Doctor who criticized NIH’s handling of Covid pandemic syspended by Mayo Clinic gets support


Professor Michael Joyner was suspended without pay for a week in March after criticizing the NIH in an interview with CNN

More like the Mao Clinic! Academics criticize the Mayo Clinic for censoring and suspending a doctor who criticized the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic

Professor Michael Joyner was suspended without pay for a week in March after criticizing the NIH in an interview with CNN

Nearly 30 professors from Ivy League universities wrote to the Mayo Clinic protesting the suspension of a physician after he openly criticized the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Professor Michael Joyner, a professor of anesthesiology and physician research in exercise, has been at the Mayo Clinic for nearly 63 years.

His colleagues at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and other universities wrote, “Encroaching on academic freedom will certainly tarnish Mayo’s reputation among the many who have always viewed Mayo as a beacon of scientific integrity.”

Dr. Joyner is the lead investigator in a government-funded study of restorative plasma treatments for Covid and sports performance.

In January, Dr. Joyner said in a CNN article that he was “frustrated” by the NIH’s “bureaucratic rope-a-dope,” and labeled the agency’s guidelines a “wet blanket” that kept doctors from trying the treatment on humans.

Two months later, on March 5, the Mayo Clinic suspended Dr. Joyner for a week without pay.

In a lettertold him to “discuss only approved topics” with reporters and “comply with prescribed reporting.”

He was warned that ‘behavioral changes must be immediate and lasting’ and if he failed to do so he would be fired.

‘Validated complaints’ from staff would also lead to Dr. Joyner would lose his job, the Mayo Clinic said, even if they had nothing to do with the other issues.

Dr.  Carlos Mantilla, department chair of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, said Dr Joyner

Dr. Carlos Mantilla, department chair of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, said Dr Joyner “was not communicating in accordance with prescribed messages”

The letter, signed by Dr. Carlos Mantilla, Mayo Clinic’s department chair of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, said Dr. Joyner “failed to communicate in accordance with prescribed messages.”

This ‘reflect[ed] bad about Mayo Clinic’s brand and reputation” and “caused the institution to question whether? [he is] able to properly represent Mayo Clinic in media interactions.’

The letter of protest stated that “Mayo, by persecuting one of his most distinguished and valuable professors, is sending a terrible message not only to his other faculty, but also to other institutions of academic medicine.”

Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and professor at Yale University who signed the letter, tweeted, ?Mayo should be ashamed. How can anyone know if the doctors there really say what they believe?’

He added, “This is 1984 level doublespeak.”

Andrea Kalmanovitz, a spokesperson for Mayo Clinic, said in a statement CNN: “Mayo chastised Dr. Joyner for treating colleagues disrespectfully and for making unprofessional comments about the NIH’s regulation of convalescent plasma.”

It added, “The Mayo Clinic supports academic freedom, as evidenced by the hundreds of interviews Mayo physicians, including Dr. Joyner, give each year.”

CNN reached out to Dr. Joyner in November for a story about convalescent plasma, an antibody-rich blood product from people who have recovered from Covid, to treat immunosuppressed patients with Covid.

Emails shown to CNN show that Dr. Joyner had permission from a Mayo Clinic communications officer before participating in the interview.

In January, Dr. Joyner and colleagues published a study showing that transfusions of convalescent plasma can help immunocompromised patients with Covid.

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