Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gupta No Koop

If he weren’t British, Hugh Laurie would make a great director of the Centers for Disease Control. If he weren’t Canadian, William Shatner would make a great director of NASA. But Sanjay Gupta is an American and therefore this celebrity is deemed worthy by Barack Obama of becoming U.S. Surgeon General.

This appointment, if it happens, is a clunker.

It is ethically difficult enough to do brain surgery while on a journalistic assignment without then using a government bully pulpit to increase your future entertainment industry income. Gupta is a walking, talking conflict of interest, whose Time magazine essays and “House Doctor” programs on CNN too often offer questionable, if not dangerous, medical advice based on the interests of the drug and device industries.

Gupta will not come out of this nomination and government service ethically intact and Obama will look like the celebrity ass-kisser Republicans feared he was. But luckily Gupta cannot harm the American people much because the office of surgeon general is toothless. It just ought to go to someone who has no ulterior motives, someone of the ilk of Dr. Koop, not Gupta.

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