My wiki partner and fellow blogger Melanie Mattson (Just a Bump in the Beltway) alerted me to a whole new pile of crap about Bush’s new Surgeon General nominee, James Holsinger, cardiologist and master of biblical studies (Melanie took me to task for saying that’s a degree in “theology.” I stand chastised. Errr . . . maybe that’s not the right word. Errr . . . maybe it is.) We covered some of it in yesterday’s post (wingnut homophobia and bigotry and generous campaign contributions to Bush and the Republican Party). But we missed some other stuff (you thought what we did write was enough? Silly, you!).
As we noted, Holsinger was Chief Medical Director at the Department of Veterans Affairs serving the elder Bush. Under his watch, the VA was found to be incompetent and negligent in several cases. Here is Holsinger’s admission his agency was to blame in the Chicago deaths:
“Mistakes were made,” said the Veterans Affairs Secretary, Edward J. Derwinski. “The medical care was clearly not what it should be.”
The agency’s announcement came a week after department investigators questioned poor supervision and delays between diagnosis and surgery, among other things.
After an extensive review of 15 deaths between June 1989 and March 1990, the agency acknowledged blame in six, said Dr. James Holsinger Jr., the agency’s chief medical officer. (New York Times via BuzzFlash)
“Mistakes were made.” Where have I heard that before? Chicago wasn’t the only trouble spot under Holsinger (Wyoming: “Thirty VA hospitals were found to have ‘high numbers of patient complications and other indicators of substandard care.'” – BuzzFlash) but after not running the VA competently (there’s a long tradition of that there) he was tapped by crazy Ernie Fletcher in Kentucky to rundown their health department, something he promptly did:
A decade later, Dr. Holsinger was appointed Kentucky’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Family Services. By the end of his tenure, a Kentucky newspaper found that the state was at the bottom of the nation for almost every health measure. Kentuckians die at a rate of 18 percent above the national average, the newspaper reported.
“We don’t have to worry about foreign aggressors. We are killing ourselves off,” said Dr. Baretta Casey, a Hazard physician and University of Kentucky professor. “I see a lot of illnesses similar to a third-world country,” added Dr. Sandra Dionisio, a Kentucky internist trained in the Philippines.(BuzzFlash)
Shortly after, Holsinger bugged out for a teaching job at the University of Kentucky. Meanwhile he continues to appeal an adverse court ruling in relation to an accusation that $20 million belonging to the Methodist Church was scarfed up by a charity Holsinger chairs.
Sufficient credentials for job of Surgeon General of the United States,”America’s Doctor,” wouldn’t you say? Thank you, President Bush.