Bill Frist's Second Opinion: There Was No First OpinionI really don't understand how Bill Frist--or any Republican who dissembles so readily as he, Bush, Cheney or Delay do--thinks he can get away with it for so long in an age of videotape, particularly over an issue over which he made himself a prominent public nuisance. If you recall, during the sickening Terri Schiavo nightmare, Bill Frist saw his chance to wriggle his tongue straight and firmly up the rectum of the Religious Right and do a full felch in return for their future support for his delusion that he can be president in 2008. I mean, you couldn't get away from him--or Schiavo--on TV. Indeed, his clenched, solemn face is inextricable from the frequent shots of her in her hospital bed we all know so well.He planted himself as the face of the Senate in the controversy, not only calling federal judges enemies of the "culture of life" in James Dobson's recent theofascist Sunday infomercial, but during the debacle itself he stood on the Senate floor and argued from authority, being a doctor and all(in the same way Star Jones is a lawyer--which is to say, mainly when they need to win an argument, or need good seats at a restaurant) . Yes, the heart surgeon made the following remote diagnosis:
Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state."
"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
His comments raised eyebrows in medical and political circles alike. It is not every day that a high-profile physician relies on family videotapes to challenge the diagnosis of doctors who examined a severely brain-damaged patient in person. Democrats were quick to note that Frist was getting rave reviews from conservative activists who will play a major role in the 2008 presidential primaries he is weighing.
...Some medical professionals questioned the appropriateness of Frist challenging court-approved doctors who have treated Schiavo. Laurie Zoloth, director of bioethics for the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University, said she was surprised to hear Frist weigh in, given that he has not examined Schiavo. "It is extremely unusual -- and by a non-neurologist, I might add," Zoloth said in an interview.
And he never even was in the same room, or city, or state with Schiavo either. But maybe cutting up kitties that you fraudulently adopted from animal shelters gives you special wisdom the rest of us lack. This goes well, of course, with equally responsible diagnoses of his, like this one mentioned in the same story:
It is not the first time that Frist has created a stir in medical and political circles. In December, on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," he repeatedly declined to say whether he thought HIV-AIDS could be transmitted through tears or sweat. A much-disputed federal education program championed by some conservative groups had suggested that such transmissions occur.
After numerous challenges by Stephanopoulos, Frist said that "it would be very hard" for someone to contract AIDS via tears or sweat. The Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: "Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV."
But in any event, Frist put his medical reputation--such as it is--on the line, in front of millions of Americans. And it turns out, now that the autopsy Terri's parents demanded(and now dispute because, as usual, the truth contradicts what they want to think, but then the Schiavos would probably try to sue the sun not to rise) has been performed, that not only was Terri Schiavo not responding to visual stimuli--like that balloon her mother kept shoving in her face--she could not have. Most of her brain, including the centers of vision, was gone. She was no more responsive or conscious(despite their ghoulish and bizarre lie she yelled "I want to live!"--dear god) Her eyes could not have seen anything with nothing to receive and interpret the data. Her apparent responses to stimuli occurred whether there was any stimulus or not; it was nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of desperate and, well, kind of stupid parents being manipulated by the Religious Right.It takes a big man to admit he's not only wrong, but was wrong in front of the entire world. Bill Frist: Not a big man.
"I never made the diagnosis, I wouldn't even attempt to make a diagnosis from a videotape," said Frist, a heart surgeon. Or, apparently, a man at all, if it's measured by integrity or decency.Meanwhile, an aide to Tom DeLay--who also chose to make an ass of himself over Schiavo, even implying retribution against federal judges that were disobedient to GOP whims--just lost himself a communications director, because rats will always, wisely, be the first to leave a sinking ship. And, I mean, imagine being anyone connected to getting DeLay's message out. And the Democrats sit back, block, and wait, because next year lots of voters will know who to blame for the mess so far since the re-election of Bush. With no Kerry to attack, the public now realizes: it can't be anyone's fault but the GOP's. They made sure they had no one else to blame, and then tried to split this country apart merely for fun.The bastards will be out next year. They just can't help being stupid when there's no one to stop them. Their worst enemy is, and always has been, themselves.
Labels: cheney, terri schiavo