Objections to Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General
When I first heard about the possibility of a TV celebrity doctor being named as Surgeon General of the United States, I had great misgivings. Obviously Dr. Gupta is very bright and articulate, but I felt that we needed someone who had been in general medical practice and knew the terrible problems most people have in accessing and finding good medical care. A neurosurgeon works in a very rarified atmosphere and usually has had no experience with low income clinics or the medical problems of the average working person.
The income of a neurosurgeon is also extremely high. In addition, Dr.Gupta makes large fees for speaking and from being a TV doctor. How can he possibly know the problems of poor and middle class Americans?
My dismay was increased greatly when I heard on the news this evening that Dr. Gupta spoke out against Michael Moore's excellent movie, Sicko. Michael Moore told it as it is. I have worked many times at Hammersmith Hopsital in London where some of the scenes were taken and also spoken with people in France, who love their health care. I have also worked in low income clinics, a hospital in a very poor section of Oakland, California and seen first hand the problems that people with disabilities have in getting and keeping good health care.
One of the principal reasons I decided to close the Center for Handicapped Children in San Francisco after 23 years was that I could no longer get the necessary procedures done on muscle biopsy specimens in this country and had to send them to Professor Sewry in London. She did them for me at no charge. I could have sent them to the Mayo Clinic, but our limited grant funds would have been used. England has the most outstanding pediatric neuromuscular program in the world. In this country, except for special problems, I only feel comfortable about referring parents to the Mayo Clinic for their children to be seen if there is a question of a neuromucular disorder.
We are far behind many other countries in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. We need a Surgeon General who has wide experience and knowledge of the many medical difficulties that we have in the U.S.
By Dr. Charlotte Thompson who blogs here.