Ex-Gay Positive Surgeon General Candidate: My Bad

I’m one of those weird people that thinks a person’s faith is not necessarily a skillset for a job, especially one that requires a great deal of technical and situational expertise.

So from thinkprogress.org, this update on Holsinger’s experience under George H.W. Bush:

A General Accounting Office report released in Nov. 1991 found that under Holsinger’s watch, the veterans health system was plagued by severe “substandard care.” Some examples [AP, 11/20/91]:

– There were multiple cases of “pure inattention.” In “one case a man lost a leg because he wasn’t checked regularly, in another, a bladder-cancer victim died because he went untreated for 45 days.”

– The GAO investigator “found serious problems at every one of six VA hospitals she visited, and that a broader examination of records found 30 VA hospitals had high numbers of patient complications and other indicators of substandard care.”

– The investigator “testified that the most serious problem found at the six medical centers was the lack of supervision of residents and interns, a problem she said had ’severe consequences for patients.’”

Holsinger’s response to the investigation: “Our system is obviously not perfect — no health care system is.”

In one particularly egregious example, “poor medical care” contributed or caused “the deaths of six men at a North Chicago veterans hospital” during 1991. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) called the large number of wrongful deaths at one facility “unprecedented.” The VA Inspector General found that the “questionable medical practices” at the facilities “included failing to diagnose problems, failing to treat problems quickly and doing unnecessary surgery.” [Chicago Tribune, 4/5/91]

Holsinger tried to downplay the deaths. He said that only one out of five of the cases showed a clear indication that “it was a surgical misadventure.”

It would be great to have a Surgeon General who knew that ex-gay ministries do more good than harm, but not at the price of making sure that the rest of the country receive responsible, informed health care information. I don’t honestly think a guy who treated our nation’s soldiers with this level of disdain is someone I want to see guide the health of the entire nation. We have enough of a problem getting people covered as it is. Between those who are not covered by insurance and those who are underinsured and whose claims are routinely denied, we’re talking about 350 million people. We need a top notch Surgeon General.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Just sayin’.

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~ by WriterRand on June 8, 2007.

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