Sprott Calls For NZ Ministry Of Health Official To Be Sacked:
Chief Advisor On Child Health Promotes Rejected Research To Queensland Government
Dr Jim Sprott has called today for Dr Pat Tuohy, the Ministry of Health's Chief Advisor on Child Health, to be sacked.
Earlier this year Dr Tuohy was approached by the Queensland Ministry of Health for information on mattress-wrapping for
cot death prevention.
Following an Official Information request, Dr Sprott learned yesterday that Dr Tuohy sent the Queensland Ministry a
research paper titled "Impermeable mattress covers and the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)".
Dr Tuohy was principal author of the paper, which came out against mattress-wrapping. However, the paper, which Dr
Sprott and others reviewed at the request of the New Zealand Medical Journal, had been rejected for publication by the
"I provided the NZMJ with an extensive 31-page review, which listed a host of scientific errors in Dr Tuohy's paper,"
said Dr Sprott. "The NZMJ sent my review to Dr Tuohy in late 1998, and they rejected his paper for publication.
"Dr Tuohy was fully aware of scientific errors which had been identified in his research," said Dr Sprott. "He also
knew, of course, that his paper had been rejected by the New Zealand Medical Journal. But he sent this very research off
to the Queensland Government in response to a request by that Government for information about mattress-wrapping.
Furthermore, he did so on behalf of the New Zealand Government."
Dr Sprott will be lodging a formal complaint with the New Zealand Director-General of Health regarding Dr Tuohy's
action. Dr Sprott will also provide the Queensland Government with his review detailing errors in Dr Tuohy's paper, and
will inform the Queensland Government that the paper was rejected by the New Zealand Medical Journal around late 1998.
"Ministry of Health officials have no right to promote to overseas Governments research which has been rejected in New
Zealand," said Dr Sprott. "This sort of action denigrates New Zealand's scientific reputation."