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crypto and public policy

Medicine Should Not be a Political Tool

Filed under: General — June 17, 2005 @ 8:56 pm

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s web site says he is board-certified doctor (specifically, a surgeon). Indeed, he is, with an active certification due for renewal before February 28th, 2006.

One should note the following facts about this actively certified physician, especially when taking into account Tennessee’s General Rules and Regulations Governing the Practice of Medicine – 0880-2:

  • Bill Frist claimed on national television that he didn’t know whether HIV could be transmitted via sweat and tears. The CDC says “Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.”
  • From Washington, Bill Frist diagnosed Floridian Terry Schiavo as “responsive to visual stimuli” using nothing more than a video tape. He later denied this diagnosis once an autopsy showed that she was, in fact, blind. The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners says:

    No person shall engage in the practice of medicine across state lines in this State, hold himself out as qualified to do the same, or use any title, word, or abbreviation to indicate to or induce others to believe that he is licensed to practice medicine across state lines in this State unless he is actually so licensed in accordance with the provisions of this rule.


    As used in this rule, the practice of medicine across state lines (telemedicine) means […] the rendering of a written or otherwise documented medical opinion concerning diagnosis or treatment of a patient within this State by a physician located outside this State as a result of transmission of individual patient data by electronic or other means from within this State to such physician or his agent

  • Bill Frist endorses the teaching of creationism/intelligent design alongside evolution, although intelligent design doesn’t even closely resemble science.

Does the “3 strikes” rule apply to medical certification? It should.

Bill Frist has every right to be a socially conservative politician. He should be able to express his views as freely as any other politician. However, he should not be able to use his medical board certification to push these pseudo-scientific lies. The Tennessee Medical Board (and possibly Harvard Medical School) should intervene, at the very least with censure, possibly with revocation of his medical certification. If they stay silent, they will be responsible for the damage that his ideologically-motivated medical advice will cause. Medical professionals have a responsibility to the public to be as accurate and objective as they possibly can be and, above all, to do no harm.

With this responsibility, there must be accountability. Bill Frist should be stripped of his medical certification.

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