While I was on vacation last week, many web surfers found my name when searching for articles on Sanjay Gupta’s work after the announcement that he was being considered for the Surgeon General position.
Because of a failure in search engine functioning, some surfers weren’t able to find what they were searching for and asked me to provide an index. Here’s some of what I’ve written:
about a journal article that pointed out his involvement in a doctor’s office waiting room video program that “overtly offers sponsors, including drug companies, the chance to boost sales of their products.”
Two of his stories were reviewed on HealthNewsReview.org:
One of the smartest pieces I saw was by Sandy Szwarc on her Junkfood Science blog.
1. What does the President want from a Surgeon General? Is it just PR & glitz? Then let’s stop the charade and abandon the position. Like ending the Pony Express – a once good idea whose usefulness is past.
2. What does the American public need from a Surgeon General? I suggest “Nothing.”
3. The prevention & wellness messages that Gupta so often promoted on CNN can go too far – pushing screening tests outside the boundaries of evidence and ignoring that such screening may cause more harm than good. If that is the message that he would promote as Surgeon General, I would consider that a non-evidence-based abuse of the bully pulpit. And a huge mistake by the Obama administration. See Gilbert Welch’s pre-election essay in the NYT on the overpromotion of screening/prevention by both Obama and McCain.
4. The industry conflict of interest questions that have arisen are cause for concern. Usually where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
5. On the air at CNN he too often acted as a doctor not as a journalist. That’s because he really wasn’t a journalist. He wasn’t trained as one – CNN threw him into that situation. There are countless more pre-eminent doctors and countless better health communicators than Sanjay Gupta. So what’s his qualification?
6. Presumably Surgeon General Gupta would work closely with new HHS secretary Tom Daschle. Several passages from Daschle’s book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis,” raise questions in my mind about the Gupta appointment. Daschle wrote about “using evidence-based guidelines and cutting down on inappropriate care” as effective ways to control rising health-care costs. But Gupta’s reporting, as noted in the entries above, often didn’t reflect a great appreciation for evidence-based health care. Daschle also wrote, “It is relatively easy to misinform the public and stoke fears, no matter how strong the desire for reform.” Promoting screening outside the boundaries of evidence is fear-mongering. These are potentially troublesome disconnects for an Obama health care team.