August 13, 1992
Fahmy Malak Accepts Guam Job
But his failure to disclose controversy puts post on hold.
BY MAX BRANTLEY
Dr. Fahmy Malak, the former state medical examiner, is embroiled in
controversy again, this time in Guam and a $160.000-a-year job for Malak is
on the line.
Malak has been offered, and returned a signed contract accepting, the job as
Guam's chief medical examiner, subject to ratification by the Board of
Licensure on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific.
But the retiring Guam medical examiner, Dr. Hee-Yong Park, has raised
questions about Malak's credibility because of a misstatement of credentials
on his resume. And, since then, the controversy has grown with disclosures
in Pacific Daily News about the controversies surrounding Malak in Arkansas.
Malak never told members of the commission seeking to fill the position of
his troubled tenure in Arkansas, Guam Attorney General Elizabeth
Barrett-Anderson has said. Anderson chairs the Postmortem Examination
Commission, which is in charge of finding a new medical examiner.
Malak applied for the job in December 1991 and was interviewed by Guam
officials later. "We even had a personal interview in June of last year and
he mentioned nothing," Barrett-Anderson said.
Malak's hiring has been put on hold, at least until Monday, Aug. 17, so that
he may have an opportunity to respond to press accounts of his Arkansas
tenure and to explain the discrepancy Park found in Malak's resume.
Malak was unavailable for comment to the Arkansas Times. His
secretary at the state Health Department, where Malak has worked as a
$70,000-a-year consultant since resigning as medical examiner under fire
Sept. 10, said he was away from the office for two weeks.
Malak resigned after nearly 12 years as medical examiner amid a growing
controversy over his rulings. An ad hoc group, VOMIT, (Victims of Malak's
Incredible Testimony) also has protested Malak's continued employment in a
state job. Malak's job performance also has been an issue in the
presidential race. Gov. Bill Clinton has had to defend the state's longtime
employment of Malak amid ongoing controversy. Questions also have been
raised by the Los Angeles Times and NBC, among others, about Malak's
findings in the case of an assault victim who died during a surgery in which
Clinton's mother was the nurse anesthetist. (The case occurred while Clinton
was out of office and independent pathologists have concurred with Malak's
findings in the case.)
Malak's initial problems on Guam stemmed from Park's questioning of why
Malak had held throughout his 12-year tenure in Arkansas an associate
professor's post at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Park
Suggested that Malak should have been promoted over such a long period.
But when Park asked Malak about the matter, Malak told him his resume was
incorrect; he actually was a lower-ranked assistant professor. When Park
checked further in Arkansas, he found that Malak was only an unpaid clinical
assistant professor. As it happens, Malak's misrepresentation of credentials
was one of the issues in a series of reports by the Arkansas Gazette several
Officials in Guam learned of Malak's controversial tenure in Arkansas
through a quirk. A visiting law enforcement official from the U.S. happened
to be visiting while the hiring of Malak was being discussed and mentioned
that he had recently seen a televised news segment, related to the Clinton
campaign, about Malak.
That set off a round of further checks and a series of articles detailed
Malak's autopsy findings as well as defense of Malak from Jim Clark,
director of the state Crime Laboratory, and from Dr. Michael Graham, A St.
Louis medical examiner who has been reviewing 13 of Malak's disputed cases.
Graham said he would have disagreed with Malak in only two of the cases and
in relatively minor ways.
Guam officials have been checking Malak's references in Arkansas in recent
weeks. Clark has emphasized Malak's workload. The state of Arkansas now
employs three pathologists to do the work that Malak, at times, did alone.
Given the workload, and the inherently emotional nature of the work, Clark
said Malak's record was solid. "Thirteen questionable cases out of
7,000-percentagewise, that's not very many," Clark said.
Reproduced with permission
Copyright © 1992 Arkansas Writers' Project, Inc. All Rights Reserved
to Fahmy Malak