The Hippocritic Oath
I wrote this piece about two weeks ago, well-before my trip to Germany, but decided not to post it. It related to a small part of a larger national story about Donald Trump's doctor, but was something I noticed which hadn't gotten any national attention and deserved to, showing how incredibly irresponsible the doctor was (in a way, as mentioned, which had't been noticed in the press). But after writing the article I realized that even though a particular detail of this "small part" of the story is meaningless and irresponsible, it was the sort of thing that others could wrongly make a very inappropriate Big Deal of out. So, I decided to hold the story, and not post it until after the election. (This will be clear below.)
As it happened, while away my DVR recorded The Rachel Maddow Show all last week. So, yesterday I fast-forwarded through them to see if there was anything of interest. It turns out that on one of the broadcasts she finally referenced this previously un-noted issue. She was doing a follow-up report about another screwy aspect of the doctor story and, in doing so, mentioned that other viewers noticed the very same, irresponsible thing I had and she got bombarded by them. So, she briefly brought it up. (She also had another doctor on who confirmed that his very point was, indeed, utterly irresponsible and even broke certain medical standards, and perhaps codes.)
Therefore, since it's now "out in the public," I feel comfortable posting the piece I wrote a few weeks ago. So, here it is below --
I hadn't planned to write anything about politics today, but I was out last night and only just now caught up with Friday's Rachel Maddow Show, which I had recorded. One of the segments was on the strange interview that Donald Trump's gastroentorologist gave to NBC News. And there was a brief passage in it -- that hasn't been quoted anywhere that I've seen -- that was so ghastly irresponsible and stuns me that there hasn't been outrage, that I decided to come here to the keyboard.
One reason it hasn't gotten attention is that it apparently (somehow) slipped past NBC Nightly News itself, so the passage wasn't even used in their on-air story. But Rachel Maddow aired most of the interview uncut, and so I saw it. Yet even she didn't comment on the passage, but laughingly joked about some of the other things the doctor said in the interview. But how this passage slipped past her, slipped past NBC Nightly News, slipped past the interviewer, slipped past everyone still boggles me.
It came near the beginning, when Dr. Bornstein is asked about how he got involved in writing the letter came about. He relates that the Trump people said that Hillary Clinton would be releasing a letter from her doctor, and they wanted to know if he would write something about Trump. And as matter of factly he tells the interviewer --
"I know her physician, and I know some of her medical history, which really isn't so good, so I said, 'Why not?"
Okay, let's look at that again.
"I know some of her medical history, which really isn't so good."
I am absolutely flabbergasted.
Doctors do not reveal their patients health, unless given permission. Doctors most-especially do not reveal the health of patients of other doctors. And doctors Really Do Not reveal the health of any patients or provide any sort of diagnosis of any patient for whom they haven't done an examination. To anyone. Especially a reporter for the national TV news on camera!!!
Now, to be clear, I don't take a single word of what he says to be the truth. Not just because he hasn't done an examination of Hillary Clinton (though mostly because of that), but because on numerous levels he has shown himself to be unethical and irresponsible. So, I don't put anything past him to make anything up that suits him.
How well does he know Hillary Clinton's doctor? When did they last talk? When did they last discuss Hillary Clinton? What was said? Was it right after she came in for a basic appointment, when she had something to be treated -- and it then got treated, so she's now fine and has been absolutely fine for years? (For instance, just as one example, her cholesterol was high, so she was prescribed a statin, and now everything is fine and under control.) Was it right after she had her concussion -- four years ago -- and has since fully recovered? And on and on and on? He's not her doctor, how on earth does he know what her health is...at all??!!
And what does Hillary Clinton's physician think about this gastroenterologist acquaintance suggesting anything about his personal patient that might (or might not) have been passed along as part of a professional and private discussion? I'm just going to guess she's livid.
I'm going to guess that most medical board that look into such things would be livid.
I don't know if this is illegal or not. I know a doctor is legally not allowed to reveal any health information about his patient without permission. But I don't know what the law states about another doctor revealing health information about someone else's patient.
I do know it's seedy. And irresponsible. And shameful. Whether or not it's even remotely true -- because it allows others to speculate. Without any reason to.
I also know that the Hippocratic Oath begins, "First, do no harm." And telling a national TV news reporter something supposedly negative about another doctor's patient is doing harm. Again, whether or not it is true. Because it raises "suspicions." Perhaps it even intentionally raised "suspicions." Because given the shoddy actions of this doctor even before this, I think it's fair to presume shoddy actions across the board.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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