Thursday, March 24, 2005

LET THE FALLOUT BEGIN Which political players did the most damage to themselves during the Week of Schiavo? It's too early to tell. But however things shake out, it's certain that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will be high on the list.

Remember, Frist, a heart transplant surgeon, rose on the floor of the Senate and:

1. Announced that he was "speaking more as a physician than as a United States Senator."

2. Cautioned that the persistent vegetative state diagnosis, "is a very difficult diagnosis to make."

3. Proceeded to question that diagnosis, in the Schiavo case, on the basis of his review of video footage which (as far as I've been able to discern) is several years old.

What's more, as Howard Markel reminds us in a subscription-only article at The New Republic site:
Long-distance doctoring is problematic on many levels but especially for a doctor who has not practiced much medicine for more than a decade. Plus, there is the fact that even when Frist did see patients on a daily basis, he practiced as a heart transplant surgeon. Which means that most of his clinical work was done with anesthetized patients on an operating table.
Can a man who is willing to prostitute his medical credentials in this way be trusted about anything?

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.