Thursday, June 16, 2005

Why Doctors Don’t Diagnose Videotapes

Remember how Senator Bill Frist watched that heavily edited videotape of Terry Schiavo and declared that she was fine and about to snap out of her spell any minute?

Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state."

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
Yep, Dr. Frist, renowned surgeon and Feline Son of Sam (it rubs the catnip on its fur – it places the catnip in the basket) is such a brilliant doctor that he was able to tell us Ms. Schiavo’s condition by viewing five minutes of videotape. Al Franken has an idea to better leverage this unprecedented talent. We should place cameras in every hospital room in the country. Frist can sit in his office with a live feed and switch from room to room, giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down for every patient. Who should live and who should die? Only Senator Frist knows.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, maybe we should review his work. An autopsy was done on poor Ms. Schiavo to find out more about her condition.
An autopsy on Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.
Interesting… Blind, you say? So in that videotape that made it look like she was watching a balloon, it was just a coincidence? Wow, Dr. Frist, it’s not like you to get a video diagnosis so wrong.

And for the record, I don’t mean to sound like I’m belittling the hopes of Ms. Schiavo’s parents. I’m sure if there was any hope for a child of mine, I would do everything I can to help her too. But unfortunately for everybody, it turns out that all the doctors who actually saw her in person were right and there was no hope. It’s a shame. But there is angst in this post and that angst is focused like a laser beam on Senator Frist and Tom DeLay and all those bastards in congress (and the White House) who tried to take this family’s tragedy and turn it into their own personal political gain. They bring shame upon the entire human race.

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