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Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.

Email from Lazar Greenfield on Valentine's Day editorial

By Cindy Heflin

Dr. Lazar Greenfield, a prominent University of Michigan retired surgery professor, sent the following email to and other media today regarding the Valentine's Day editorial that resulted in his resignation as president-elect of the American College of Surgeons:

"The reports surrounding my resignation as President-elect of the American College of Surgeons lead readers to conclude that I represent an old-guard generation that represses women in surgery. Since nothing could be further from the truth, I can no longer remain silent in an attempt to protect the organization. These are the facts:

  1. The editorial was an opinion-piece written for a monthly throw-away newspaper, not a scientific journal. It reaches supposedly mature readers interested in new discoveries.
  2. The biochemical properties of semen that were reviewed have been documented in peer-reviewed journals and represent the remarkable way that Nature promotes bonding between men and women, not something demeaning.
  3. My light-hearted comment related to Valentine's Day was intended to amuse readers, but some found it offensive, so I extended sincere apologies and resigned as Editor-in-Chief of the paper. No one questioned my intent, since I have a long record of recruiting and promoting women in surgery.
  4. That was not sufficient for some women who convinced the leadership that I was unsuited for the Presidency to which I had been elected. Facing threats of demonstrations by women at any medical meetings I might attend, I resigned.

I had hoped to make my experience one that others could learn from by appearing at meetings of women surgeons to discuss forms of hidden or unconscious discrimination, but that did not fit their agenda. There should have been a way to reach a less destructive outcome.

So lets reverse the situation, and say that a woman editor wrote something that some men found offensive. After they voiced their history of repression, she decided it would be best for the paper if she resigned as Editor. But that wasn't enough, and other men's organizations demanded that she resign as the incoming elected President. The conclusion is obvious: men are ruthless and vindictive."



Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

I am pleased to read that the editorial belongs to a monthly throw-away paper and the statements it contains have no scientific validity. However, I want to remind this writer and others who are members of the American College of Surgeons about the nature of Biological Fluids such as Blood,Saliva, Urine, Semen, Bile, Mucus, Lymph, Vomitus, and etc.,: The Universal Principle is, all biological fluids are potentially infectious and must be treated infectious for all practical purposes and precautions must be taken to avoid contact and exposure to pathogens and other infectious agents. The idea of protecting oneself from unwanted exposure to biological fluids is very important particularly in the area of sexual relations of all types, and of all kinds that involve the contact with a biological fluid or substance. We are spending millions of dollars to educate the global community on this single most important health care issue.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

This is the problem with all the political correctness today. Might as well invest in duct tape to ensure we never say anything offensive.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

I totally agree with Dr. Greenfield--there is a definite double standard when it comes to men's actions against women. I didn't find anything offensive in his article, and actually thought it was quite interesting. Some people are just wound too tight, are too paranoid and self-centered, and take anything that could possibly be construed that way to be an insult.