EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Controversial Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek MurthyPosted: March 10, 2014
It’s not just Gun Violence that Concerns the Nominee. Dr. Vivek Murthy Also Wants to Classify Scissors, Swimming Pools, Automobiles, and Shoes as a “Preventable Disease”.
- Dr. Murthy is co-founder and president of Doctors for America, an organization that says its mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high quality health care.
“People don’t realize how deadly hands and feet are. So many preventable deaths result from violence caused by hands and feet. Especially feet wearing boots, or shoes.”
— Dr. Vivek Murthy
Note: preventable errors in hospitals are the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. If hospital mistakes kill more people than guns, does Dr. Vivek Murthy advocate classifying hospital care as a “health care crisis?” or as a disease? What about scissors, shoes, swimming pools, and cars? Apparently he does.
At a recent conference in Washington D.C., The Butcher, punditfromanotherplanet‘s Editor-in-Chief , had an opportunity to interview Dr. Vivek Murthy. Here are the highlights of our exclusive interview:
The Butcher: Do you think your medical background and qualifications are what led the White House to tap you as nominee for Surgeon General? Or your close political ties with the White House, and record of advocacy of Barack Obama?
Dr. Murthy: (laughing) It’s definitely the latter.
The Butcher: Have you ever been the head of a major hospital?
Dr. Murthy: No, I haven’t.
The Butcher: Have you ever been the head of a department at a major hospital?
Dr. Murthy: Actually, no.
The Butcher: A small hospital? Or..okay, let’s move on to the next question. Have you had any influence on president Obama’s tobacco habit? Encouraged him to quit?
Dr. Murthy: He assures me that he no longer smokes. I believe he tells Mrs. Obama that, too.
The Butcher: Your nomination has stirred controversy among first amendment experts, and gun-rights advocates. Is it true that you advocate treating firearms as a disease?
Dr. Murthy: Yes, a preventable disease. I’m not the first to suggest this, though it’s only one of many things that pose a grave danger, and probably should be viewed as a disease. Automobiles, for example.
The Butcher: Automobiles?
Dr. Murthy: Yes! Did you know that in 2011, 89 people were killed on the roadways of America, each day? Thousands of people each year die needlessly, because of cars. If I become Surgeon General, I will become a leading advocate for classifying automobiles a disease.
The Butcher: I’ve heard that you also view swimming pools as dangerous.
Dr. Murthy: Don’t get me started on swimming pools.
The Butcher: What about scissors?
Dr. Murthy: Yes, scissors, too. Very dangerous. Self-inflicted accidental scissor injuries are common. Deaths are less common, unless more than one individual is involved, and it’s a violent act, using scissors as a weapon.
The Butcher: What about other types of violent deaths? As a health care expert, I’d imagine you are interested in developing ways to prevent homicides. What about beatings? When one person beats another person to death?
Dr. Murthy: People don’t realize how deadly hands and feet are. So many preventable deaths result from violence caused by hands, and feet. Especially feet wearing boots, or shoes. If I become Surgeon General, I pledge to do everything in my power to prevent that. Classifying boots as a disease is one way to accomplish that. Hands, too. And bare feet, as well, not just feet wearing boots, or shoes.
The Butcher: Your most controversial position of all is your view that hospitals should be viewed as a deadly disease. Is that true?
Dr. Murthy: Oh, definitely. Hospitals kill more people each year than all those other things combined. As Surgeon General, I’d classify them as a preventable disease, and take measures to limit access to hospitals, medical centers, and emergency rooms. Medical research facilities, and laboratories, institutions that aren’t involved in the treatment or care of patients, are an exception. Those I wouldn’t necessarily recommend classifying as a disease.
The Butcher: Are you sure president Obama is a successful non-smoker?
Dr. Murthy: No comment.
The Butcher: Thank you for your time, Dr. Murthy, and good luck with the nomination.
Dr. Murthy: You’re welcome.
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