectly?

    Entire books have been written about the pharma industry Mad Max - always blowing the whistle, never flattering, and always astonishingly well researched - from the inside and from all sides.

    How many years of factual multi-facited investigation did McLeod undertake before writing her letter to the Minister, do you reckon? Gosh, far more damning (and demonstrably true) things have been written in mundane newspaper articles by routine journalists than anything this case threw up.

    You don't get out much, do you?

  5. And next time before you go commenting and shouting your mouth off Mad Max, catch up with at least the most recent several decades worth of publicly documented pharmaceutical history, the history of medicine, and the history of pharmaceutical whistle blowing, so that you don’t look as though you were born a few hours ago.

  6. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Woo HOO.. Just blown that dick outa the water eh Caz?

    Gee, I love it when you get mad!!

  7. I suppose I *should* be sympathetic to Mad Max, Kath, and I probably *should* think to myself something like: "Hmm, well there ya go, she helped enlighten one person from all of this."

    But I can't find it within myself to believe that a scorned girlfriend has any legitimacy in this matter, so her education of Mad Max is immaterial and insufficient for her vengful actions.

    Mad Max would have eventually, some time in his life, stumbled across authoritative and legitimate sources of material, by chance, if not by design.

    I'd like to believe that the world isn't so stumped for real knowledge and wisdom that we have to resort to relying on someone's tacky domestic / court drama as a source of primary information about very serious, and seriously scientific, matters. I hope Mad Max, now that his interest is wetted, will seek out more reliable sources to guide his life and enrich his mind and societal intersts.

    All I know is, he's not going to get to be very smart if spurious letters and court cases are his spur to social and political consciousness and enlightenment.

  8. Hell hath no fury like an altruist spurned.

  9. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Oh, I was going to say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    Mind you, the drug companies won't be happy until we're all popping pills.

  10. Well, they didn't develop Viagra purely for the warm blood surge it would bring to penises across the globe Darlene, and they're not in a desperate (and I'll predict entirely futile) race to bring a fat busting drug to the world because they're rooly, rooly, upset by the sight of obese people.

    Nor are they especially worried about the state of anyone's mental health, particularly those who have a little bit of their's left.

    No, their motives are a tad base.

    Capitalism and gullible consumers - a murky co-dependent relationship, if ever there was one, and neither side will let go their grip.

  11. Dang, MM is going to have to double up on the (generic) meds after that reaming. (In this instance, I, too, am Jewish.)

  12. In this instance, I’m being a Pakistani cricketer.

  13. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Also have a look at this. It's not about any act of altruism, this one's mode of operation is to attempt to destroy ex lovers with whatever will have the most impact on their career. That's all its about. She's a crazy woman. Thankfully the internet marks her so no one else will touch her, so long as they're clever enough to do an internet search.

    See http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/02/22/1171733955327.html?from=top5