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Doctor Sues Mayo Clinic Claiming Retaliation For His Public Comments On Transgender Sports

Doctor Sues Mayo Clinic Claiming Retaliation For His Public Comments On Transgender Sports

Complaint: “Mayo . . . warned [Joyner] that going forward he must ‘discuss approved topics only and stick to prescribed messaging,’ a demand anathema to both academic freedom and to the scientific process itself.” 

A prominent doctor is suing the Mayo Clinic and two of its executives for threatening to fire him after he gave interviews to the New York Times about transgender sports and to CNN criticizing the National Institute of Health (NIH).

In his lawsuit filed November 13, Dr. Michael Joyner claims the clinic violated its own policies protecting academic freedom when it punished him for using “idiomatic language” that was “problematic”  and “reflected poorly on Mayo Clinic’s brand and reputation.”  Joyner is Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Research at Mayo.

Joyner’s punishment allegedly included a one-week unpaid suspension, denial of any salary increase at his next annual review, and the threat of termination—all over comments he made based on his expertise in his area of scientific research.

The complaint points to two “problematic” media interviews, both allegedly pre-approved by Mayo, that led to his sanction for failure to comply with the Mayo Public Affairs Department’s preclearance and oversight of any media interviews.

You might not think you’d need an award-winning sports medicine expert to make the first set of remarks that got Joyner in hot water with Mayo.  In a May 2022 interview with the New York Times featuring transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, he noted how, once puberty hits, boys swim faster than girls:

You see the divergence immediately as the testosterone surges into the boys, Dr. Joyner said. There are dramatic differences in performances.

The records for elite adult male swimmers are on average 10 percent to 12 percent faster than the records of elite female swimmers, an advantage that has held for decades.

Testosterone is the 800-pound gorilla.

Those comments, Mayo later wrote in a March 2023 “Final Warning” letter published at FIRE, were “problematic” for the LGBTQI+ community at the clinic.

It was Joyner’s second set of comments, according to the complaint, that set the clinic’s disciplinary process against him in motion. In an interview with CNN about convalescent plasma treatment for Covid-19, he crossed a line when he criticized the NIH—a major source of Mayo’s funding. Joyner and other prominent researchers were exasperated because the health agency was ignoring letters urging it to reconsider the treatment, shown to be effective in the immunocompromised:

Frustrated with the effect the NIH guidelines were having on his patients’ health, Joyner described the approval process as “bureaucratic rope-a-dope” and “the agency’s guidelines [as] a ‘wet blanket’ that discourages doctors from trying convalescent plasma.”

The lawsuit says that the day after the article came out, the clinic allegedly began sanctions against him “for his interview comments because they criticized the NIH, and Mayo administrators were worried that NIH would retaliate by cutting their funding.”

For its part, in an unusually detailed statement on November 15, the Mayo Clinic rejected Joyner’s claims as “unfounded.”

But the clinic is on record demanding that Joyner hew to the party line. In its subsequent March 2023 letter, Mayo warned him about what he is allowed to say and how he is allowed to say it.

From the complaint:

[G]oing forward he must ‘discuss approved topics only and stick to prescribed messaging,’ a demand anathema to both academic freedom and to the scientific process itself.”

Such stifling of the free exchange of ideas isn’t exactly conducive to the academic freedom one would expect of a prestigious medical institution. And this “blow to the reputation for integrity of Mayo and its leadership” wasn’t lost on Yale University’s Professor Nicholas A. Christakis:

Joyner’s lawsuit against Mayo for violating its own  “Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom Policy” is funded by the Academic Freedom Alliance.  The policy promises a “‘free and open discussion of ideas,’  including that faculty have the ‘freedom to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression and to reach conclusions according to [their] own scholarly discernment.'”

If Joyner wins, it will force the clinic to honor its commitment to “protect faculty from ‘fear of retribution or retaliation if those opinions and conclusions conflict with those of the faculty or [Mayo as an] institution.”



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herm2416 | November 20, 2023 at 7:15 am

We live in an upside down medical world.
Protect the brand.
Protect the funding.
Who cares about the patients?

Mayo Clinic was propagating lies throughout the WuFlu. Their website read like 1984. Hope he wins.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to bboop. | November 20, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    Mayo Clinic and it’s “success” has always been a lie.

    I have been in Medicine for almost 30 years and to get a patient seen at Mayo you have to send them all the records and then they decide who they see and for what. It’s easy to keep your numbers good when you only take those who you know will have a positive outcome before you see them. So Mayo’s “success” is completely fabricated.

    On the other hand take The Cleveland Clinic. To referred a patient to Cleveland, I make one phone call and my patient has an appointment with a Doctor of the appropriate specialty within the next 7 days. They even help with travel arrangements. That is before they ever see the first page of records. Note they also have comparable positive outcomes to Mayo.

    So no one should trust Mayo ever.

If anyone should be punished, the persons who were INTENTIONALLY DECIEVING US should be fired and never be heard of again.

    Joe-dallas in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | November 21, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Mayo has become in transgender treatment and transition. So his informed comments were contrary to the corporate $

    A political No No

    Ethically he is bound to be truthful

    $ were more important to Mayo than ethics

JohnSmith100 | November 20, 2023 at 8:44 am

We have near total institutional corruption.

thalesofmiletus | November 20, 2023 at 8:51 am

[[[ he crossed a line when he criticized the NIH—a major source of Mayo’s funding ]]]

Because the Regime is committed to lies and ignorance.

His comments “…were ‘problematic’ for the LGBTQI+ community at the clinic.”

Perhaps because trans people are, be definition, mentally ill and seriously delusional.

When are we going to stop coddling and ‘affirming’ these people and put them into mental institutions where they belong?

    Dolce Far Niente in reply to Paul. | November 20, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Since the entire “trans” movement is about their feelz, with not a scintilla of evidence supporting any of their assertions that is rational or fact-based, it is vital that no one be allowed to deviate from the Party line.

    To force people into accepting as fact what is clearly lunacy is part and parcel of turning ordinary Americans into obedient NPCs. We must be made docile in order to work and produce wealth for our masters. Our shackles will be self-forged and applied by our own institutions.

    henrybowman in reply to Paul. | November 20, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    All the mental institutions needed were closed long ago.

E Howard Hunt | November 20, 2023 at 9:33 am

Here’s another idiom – “Hold the Mayo” accountable! Put that in your pipe and smoke it- problematic or not.

ekimremmit | November 20, 2023 at 10:10 am

What is truly frightening is the lack of alternatives to corporative medicine as presented and practiced by the Mayo Clinic. My opinion is formed by life primarily here in Minnesota. It is nigh unto impossible to find any independent physician practices today which would provide escape from the totalitarian treatments such as were offered during covid and persist today as in cases like this. There are few doctors and nurses, in the mold of Peter McCullough, who will risk their livelihood to practice medicine as it meant to be practiced. I’m old and soon to no longer regret this passing, but still sad and angry at this miserable state of affairs.

    alaskabob in reply to ekimremmit. | November 20, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    The buying up of practices, management contracts with peripheral hospitals and PPOs have given major institutions control over vast areas of the country. Mayo and Providence are all over the country. Then there is HCA. What few times I have interfaced with these admins has not been reassuring…having worked for (under) those types.

Massinsanity | November 20, 2023 at 10:29 am

The TRUTH can never be “problematic” whether it offends the alphabet mafia or not.

Tom Orrow | November 20, 2023 at 11:45 am

Hospital, heal thyself!

alaskabob | November 20, 2023 at 1:53 pm

Mayo HQ is in Rochester MINNESOTA. Need I say more?

Voice_of_Reason | November 20, 2023 at 3:54 pm

The same people who insist that “men can be pregnant”, who say the covid lab-leak hypothesis is “racist”, who told us to wear masks and keep kids out of school, are the same people who call speech they don’t like “misinformation” or “disinformation”.

Use of the term “problematic” as a catch-all criticism has reached peak absurdity. It is simply an expression that something, for unstated reasons, makes someone in a protected/oppressed class feel the sads which, therefore, must be suppressed. It’s built in vagueness, but pejorative quality, eschews any concept of truth, or ill intent, or actual harm. Anyone who “problematizes” is simply telling you they are an enemy of truth and freedom of conscience.

The Federal govt. throught the ACA turned the profession over to the corporations. This is why all the Docs are now hospital (corporate) employees. They do not work for the patient. They work for the corporation. Hence this sort of crap is now every where. If a Doc argues with the admin he is ” a disruptive physician” and can be reported to the Feds. This is true.

I remember a free country once upon a time. But we elected Obummer and now we have tyranny.

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