PHARM Podcast 158 My Divorce from SMACC

Hi folks

on todays episode I discuss my divorce from SMACC.

Show notes:

Thoughts on the Newman Crimes

David Newman betrayed patients and emergency medicine

Podcast ( available here and on iTunes)

Right Click and Choose Save-as to Download the Podcast.

27 thoughts on “PHARM Podcast 158 My Divorce from SMACC

  1. Agree with you on some issues, disagree on other issues. I hope you are travelling OK after this decision.

    You’re been a strong contributor to incremental improvement in care, both in rural medicine, in airway and of course in prehospital care.

    You are respected as an educator and likewise am sure all respect your decision.

    Some complex issues for reflection.

  2. “The victims were the only ones who stopped him.”

    Powerful and telling. A true introspection is needed.

    You are a man of great integrity and conviction, Minh. Thank you for candor.

  3. As a father of a sexual abuse victim by a therapist i can find no good thougjts of any abuser
    My daughter and family have a life sentsnce of the effects of the crime she has self harmed od and attempted to hang herself
    Over here people that were held in high respect were found to have done horrendous crimes as due to theit high status
    This doctor should be totally removed from foam

  4. Hi Minh

    Thanks for an extremely thought provoking podcast on multiple areas.

    I have never been involved in organising the SMACC conference, so cannot comment in an informed way upon that part of the podcast, but there are some areas that echo from the topic into the whole of FOAM and online presence.

    There is obviously a huge danger with FOAM that we all get satisfaction from delivering our best effort at education and seeing that consumed and enjoyed by others. Download numbers, hit rates, page views, likes, followers, retweets (etc etc) can easily be mistaken for quality of education, and the eye can be taken off the ball in gaining all of the above, rather than focussing on what most of us probably loved about FOAM in the first place-being educated, enjoying it and discussing the topics in an open and broad forum. At times I have definitely been focussed on the wrong thing.

    The podcast really made me stop and think about the responsibility we all have to openly discuss the points that matter, to put aside allegiances and fears of ‘what others may think’ if we make certain comments and instead hold true to good intention.

    Thanks for making us think and also for the huge and valuable contribution you make to education and practice


  5. Very thought provoking. I agree that we have to talk openly about the issue. In dealing with a trauma patient, I am sure there are many out there who think to themselves “What would John Hinds do?”.
    Now, when faced with an ethical or moral dilemma, you have given us another pause for thought. “What would Minh do?”. Clearly the right thing.
    Thanks for your honesty and moral strength.

  6. Hi Minh. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts. As always you support the underdogs and the diversity of practitioners who strive to do the best wherever they are and whatever the challenges. You have always been a great support to me when I’ve felt isolated.

  7. Minh,

    I just wanted to say that I admire the stance you have taken. Far too many of us trade our principles for fame and celebrity. I look forward to following and supporting your work in other arenas.

    All the best,

    Dan Batsie

  8. I am an ER physician with an interest in gender equity and sexual violence prevention. I have worked for many years with survivors of sexual assault and within organizations that strive to eliminate sexual violence.

    Minh, your “divorce from SMACC” podcast left me speechless. What a brave and principled stance, something that I am sure wasn’t easy and is likely to be met by much criticism. Your voice and leadership on this issue creates an opening for dialogue, and while it’s not the type of conversations that many of us are comfortable with, it is so important that we start talking about gender equality, harassment, abuse, and the “old boys club” mentality. I believe the FOAM and EM world has a lot of introspection to do on how they contribute to these topics.

    Thank you for your work and your commmitment to safety and inclusivity.

    1. Thanks Jessie ! It’s good to hear of your work and I draw strength from your words of support . May this spur others to speak up . Be well and maintain yourself in this fight to improve our society

  9. I wholly support your decision for removing yourself from SMACC. It is principled and defendable. It represents the very best of what we want in our healthcare providers. Sometimes I am personally torn in matters similar to this…stay and fight or walk away. Sometimes walking away makes a larger statement.

    Newman on the other hand…what do you do with him?

    Physicians still purchase ‘Dubins Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s’, do we vilify them or Dubin? Is the information or methodology any less relevant? What do we do with Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato? they were all pedophiles, do we now reject their work out of hand? Gutzon Borglum was a racist and a member of the KKK…do we demolish Mount Rushmore?

    The lines can get blurred, on may different levels…Freud and Halsted were addicted to cocaine, are their contributions any less important, do we discount those as well?

    How do we define good versus bad?

    Look to your left…and now look to your right…is the person next you someone who has committed sexual assault and has not been caught yet? Maybe they will never be caught…if that is the case, what does that do to their contribution they may have made to society?

    Do we discount it out of hand?

    What happens when the information regarding past abuse comes to light years or even decades after they have occurred…and after the abuser is dead?

    What do we do with the contributions that person may have made to medical education through podcasts; writing; tweets; etc.?

    1. Thanks for comment Daniel . I’ve been asked about what to do with Newmans academic work /material so here’s what I said as my opinion. Expunge it all from the medical education /academic body . There are others , his peers who teach and write on exactly the same topics as he did . Promote their work and role modelling instead . That’s how we honour the victims . What Newman did was no cocaine addiction or personal self abuse . He used his physician skills and knowledge to do evil multiple times . I see no reason why honouring him by preserving his intellectual work is required when many other colleagues do similar work .
      His book Hippocrates Shadow reads now as a sick joke even cruel in some respects .
      That’s my opinion

    2. I think it’s a bit different when the person in question is/was an active member of your community. DN rose to popularity through FOAM and EM conferences such as SMACC. He is not some distant historical figure and we can’t simply use an argument like “he was a product of his times ” such is so often said about historical misogynists. Hell no! He was one of us. He exploited his power and prestige to sexually assault women. His reputation (which our community helped build) allowed him to evade conviction for a long time. I wonder how many other victims are out there that were too intimidated by his “big shot reputation” to come forward.

      FOAM, podcasts, and big shiny conferences have allowed us to make our own Emergency Medicine heroes and superstars. But when those heroes drug and assault their patients, and get away with it in part because of their “hero” status, we damn right better take some ownership.

      What to do with his work and online legacy? I think the FOAM community needs to come together to solve that problem. Better question though, what do you think DN’s victims would want us to do?

  10. I applaud your integrity and courageous stand to what’s right. I was surprised when i heard of the charges that twitter was silent. I am further surprised and disappointed given the guilty verdict. I had placed SMACC and FOAMed in high regard for sharing hard lessons and speaking to the sometimes unpopular sentiments. If there is any current hard lesson and teaching opportunity its the Newman case. If nothing else- his original explanation was that his hands were dirty… as a Canadian i see humour in a lesson on hand hygiene if nothing else! I am sorry and disheartened that you are one of the few who have spoken about it. I am disappointed this once highly regarded giant in the community is not made an example of to upgrade and teach our future clinicians. What does silence and disregarding this horrible lack of judgement and violation of our patients’ trust teach? FOAMed and SMACC have an opportunity here… I believe there is an obligation as well.

  11. They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

    Atticus Finch

    Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    Thank you sincerely, for your integrity and taking such a principled stand. Isd seen an article here or there in passing over the last year, but failed to realize Dr Newman was a regular contributor to SMACC, or that I had seen him speak at SMACC Chicago. I can certainly understand people waiting for a thorough investigation of his crimes before taking a stand, but now with him pleading guilty, I completely fail to see why anyone would want to sweep this under the rug, and pretend we can still take anything of value from him, other than a cautionary tale about failing to concern ourselves as much with the dignity of our patients as we do their vital signs. Judging from the audience in Chicago, the physicians attending and following SMACC are a young bunch, and certainly are following rockstar podcasters, who they very much look up to. To send all of them the message, even indirectly that there is any justification for sedating and sexually assaulting a patient, I believe it does our field a great disservice. People deserve better. Though it is a difficult stance, thank you for drawing a line in the sand and saying no. I can only hope your example causes others to follow suit, and not to blame or shame anyone, but to point out that valuing the dignity, I’m not a religious person, but if I may, the soul of man, is just as important, if not more than how quickly you can place a central line.

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