Archive for Sunday, August 3, 2014

Facebook issue still dogs Senate candidate

August 3, 2014

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Holton — Milton Wolf’s chances of becoming the next tea party insurgent to knock off a GOP party titan got a huge boost when it was revealed that incumbent Pat Roberts’s official residence in Kansas was rented space in a friend’s Dodge City house. The three-term senator seemed perfect for casting as a Washington insider who was out of touch with his home state.

But as Tuesday’s Senate primary approaches, the challenge by the suburban Kansas City radiologist is bedeviled by renewed attention to an old episode from his professional life — his posting in 2010 of graphic X-images of patients’ injuries on his Facebook page.

Wolf, 43, has apologized for the incident, which came to light months ago, and insists he’s now closing the gap with Roberts, who had a wide early lead. But Roberts’ campaign is blanketing the airwaves with ads questioning Wolf’s judgment. And drawing new attention to the matter was a recent Topeka Capital-Journal report that a state medical board is conducting an investigation of Wolf’s actions.

“Roberts is running those attack ads because he’s desperate and he sees the trajectory of this,” Wolf said during a fajitas-and-chips lunch at a restaurant stop in Osage City, about 35 miles southwest of Topeka.

But the issue is competing against his efforts to focus the campaign on his preferred subject, the problems of entrenched big government.

Wolf has spent the final weeks of the race on a bus tour, buoyed by red-shirted backers at nearly four dozen stops, in which he lambastes old-style Washington politics and promises to fight more aggressively for conservative values. If elected, he says, he’ll leave the Beltway after two terms because he’s a doctor, not a career politician.

Kansas is fertile territory for the tea party message. It is echoed by numerous GOP candidates for state and federal offices.

In Holton, about 30 miles north of Topeka, where Roberts graduated from high school and where Wolf visited this week, local banker Matt Taylor acknowledged the appeal of fresh blood in the U.S. Senate, but said Wolf’s Facebook postings gave him pause.

“It was a turnoff to me, personally,” he said.

Roberts and Wolf are on the GOP primary ballot with two lesser-known candidates. Two Democrats and an independent are also running. The GOP counts on keeping the seat, having won every Senate race since 1932.

Tea party groups compare Roberts, who won a House seat in 1980 before being elected to the Senate, to veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who barely survived a GOP primary runoff, and former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost his GOP primary race in June in Virginia.

Wolf attacks Roberts relentlessly for owning a Washington-area home while listing the rented space in Kansas as his official residence. Roberts aided Wolf’s cause in early July with a gaffe during a Kansas City radio interview, in which he told the interviewer, “Every time I get an opponent — uh, I mean, every time I get a chance — I’m home.”

But Roberts has the backing of the state’s most prominent conservatives, including Gov. Sam Brownback. He’s raised more than $3.4 million since the start of last year, compared with Wolf’s $1 million.

Roberts is stressing his electability, and his campaign suggests Wolf’s past Facebook postings will allow the unthinkable — a Republican loss in November.

Voters “know the country’s in pretty bad shape and they want somebody with experience and somebody that can win in November,” Roberts told reporters during a campaign stop in Emporia, about 100 miles southwest of Kansas City.

Wolf acknowledged in February that he’d made the Facebook postings. They included images of fatal gunshot wounds and humorous comments. The State Board of Healings Arts, which licensed and regulates doctors in Kansas, has declined to comment on whether it is investigating the postings, as reported in the newspaper account.

Roberts’ ads accuse Wolf of violating patients’ privacy, something he strongly disputes. Wolf’s supporters say he’s accepted responsibility for a mistake. In Osage City, Wilburn Ludlum, a Vasser resident and owner of a lawn-mowing company, called the Roberts’ spots “pretty low-down.”

Comments

James Howlette 8 months, 3 weeks ago

They're both so charming that it's a pity we can't vote against them both.

Bob Forer 8 months, 3 weeks ago

What a choice between these two. The evil of two lessers.

James Garvey 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't posting of Patients X-RAYS a violation of HIPAA?

John Graham 8 months, 3 weeks ago

While certainly in poor taste, as long as he blacked out the patient's name and personal info it boils down to an act of insensitivity and poor judgement but not really a HIPAA problem. If he left the patient's name and personal info viewable then he has a real problem.

John Graham 8 months, 3 weeks ago

To start, I am not a fan of Dr Wolf's politics. If as Dr Wolf stated the patient's ID was blacked out, the X-ray issue is over blown. Drs and other healthcare providers are typically fascinated with the human body when it is behaving normally and even more so when it is out of order (pathology). Drs and other healthcare providers will often discuss cases they have seen (while not IDing the patient). It is simply seeing something one finds fascinating and sharing it with like minded people. Often this includes discussing abnormal physical findings, an interesting history, lab tests, X-rays etc. This includes discussions about trauma that some may have sustained. Yes I have been shown X-rays that show horrific trauma to the human body and as a doctor it was fascinating. I have also been shown X-rays of people that "accidentally fell while taking a shower" and landed on objects that managed to get lodged in their rectum. It is amazing the things people apparently keep in their shower. Yes there was some snickering amongst the doctors at the meeting where these X-rays were shown. Yes some of these people required surgery/surgeries to address their issue. The patients names were withheld in all instances. Because of the repeated exposure to patients' issues for years, doctors become numb to things that are shocking to most. What the average doctor discusses with other doctors over lunch would turn the average person's stomach. Because of the constant exposure to patients' issues many doctors sense of fascination and sense of humor is quite dark compared to nonmedical people. To a doctor seeing an X-ray of someone that had their head nearly blown off could be considered fascinating. Just as it was not unheard of to see someone have a soda, sandwich or M&Ms while working on a cadaver in gross anatomy lab during the first year of medical school (staff didn't allow such things to happen but often med students would work on dissections in the evenings or late at night long after staff had went home for the day). The fact is the statements and jokes that Dr Wolf made are not that uncommon amongst doctors and other healthcare providers. The choice to post on Facebook where the general public could see was not well thought out.

Continued on next post.

John Graham 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Continued from above post.

Before some of you criticize what I have said or what Dr Wolf did/said, remember finding dark things fascinating and or at times humorous is quite common with the average person. Look at how many people drive slowly by a car wreck trying to catch a glimpse of what's going on. Or how about the crowd that suddenly appears around any fire or other traumatic event? Remember the saying "can't turn one's eyes away from a train wreck"? How about all those people that watched Anna Nicole's TV show. We all knew that wasn't going to end well. How about those people fascinated with the troubles of Lindsay Lohan? What Dr Wolf did and said is not as uncommon as the press and some of the public would like everyone to believe. Most doctors are smart enough not to post fascinating X-rays and their sense of humor on Facebook for the general public to see. If you believe that your doctor has never found gruesome X-rays "fascinating" or made a dark joke that you might find offensive, then I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

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