Here is the story of a medical specialist in a university health centre in Quebec, a story that is repeated in other provinces and experienced by other professionals and which affects many people in harmful ways.
It is reasonable to think that if a committee were formed that included a person with a master’s degree in Aerospace Science, another with a PhD in Mathematical Physics, another with a Medical Doctorate and specialist credentials who was capable of highly specialized research and applications, another that was a University Professor and collectively they had received numerous awards; that committee would be considered very credible and well anchored in professional terms.
What if, instead of it being a committee holding all these stellar qualifications and abilities, it was just one man? A man whose credentials and accomplishments encompass all that and more? Most of us would think this is an extraordinary person obviously functioning at a stratospheric level of intelligence with broad scientific and medical understanding.
Just such a man lives in Quebec. He is Doctor Richard Le Blanc, a man who has dedicated his life to learning, teaching and to helping people, some of whom were truly in life and death situations.
What did he get for all his efforts and dedication? He was bullied by colleagues and unofficially blacklisted by those in positions of authority above him.
It has taken two full decades for Dr. Le Blanc to make inroads against those in the medical, scientific and academic communities of his province who set out to ostracize him both professionally and socially.
Dr. Le Blanc has never been officially charged or disciplined for any wrongdoing, yet he was treated as if he had broken all the rules of a just society. What was his crime?
He is a qualified scientist who questioned the opinions of a colleague who held a more senior management position. He also questioned the practice of large pharmaceutical corporations funding University research and review of new products – the potential for bias is obvious even to those of us well outside the scientific and medical worlds.
Dr. Le Blanc has worked at the very highest levels of medical research and physical science. His professions demand that all things that affect humanity at the very core be questioned in the most stringent way. When he attempted to do that, Dr. Le Blanc was not officially chastised in any way. Instead, he was bullied by his peers and mentors in the very same way a child faces attack and ostracization in the school yard. We are often told “the bullies are always the weak ones”. Perhaps the weakness is not physical but rather weak in self-esteem and maybe also intellect?
If Dr. Le Blanc was deserving of all the harm that landed on him, why didn't "they" attack him in public and make an example of him? Instead, they constructed a wall of silence around the real concerns and discredited him literally beyond belief. The apparent reason - his insights - were valid and damaging to other reputations and financing. Keeping that quiet was job number one so rather than embrace the well-informed considerations of a dedicated man, who raised valid, ethical and scientifically sound questions, a concentrated effort was made to render him as ineffective as possible. This was apparently aimed at ensuring that reasonable employment, recognition and the ability to have a public voice were denied Dr. Le Blanc. Colleagues in the Quebec Medical establishment created a self-fulfilling prophecy by first discrediting Dr. Le Blanc, refusing to provide letters of recommendation, restricting access to his own scientific writings and ultimately designing circumstances in which they could assess him unemployable in his chosen fields.
Dr. Le Blanc is not a vain man – personal recognition by the public has never been his goal. He does not want to be a media star and he certainly never set out to rank at the top of any popularity polls - quite the opposite. As a qualified medical doctor with plenty of practical experience, Dr. Le Blanc began exploring the traits in his own personality and ultimately diagnosed himself with Asperger’s Syndrome (his diagnosis was later confirmed by a professional in the field of Mental Health). Dr. Le Blanc’s actions clearly demonstrate a man in search of truth, no matter how uncomfortable the results of that search might be, for while people with Aspergers are known to be very focused and thorough and often become expert in their fields; they are also characterized as having significant difficulties with social interaction. Interestingly, Dr. LeBlanc undertook to study his own shortcomings when the mob behaviours of his bullying peers made him seriously doubt himself.
Those in opposition to Dr. Le Blanc seized upon the Asperger’s diagnosis and used it to instigate further ridicule and sidelining. All things considered this is a very strange tactic. Asperger’s certainly isn’t a learning disability. Dr. LeBlanc is likely in the top 1% of Canada’s most educated people. He holds doctorates in different fields, he’s been a research scientist, a medical practitioner, a professor; he is highly qualified in the field of Physics and has specialized knowledge in matters of aerospace bioengineering and stem cell cancer treatments. He has a long list of awards, research grants and published scientific papers.
What are the more obvious traits of Asperger’s Syndrome? Social awkwardness is the most common but in layman’s terms what does that mean? It could mean those with Asperger’s don’t have a lot of time for trivia or fools. Some of the more accomplished people in the global community share these traits. Dr. Le Blanc is in good company.
By actions that can only be called vindictive and malicious, for the better part of 20 years, Dr. Le Blanc was prevented from doing his best as a practitioner, researcher and a teacher.
Dr. Le Blanc’s trials began when he voiced objections to a co-authored stem cell/chemotherapy research report submitted for review and publication. In 2002, with years of education and practice, Dr. LeBlanc was still unable to argue his mentor out of his skewed and unethical research but the power of the medical hierarchy is such that most younger trainees will “go along to get along”; do everything to protect their careers, even if they must support the unsupportable with their silence. Dr. Le Blanc could not/would not do so.
His concerns were validated by the review panel and he said NO MORE out loud. He has since suffered economic, social and physical/mental/emotional health consequences for his ethical stand. Without doubt, those are extremely important and valid personal considerations, but we must also ask “how much did the malignant actions of those in a profession that takes an oath to protect humanity, cost humanity in general”?
Had he been enabled by his colleagues for 20 years instead of being disabled, what might Dr. Le Blanc have discovered or contributed to health and science?
How many people in need of specialized care did not get it because Dr. Le Blanc was sidelined?
How many students did not have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Le Blanc and what might they have contributed as a result of his teachings?
We will never know.
We do know that the selfish/vindictive actions of individuals primarily interested in power and control took something important away from one of the most respected of our institutions – the Canadian Medical Health system’s internal integrity.
After years of fighting the vendetta against him, Dr. Le Blanc has recently emerged from a long and painful mediation process and is once again working as a medical professional. That “socially awkward” guy was just recognized by his colleagues at the chemotherapy center as employee of the week.
For more information, interviews etc. contact:
President and Executive Director
Whistleblowing Canada Research Society.
Email – [email protected]
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