Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bad Medicine


Warning to people planning to get sick sometime in their lives: just because a guy has "M.D." after his name, it doesn't mean he's intelligent, competent, or able to process data. It's like the old joke: what do you call a guy who graduated last in his class in medical school? "Doctor."

With that in mind, I give you the most public embarrassment to my chosen profession, Dr Tom Coburn, Senator from Oklahoma:

I'd issue this challenge: anyone who thinks we oughta pay for tax cuts, oughta have to put up a list of programs that we oughta eliminate to pay for them. I put up every time when people are wanting to spend money a list of options that we can do to make it that we don't increase the very problem — hole that we're digging in.

Admittedly it's hard to figure out what he's saying. But I think it's safe to conclude that somewhere in the salad he's implying that it's up to those who reject the idea of tax cuts to propose who and how we should pay for them. I'm gonna do something stupid, he says, but it's up to you to deal with the consequences.

Any way you deconstruct it -- and the points are severally obvious -- this has to be among the top ten stupid things ever said by a politician. And that's in the era of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney. So let's narrow it to the last two years. Rarified air still, if ever there was.

At least he's in Congress, where the only thing he can kill is the idea of America. If he ever goes back to his former profession, he could kill you. Especially if you're a woman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[Raising hand and jumping up and down] I know! We could cut the wars! The regular ones and the one on drugs.

Also, every dime of federal money that goes to the Sooner State.

Coburn is half the reason I think pregnant women in Oklahoma should find another state to stay in for the duration.

As you may know, he was sued for sterilizing a 20-year-old woman without her consent (in the course of dealing with an ectopic pregnancy). Now, docs get sued all the time for BS reasons, and OBs get sued so much it's practically a second job, so you certainly can't fault him on that alone. However, in Coburn's case, the fact that he (a) claimed to have received verbal consent from someone who was (according to the Washington Post) bleeding to death at the time; and (b) availed himself of the defense universally preferred by men who are lying through their teeth: "She's only saying that because she's cah-razy [or words to that effect]," coupled with his well-known belief that the person who should decide whether a woman terminates her pregnancy or not is Tom Coburn, suggests that he himself made the call to remove this woman's healthy tube with no more thought than you'd give to neutering a cat. He won in Oklahoma court though.

The other thing was that last April, the Oklahoma legislature passed a law immunizing doctors who lie to their pregnant patients about fetal birth defects in order to prevent the mothers from seeking terminations. Clearly, this wasn't simply pulled out of some legislator's ass. It describes such a specific situation that it can only be based on something that has actually happened, and is expected to happen in the future. Why else would OB-GYNs in Oklahoma feel they need this protection? The only logical explanation is they want to lie to their patients and not be held liable for it.

So Christ knows what passes for medical ethics out where the wind goes whipping through the plains.

- Molly, NYC

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