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Archive for Sunday, February 23, 2014

U.S. Senate hopeful Wolf apologizes for Facebook posts

February 23, 2014

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U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., shakes hands with his GOP primary opponent, Dr. Milton Wolf, earlier this year at a Douglas County Republican Party event.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., shakes hands with his GOP primary opponent, Dr. Milton Wolf, earlier this year at a Douglas County Republican Party event.

— A tea party-backed Kansas radiologist who is trying to unseat longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has apologized for posting X-ray photos of fatal gunshot wounds and medical injuries on his personal Facebook page several years ago, but he called the revelation about the images the work of a desperate incumbent.

In addition to the images, Milton Wolf also participated in online commentary layered with macabre jokes and descriptions of carnage, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The report about the images, which came from hospitals in the Kansas City area on both sides of the state line, drew criticism from medical professionals around the region who called their display on social media irresponsible.

"The dignity and privacy of the individual should be protected," said John Carney, president of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo. "It doesn't sound like they're being protected if they're, obviously, on Facebook."

Carney said the summary of Wolf's postings provided to him would be widely viewed as "beyond alarming for a professional in the field of medicine."

In an interview, Wolf told the newspaper he received permission from patients when required before making use of records or images. He claimed usage, including Facebook posts, that didn't reveal an individual's identity didn't require prior authorization.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Johnson County Republican asked for forgiveness from anyone who was offended by the images.

He also assailed Roberts for waging a war on doctors by telling people about them. The Capital-Journal's report did not say how the newspaper obtained the photos.

"Several years ago I made some comments about these images that were insensitive to the seriousness of what the images revealed," Wolf said. "Soon thereafter, I removed those images and comments, again several years ago. For them to be published in a much more public context now, by a political adversary who would rather declare war on doctors than answer serious questions that Kansans have, is truly sad."

A news release by Wolf's campaign accused Roberts of participating in a misleading character attack in what it called "the most desperate move of any campaign in recent history."

He said the medical images — including an X-ray of a man decapitated by gunfire — were uploaded to social media sites and other online venues for educational purposes and that they also served to demonstrate the evil lurking in the world.

But an array of professionals involved in medical ethics condemned his airing of the information outside the confines of a doctor-to-doctor consultation, or for the purpose of formal medical research or textbook construction.

Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., where Wolf obtained the decapitation X-ray, said Friday it wouldn't have granted Wolf permission to use images of a shooting victim in that manner.

Officials at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, which is linked to X-rays on the Internet depicting a person embedded with shotgun pellets and marked as property of TheWolfFile.com, said Wolf had pledged to request removal of the X-rays from a California political website.

But Mallory Laur, a marketing specialist for the center, said the X-rays on the site weren't a violation of federal medical privacy law.

"De-identified health care images are often used for education and other purposes," she said.

Leroy Towns, a spokesman for Roberts, said the news about Wolf's Facebook interactions has raised questions about the doctor's legal and professional responsibilities to protect the privacy of patient medical information.

"For any doctor to make patient records public and then use the records for public discussion and entertainment is just unthinkable," Towns said. "Allegations of such lack of judgment demand extensive scrutiny and investigation."

Comments

William Enick 9 months, 4 weeks ago

It's gonna get really thick (sick) this election cycle. All the more reason to vote... vote people.

Julius Nolan 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Vote for anyone who is not a Republican, and definitely not the tea drinkers.

Don Frey 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Palin, Cruz, Huelscamp (sp?), Paul, Santorum (sp?), Brownback, Fox, that whole crowd; when will it end?

Phillip Chappuie 9 months, 4 weeks ago

The sad thing about this Republican primary is that neither candidate will make an adequate choice. Mr. Roberts has served well these many years but his favor has waned and his influence has been reduced to relatively obscure. Mr. Wolf is clearly not appropriate to the task. He has demonstrated a narrow minded view of the world and is apparently reckless in his decision making. This would not serve Kansas.

Bob Forer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

How is this a "war on doctors?" The calling to task of an obviously twisted and demented indiviudal (who happens to be a doctor) for the gratuitous and unauthorized display on the public internet of images of human beings brutally murdered and disfigured by gunshots, is hardly a war on doctors, but nstead, a war against abject indecency.

Wolfe's claim to have received permission from his patients to use those photographs is beyond outrage. How in the world does someone depacitated by gunshots give "permission?" And after the privacy of those victims is violated, he proceeds to engage in public conversations on the internet finding macabe humor in such tragedies.

Dr. Wolf, there is nothing funny about brutal murder.

The guy is a complete dirtbag. He has no business practicing medicine, nor representing the people.

Bob Forer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Here is an excerpt from today's Topeka Capital-Journal.

"The gunshot victim, Wolf joked online, wasn't going to complain about the awkward positioning of his head for an X-ray. In a separate Facebook comment, Wolf wrote that an X-ray of a man decapitated by gunfire resembled a wounded alien in a “Terminator” film and that the image offered evidence people “find beauty in different things.”

And another excerpt:

"In a Facebook discussion of an image of the person decapitated by gunfire, Wolf shared that the X-ray was among cherished artifacts from time spent working as a medical resident at Truman Medical Centers. The graphic image shows a skull broken apart like a smashed pumpkin. Chunks of skull remain attached by tissue with vertebra exposed at the neck.

“One of my all-time favorites," Wolf posted to the Facebook picture. "From my residency days there was a pretty active 'knife and gun club' at Truman Medical Center. What kind of gun blows somebody's head completely off? I've got to get one of those.”

Beauty???????? All-time favorites??????

WTF?? The guy is a sicko.

Addie Line 9 months, 4 weeks ago

How sad. I would be devastated and outraged if that was the X-ray of my family member. I am aware that non-identifying health information can be shared, I just thought most professionals were smart enough to do it to each other in passing, not online for their entire Facebook feed's amusement. And this guy is running for office, yikes. If this is the type of discretion he uses in his practice I'd hate to see how he works within the government.

Bob Forer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Apparently Wolf obtained a lot of these images during his residency at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City.which is where the majority of gunshot victims from the inner city are taken. I surmise that this dirt bag figures that these type of people--poor, black, or both--don't deserve the dignity or respect that white middle class people demand.

This guy is truly contemptible on so many different levels.

Bob Forer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Here is the contact page for Wolf's employer, Alliance Radiology: http://allianceradiology.com/contactus.html

Let them know your outrage. Why does Dr. Wolf continue to be employed with them?

Leslie Swearingen 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Done and done, thank you for the link Bob. I am stunned that this would happen.

Leslie Swearingen 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Kansas was talked about on MSNBC for the spanking law being debated, and we are in the Washington Post because of Wolf. Check this out.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/02/24/code-blue-for-dr-milton-wolf/?hpid=z4

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