Friday, March 25, 2005

Action Alert - Expose Senator Bill Frist's Unethical Mis Diagnosis Of Teri Shiavo

Recently Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist used the Senate floor to issue a mis-diagnosis and stir up public fervor over the Teri Shiavo case. Frist, an accomplished heart surgeon, took a political opportunity to inject himself into the case as a doctor. He had never seen or examined Shiavo in person, but cited a highly edited video tape of her.

In his speech, Frist said he was "speaking more as a physician than as a United States senator" in rejecting the opinions of other doctors involved in the Schiavo case that she is in a "persistent vegetative state."

"Remember, Terri is alive," Frist said. "She is not in a coma. Although there are a range of opinions, neurologists who have examined her insist today that she is not in a persistent vegetative state.

Howard Markel, a physician and historian of medicine at the University of Michigan, said, "Of the many physicians who have served in Congress in the history of this country, none of them have ever gone to the well of the Senate or House and said, 'I'm speaking to you as a physician, and I'm questioning a diagnosis.' Time and again, he has waved his stethoscope in the political arena. It's completely politics — he uses the rhetoric of a physician to bolster his political agenda."

I believe this is an ethical violation. But, further I believe the American Medical Association may need to hear our opinions on this in order to be encouraged to have their ethics commission look into the matter.

Please Send Mail To:

American Medical Association
515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
800-621-8335

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