PD to Cleveland Clinic: Screw ethics. We want in on the deal.

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The Cleveland Clinic has seen more than its share of ethical troubles of late. Stories keep popping up about pesky conflicts of interest, mainly involving the hospital and its doctors having a financial stake in the medical procedures they recommend. First it was Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, who was also director of a Cincinnati company that developed a technique for curing fluttering hearts. As a cardiologist, he recommended the technique to patients without telling them what he stood to gain. Meanwhile, the Clinic also invested in the company. Then there was orthopedic surgeon Dr. Isador Lieberman, who championed a spinal treatment while he held stock in the company that supplied equipment for it. And the list goes on. The Plain Dealer hasn’t been particularly aggressive in pursuing these stories—the Wall Street Journal scooped the hometown rag on the Cosgrove scandal—but now we know it never will be. PD Publisher Terrence Egger became a member of the Clinic’s board of trustees this week. That’s right, folks. Instead of just writing about the hospital’s millions, I’ll decide how to spend them, too! Despite today’s cheerful article promising to avoid potential ethical quandaries— Trust us, we know this looks bad, but it’s totally kosher, we swear -- it will be hard to keep a straight face when reading the daily’s coverage from now on. – Lisa Rab

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