Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Getting the facts straight on the Sangji case

Jyllian Kemsley does a little mythbusting on the #SheriSangji case and has these concluding thoughts:
Why did C&EN put in the resources to follow this case so closely for so long? Because we believed that no one could properly learn from the incident unless they knew the details of what happened. I find it more than a little disturbing that people at UCLA–and apparently even lab safety officers at UCLA–do not know the correct details and try to write off the incident as someone who should have known better making poor choices behind her adviser’s back, alone at midnight on a holiday weekend. That’s not what happened. 
And while I’m at it, to those who think Harran was scapegoated for managing his lab the same as most other synthesis labs in the country: The appropriate response here is not to say, “Harran did the same as everyone else, what’s the big deal?” The appropriate response is to say, “Harran did the same as everyone else, and a young researcher DIED. What can we do to ensure that never, ever happens again?”
 Great questions. Read the whole thing.

10 comments:

  1. I kinda think that if Sheri was a Reddy ACS/C&EN would not have cared nearly as much, if at all.

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    1. I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean.

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    2. CJ, perhaps it's time for you to visit a library and read my old (the age, but not the message!) op-eds.

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    3. Reddy is a Hindi Caste

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    4. If Anon739p is correct about Anon1150a's implication, I note that Ms. Sangji is ethnically Pakistani.

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  2. What is interesting is that the lab was already flagged for having a culture of not wearing a lab-coat. I don't know that wearing a coat that was not fire-proof would have saved Sheri's life, but it does show that there was little regard for safety. In my opinion, this tragedy could have happened to many grad students or post-docs in the US given the general cavalier attitude towards chemical safety, the huge amount of pressure and long working hours. This of course does not excuse Mr. Harran or UCLA.

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    1. Knowing where the showers were would have been good as well, not working alone on one half of lab, not using a glass syringe to transfer large amounts of pyrophoric reagent. There were lots of potential areas for this to have been headed off. I personally avoid lab coats because the sleeves drag and cause problems knocking things over.

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    2. "not using a glass syringe to transfer large amounts of pyrophoric reagent."

      Incorrect: http://cenblog.org/the-safety-zone/files/2011/12/IMG_0138.jpg

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  3. Looks like a vendetta towards academia or someone trying to make a name for them self.
    "someone who should have known better making poor choices" is exactly what this is.

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  4. @Anonymous
    "Looks like a vendetta towards academia or someone trying to make a name for them self.
    "someone who should have known better making poor choices" is exactly what this is."

    I think you need a reality check, tbh your comment is pretty tasteless.

    We are talking about the death of someone at their place of work doing something that it was possible to do entirely safely with the appropriate training and PPE. I'm not sure why you think this is somehow not something we should learn from and try and stop happening again and the only motivations to do so are self-aggrandisement. Speaks volumes about the general culture you are working under.

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