Some Background on Karol Sikora

July 12 2010

Form the moment I heard about Megrahi's magical three-months prognosis, I was a bit suspicious. His appeal was dropped, apparently due to confusion that was allowed to linger, to speed the process that call allowed. As the prognosis gets more and more wrong by the month, that feeling grows. A Dr. Karol Sikora was generally cited as the source of that assessment. Recently, he came out as saying he has no idea - Megrahi could live for ten or twenty years. He's embarrassed to have been wrong, but did nothing wrong.

Below is some information on Dr. Sikora gathered by my compatriot at the JREF Forum, Rolfe, who knows more than I and I'm grateful to her for putting this together. Commentary follows. (original link)
(I have memories of him as a well-respected expert, from many years ago. Either he has changed his approach as he became more senior, or I was mistaken in the first place.)

Look at his involvement in the case of Lisa Norris.

Miss Norris was given 58% too much radiation during her treatment at the Beatson and died at her family home on 18 October 2006.
An internal inquiry following her death found that she had died from her tumour and not from the overdose.
However, that was disputed by an independent report from one of the country's top cancer experts. [....]
Miss Norris's father, Ken, did not want to comment directly on the proceedings.
But his lawyer, Cameron Fyfe, said: "We had a report from Professor Sikora, an expert in oncology, who confirmed that Lisa would probably have survived had it not been for the overdose.
"After further inquiry the professor revised his report to say it was a possibility, not a probability.
"Proof in Scots law is based on the balance of probabilities and that is not enough for the fiscal to proceed with the fatal accident inquiry.
"I think the family are disappointed that Professor Sikora was unable to adhere to his initial view but they accept that it was not appropriate for the FAI to proceed in these circumstances."

That is absolutely classic "hired gun" behaviour. Oh, you think the radiation overdose killed your little girl? Yes, I can go along with that, here's an expert witness report saying so. Then they get to the point where the experts from both sides confer to try to reach an agreement, and he realises he's not on solid ground at all. He revises his report to be less certain than it was originally, and the case collapses.

It's not really, consciously dishonest. It's unprofessional. It's an outlook that aligns itself too closely with the side of the dispute you're talking to, and fails to take a properly professional, unbiassed, disinterested view. I've seen it scores of times in the witness box, often from senior academics.

As y'all know, I'm a big fan of David Colquhoun. What David has to say about Karol is quite distressing.

CRC Public Relations is a conservative PR firm previously known as Creative Response Concepts. ‘Creative’ appears to mean ‘lying’, but I guess that is what PR is all about.

Disgracefully, Karol Sikora, a former oncologist at the Hammersmith Hospital, supported CPR on US television. See
Karol Sikora makes a fool of himself at NHSblogdoctor.
“Karol Sikora had been duped by a slick American businessman into providing a “rent-a-quote” service for a notorious right-wing American organisation”
Sikora now works for the UK’s only private university and a private cancer treatment company. He is also famous
for claiming, falsely, to be a professor at Imperial College (he has an honorary contract with the Imperial College Hospital Trust but nothing with the University). And for promoting a load of nonsense about alternative medicine (a lot more on that coming up shortly).

Karol Sikora, formerly an oncologist at the Hammersmith Hospital, is now Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham (the UK’s only private university). He is also medical director at CancerPartners UK, a private cancer company.

He recently shot to fame when he
appeared in a commercial in the USA sponsored by “Conservatives for Patients’ Rights”, to pour scorn on the NHS, and to act as an advocate for the USA’s present health system. A very curious performance. Very curious indeed.

His attitude to quackery is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. One was somewhat alarmed to see him sponsoring a course at what was, at first, called the British College of Integrated Medicine, and has now been renamed the
Faculty of Integrated Medicine That grand title makes it sound like part of a university. It isn’t.

The alarm was as result of the alliance with Dr Rosy Daniel (who promotes an
untested herbal conconction, Carctol, for ‘healing’ cancer) and Dr Mark Atkinson (a supplement salesman who has also promoted the Qlink pendant. The Qlink pendant is a simple and obvious fraud designed to exploit paranoia about WiFi killing you.

The first list of speakers on the proposed diploma in Integrated Medicine was an unholy alliance of outright quacks and commercial interests. It turned out that, although Karol Sikora is sponsoring the course, he knew nothing about the speakers. I did and when I pointed this out to Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of Buckingham, he immediately removed Rosy Daniel from directing the Diploma. At the moment the course is being revamped entirely by Andrew Miles. There is hope that he’ll do a better job. It has not yet been validated by the University of Buckingham. Watch this space for developments.

Stop press It is
reported in the Guardian that Professor Sikora has been describing his previous job at Imperial College with less than perfect accuracy. Oh dear. More developments in the follow-up.

I happened across this lot after I'd posted my out-dated opinion about Karol Sikora being a respected expert. He may have been at one time. Now he's something else.

Which is actually fairly peripheral to the Megrahi affair. In that situation, all parties involved in the decision were aligned in their wishes. Libya wanted their human sacrifice home, being as they didn't believe Lockerbie was a Libyan operation in the first place and had only agreed to pay compensation for political advantage. The Westminster government wanted him home to get rid of this perennial bump in the road that was complicating their oil deals. And the Holyrood government wanted him home so they could get that appeal stopped. Having Megrahi die in a Scottish jail was also politically unacceptable, as it would have done lasting damage to UK/Middle Eastern relations.

In that situation, just who was paying whom to come up with an agreeable opinion really isn't all that important.


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