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May 6, 2013

WSJ Examines Close Relationship Between Some Doctors, Asbestos Lawyers

“This is a disgrace to both professions.”

Those are the words of Dr. Jerome Kassirer, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, as quoted in this week’s Wall Street Journal report about the close relationships between doctors who treat mesothelioma patients, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys who litigate asbestos lawsuits.

This report details significant contributions to mesothelioma research made by some such attorneys, as well as some asbestos lawyers sending “elaborate gift baskets” to doctors, providing tickets to “professional sporting events,” or offering “paid work as expert witnesses.”

Some attorneys also use doctor testimonials as a marketing tool.

According to Dr. Raja Flores, chief of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, taking such financial gifts “could influence” his treatment of patients.

Said Dr. Flores:

“When you add financial incentive it muddies the waters. We did not take the Hippocratic Oath for that.”

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