Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New England Journal of Medicine looks north

The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has published a detailed article about the uproar at the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The article, called Politics and Independence: The Collapse of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and which will be published in the print version of the journal on March 30 will doubtless crank up the heat on the CMA's board and its beleagured caretaker editors.

The article is authored by Dr. Miriam Schuchman, of the Department of Psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo and Dr. Donald A. Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and a member of the CMAJ Editorial Board. It contains details and scene-setting that could only have come from individuals very close to the matter, including one anecdote about a nasty confrontation between the Chair of the CMA and Anne Marie Todkill, the Senior Deputy Editor who, along with Editor John Hoey, was later fired. It also gives background and context to the dispute that has not been published in the newspapers.

For details, read the article and earlier items posted here and here and here. But it is worth noting that yet another editor has resigned from the journal, this time Associate Editor Claire Kendall of Ottawa.

The CMA itself is saying nothing. But if they expected stonewalling on the firing of its two top editors was going to make the matter go away, having chapter and verse reported in one of the world's most widely quoted medical journals makes it a vain hope. The interest of the NEJM is reported at length in the Toronto Star. And around and around it goes...

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