1/14/2009

Really, Sanjay Gupta?

Sanjay gupta cnnImage via WikipediaIsn't there actually a qualified person to be Surgeon General? I mean, someone who isn't a corporate pharmaceutical shill and spokesperson? Someone who isn't a pop-medicine guru?

Already the criticism of Sanjay Gupta as choice of Surgeon General has drawn lots of fire from all sides. I suppose Obama thought a personable celebrity would be a nice break but, unfortunately that hasn't proved to be the case.

Sanjay Gupta got caught carrying the water for the Bushies when he erroneously reported and outright lied at times about Michael Moore's film Sicko.

Now, Gupta has decided that medical marijuana is a bad idea and that anyone voting for marijuana reform is a stoner because Gupta decided that marijuana is all bad and even the positive points are overshadowed by the demon weed's bad effects. So, Obama would be putting a cute talking head into the position of Surgeon General who opposes what could be some of the best palliative care for patients with chronic pain or side effects of chemotherapy.

One of the best comments I have seen was by a retired professor of medicine who equated putting a man like Sanjay Gupta in charge of public health to putting the endowed blonde weekend weathergirl in charge of NOAA. Sure, they're nice to look at but they're just not qualified for the job.

Let's face it, Gupta is a neurosurgeon. His limited (very limited) published works all deal with the technical aspects of neurosurgery. He will not be called upon as Surgeon General to do a nice thoracic laminectomy with rod placement. Instead, he will be considering the direction of public health in the United States, helping the administration prioritize healthcare reform and deciding how to undo the mess Bush and his right wing cronies have made of reproductive medicine as a public health issue. In light of the actual job description is a neurosurgeon who spends the lion's share of his time smiling on TV and providing fluff pieces on pop-medicine really the best choice?

Surely there is one person somewhere in America who has experience in public health and preventive medicine. Someone who isn't a pop guru and corporate pawn. Can we please not do this?

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