Published: June 5, 2009
Dr. Romney C. Andersen, a Walter Reed Army Medical Center surgeon, was surprised last summer when his neighbor, a fellow doctor, congratulated him on a new medical journal study bearing his name. “What study?” Dr. Andersen asked. Soon, he was not the only person asking questions. Army officials, alerted by Dr. Andersen, began an investigation. They uncovered an apparent case of falsified research by a doctor who had befriended Dr. Andersen when they both worked at Walter Reed, treating American soldiers severely injured in Iraq. The full report of that Army investigation, recently obtained by The New York Times, provides an unusually detailed anatomy of a suspected case of medical research fraud — one all the more disturbing because it occurred at the nation’s premier military research hospital. Within the last week, the Justice Department opened an inquiry into the episode, said two people with knowledge of it, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. The disputed journal article was written by a former Army orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Timothy R. Kuklo, who is now a medical professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Kuklo, the investigation found, forged the signatures of Dr. Andersen and other Army doctors on his study and never showed it to them before it was published.