Friday, June 17, 2005

Frist Credibility Questioned Over Video Diagnosis

Things are getting even worse for Bill Frist. As we noted Wednesday, Frist's video tape diagnosis of Terry Schiavo was contradicted by the autopsy results. Frist is now being embarrassed by his statement on the Today Show yesterday. When asked about his faulty diagnosis by Matt Lauer his response was, ""Well, first of all, I never made a diagnosis." When Lauer noted that Frist had claimed Schiavo was responding, Frist claimed, "I never said she responded."

While the video tape wasn't very useful in diagnosing Terry Schiavo, the video tape of Frist making his diagnosis on the Senate floor on March 17 is very helpful in demonstrating Bill Frist's lack of credibility.

Excerpts from Frist's Senate floor speech March 17:

"A lot of people have severe disabilities, such as cerebral palsy and receptive aphasia, but [Terri Schiavo's] brother said that she responds to her parents and to him. That is not somebody in persistent vegetative state…."

"Persistent vegetative state, which is what the court has ruled, I say that I question it, and I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office here in the Capitol. And that footage, to me, depicted something very different than persistent vegetative state…."

"Once again, in the video footage — which you can actually see on the website today — she certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli that the neurologist puts forth."

Excerpts from an interview Thursday with Matt Lauer on "Today" on NBC:

Matt Lauer: "The long-awaited autopsy report on Terri Schiavo was released on Wednesday. It concluded that she was in a persistent vegetative state, suffered from severe and irreversible brain damage. You remember back in March … you were on the floor of the Senate at that time, not only as a senator but a doctor. And in talking about Ms. Schiavo, you said, quoting you now, 'She does respond,' end quote. Were you wrong in your diagnosis?

Frist: "Well, first of all, I never made a diagnosis. I think it's very important that we saw the autopsy today. It does give us the definitive information that we did not have at that point in time, and that's why I think it is big news that she had totally irreversible brain damage, and we now have that information. All we were arguing for on the floor of the Senate is to get an accurate diagnosis before you withdraw a feeding tube from a live person…."

Lauer: "But when you stood on the floor and you said, "She does respond," are you at all worried that you led some senators … "

Frist: "No, I never said she responded. I said in our review, the court videotapes … the same ones the other doctors reviewed, and I questioned, 'Is their diagnosis correct?' …. We had a presumptive diagnosis. I simply said, 'Before withdrawing food — killing her, in effect — let's make sure we have the right diagnosis.' I never, never on the floor of the Senate made a diagnosis, nor would I ever do that."


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