Sunday, January 29, 2006

Frist Implies He Trusted Discredited Doctor When Diagnosing Schiavo Via Video

When Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) tried to diagnose Terri Schiavo from an hour's worth of videotape -- saying that "footage, to me, depicted something very different than persistent vegetative state" -- the conventional wisdom was that he was looking at the famous images of Schiavo smiling and seemingly responding to family members.

But today, on NBC's Meet the Press, viewers learned that Frist based his opinion on "court-appointed video by a board certified neurologist who came to the conclusion that she was not in a persistent vegetative state."

That neurologist was almost certainly Dr. William Hammesfahr.

JABBS readers should be very familiar with how the conservative media used Hammesfahr to try to present the "other side of the story."

Viewers of several conservative shows -- MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Fox News' Hannity & Colmes and Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club -- were not told that Hammesfahr's testimony was discredited by multiple courts for failing to back up his claims with actual facts. For example, a 2003 article in the St. Petersburg Times said that video supplied to Florida Circuit Judge George Greer showed Hammesfahr giving Schiavo 105 commands and 61 questions. The court reported it could not determine whether Schiavo's responses were more than random motions.

Was that the video that Frist watched?

The conservative media pushed Hammesfahr -- even falsely claiming he was a "Noble Prize nominee" -- to rally the troops against all the things it hates: the dreaded "liberal media," and those "liberal activist judges."

As a heart surgeon, Frist should have done his homework before trying to diagnose Schiavo via video. He should have spoken to her doctors. He should have been briefed that Hammesfahr's testimony had been discredited.

As a legislator, Frist should have known that 10 courts and 19 judges sided with Schiavo's husband and upheld Florida law. He should have known that as governor of Texas, President Bush signed the 1999 Advance Directives Act, which allows a patient's surrogate to make end-of-life decisions -- and is consistent with the current Florida law.

Sadly, Frist did what a lot of conservative politicians did during the Schiavo ordeal -- ignore facts, ignore legal precedents and ignore science, and instead kowtow to their base and the loud voice of the Religious Right.

Today, long after an autopsy proved Schiavo's doctors and husband were correct, and that Hammesfahr was wrong, Frist relied on the same empty conservative spin today to defend his actions.

Here's a portion of the interview with NBC's Tim Russert:

FRIST: ... Now, the video footage that I looked at, it wasn’t what you saw on TV, it was court-appointed video by a board certified neurologist who came to the conclusion that she was not in a persistent vegetative state.

RUSSERT: But, Senator, you will acknowledge that people who looked at this believed, suggested that you were trying to diagnose from your office, that the Senate was kept in session over the weekend. The president flew back from his ranch. For something that happens a thousand times a day, in terms of removing tubes, and ... (a)nd that this was used in a way to exploit politics and to play to the conservative base of the Republican Party. ... Do you regret going to the floor of the Senate and saying, “I watched the videotape and that’s not a persistent vegetative state.”

FRIST: No, I don’t. I’m a physician. I was watching a board-certified neurologist...

RUSSERT: Were you wrong in your diagnosis?

FRIST: I didn’t make the diagnosis. I raised the question of whether or not she’s in a persistent vegetative state. ...

RUSSERT: No regrets?

FRIST: Well, I’ll tell you what I learned from it, which is obvious, is that the American people don’t want you involved in these decisions. ...

Well, at least Frist has learned one thing from this embarrassing time in his Senatorial career.


Anonymous joemurphy said...

Frist is an idiot

10:53 PM  
Anonymous marmar said...

You can say that again...
Where did he earn his MD, at the Iowa Truck Driving Academy? He is proof positive that even a real dumbass can make it in Amurka.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Old Crusoe said...

I wonder why the American Psychiatric Association hasn't called for Bill Frist's immediate confinement.

He's an absolute mess.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Olney Blue said...

I saw a video of Frist on MTP this morning, and I can conclude that he is in a persistent idiotic state.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Mayberry Machiavelli said...

He better keep his knot tying skills up to date.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous FreedomAngel82 said...

So why did he do it? He did it because of that memo from Martinez. It was perfect for them to rally their fundie base around.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Donaldson said...

Hey, be fair: Doctor Senator Frist said he saw the videotape and it wasn't a persistent vegetative state...and he was RIGHT. The board-certified neurologist he watched on videotape was not a vegetable.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous GhostBuster said...

You are an expert of spin. The autospy did not prove Terri was PVS. You are a total idiot and Michael Schiavo shill. Terri's family knew she was brain damaged, she could STILL COMMUNICATE AND FEEL PAIN!


I say this with intensity.


8:52 AM  
Anonymous AsshatDetector said...

You know there was a German dude that killed people for being brain damaged and retarded. His name was "Hitler".

This is what this fucker at this blog supports. You should know more about Terri's condition before you go spouting your hateful bs. You don't give a shit about your fellow American's you only care about yourself. I hope you suffer 10 fold the same fate Terri did.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You conservatives waste your energies on Terri Schiavo, a case that has already been fairly decided ad naseum by several courts, when you should be focusing on the real failures of your president and Republican-dominated Congress when it comes to human health and well-being of ACTUAL concern to everyday Americans.
Childhood poverty has risen under the Bush Administration from 16.3% in 2000 to 17.8% at the end of 2004, as 1.3 million of children under 18 have fallen into poverty during the period, according to US Census Bureau statistics.
Healthcare premiums have increased double digits each year between 2000 and 2004, said the Kaiser Foundation. 46 million Americans are now without healthcare, a number that increased by 800,000 last year alone, said the U.S. Census.
Elsewhere, we have coming to light Bush Administration policy failures in New Orleans that could have directly resulted in hundreds of unnecessary deaths from Katrina. I won't even get into the Iraq invasion and occupation resulting in the deaths by some accounts of more than 100,000 innocent people. And new relevations of Bush Administration's unguided missles failing to kill Al Quada members in Palestine, yet taking out scores of innocent women and children.
Such information as above only bores conservatives.
The conservatives will continue to defend their party, its' leaders and its' president, as pro-life and pro-morals. But the conservatives only do so with a blindfold tightly wound across their eyes and their fingers firmly planted in their ears.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

I was pretty much emotionally caught up in the Terri Schiavo case at the time. I absolutely believe it ended with the wrong outcome.

If Michael Schiavo was a decent human being, he would have just told the Schindler family that he couldn't care for Terri, and he wanted to move on with his life. It was wrong for Schiavo, by that time an estranged husband with a girlfriend and a child, to have been assigned Terri's guardianship.

Her parents, the two people who gave her life in the first place, would have been happy to take on the responsibility of caring for her. Her life had value, and it was morally wrong to deny her basic needs such as food and water.

I debated this at the time, and knew the details of the case inside and out. I've forgotten some of them by now, but in my opinion, absent an Advanced Medical Directive, Michael Schiavo and his creepy Euthanasia activist pals as good as murdered Terri Schiavo.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Attn: David R. Mark

I have a question for Mr. Mark. Is there a way to contact him?

David, if you are reading this, I was wondering why it is that with all of the attention on the Alito hearings, you have not touched the subject. Did I overlook a relevant thread or something? I definitely have one or two things to say about the issue, if you would care to open the subject up to discussion. :)

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Schiavo issue, like Schiavo herself, is dead and buried.

10:41 AM  

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