US Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger Jr.- ethical personal conduct?

When University of Kentucky  Dr. James Holsinger was announced as the Presidential nominee for the job of US Surgeon General in May, it wasn’t long before a paper he had written for the United Methodist Church became major talk in the US.

Ideological lines were firmly established. The fact ”Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality” was medically shoddy to almost irrelevance was irrelevant to those who needed to pontificate about persecution against Christians.
The interesting thing about ideological lies, is they must contain just enough of a grain of truth to be swallowed. And that is what happened. Do a search for Holsinger and you’ll see howling and rage coming from various sections of the US religious right about the homosexual agenda and Christian persecution. There is equal howling and anger coming from the left. 
Objections about Holsinger’s appointment from The American Public Health Association had little effect on public discourse. He was endorsed by The College of Physicians. They might want to take a look at what Weaver and McGaughey have uncovered and rethink their endorsement.

The initial revelation wasn’t about persecution, it was about sub-standard medical writing. It doesn’t require a research degree to read his paper and figure it out. Box Turtle Bulletin looks at the footnotes, the science and goes through it in lay terms.

Dr. James Holsinger Jr.’s appearance before a congressional sub-committee regarding management of VA hospitals was barely noticed by the public.

Now more has come to light about why many people believe this man is not fit to be “America’s Doctor,” the next Surgeon General of the United States.
This is a public position, with oversight of a department of five thousand people. It is an honourable job, a job of trust. Holsinger, while acting with no doubt utterly sincere conviction within his roles in the United Methodist Church, has done a great deal of damage and cost his denomination millions of dollars.

Holsingers long time involvement with the nefarious IRD (Institute of Religion and Democracy) is no secret. He sat on their board. He has been a point man for this group within the United Methodist Church for years.

Now it has been discovered that that Holsinger stepped down in a bitter and protracted lawsuit regarding the sale of The Good Samaritan Hospital in Kentucky. 
It wasn’t until a few days after the announcement of his nomination that Holsinger stepped away and the lawsuit abruptly ceased.  Dr. Andrew Weaver and Lawrence H. McGaughey followed the money. Milking a church cash cow:

What might have motivated Holsinger to be part of long, costly litigation against his own church? Following the money offers insight. From July 1, 1997, through June 30, 2006, the GSF and a corporate subsidiary dispersed $8,430,363 in grants, of which $5,317,070 (63 percent) was given to the University of Kentucky (UK) programs in medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health (GuideStar, 2007).

This included endowing two academic chairs valued at a million dollars each — one in nursing and the other in public health (Bucks for Brains, 2006). These endowed chairs and several million dollars in other grants were awarded while Holsinger was promoting the UK and seeking funds for these programs in his job as Chancellor of the Chandler Medical Center at UK from 1994 through 2003 (Personal Communication, 2007b). It continued while he was a GSF trustee from July 2000 through May 2007. The GSF’s gifts to UK medical and its related schools have been so significant that the foundation is in elite company on the “presidential honor roll of donors,” along with major corporations such as Alcoa, DuPont, IBM, and the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company (UK, 2007).

One of Holsinger’s line of defence in his nomination appearance before the senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions was personal testimonials about what a great even handed guy he was.
Propagandists can be as charming as the next guy, and even handed when it suits their purpose. The questions the committee has to look at were his medical and administrative qualifications for office and his ability to carry out those responsibilities ethically and in a none partisan fashion.

This latest offering by Weaver and McGaughey about Dr. James Holsinger should give any member of the United Methodist Church very serious pause. It should give members of the public serious pause.

I’ve no doubt their compliation and background research will be passed to the senate committee, who already know about Holsinger’s VA record and his ‘medical’ paper that garnered all the initial noise. 
No one is in a hurry to name a new Surgeon General, it is an appointment that lasts four years, and it is likely the committe vote will take place in September.  
There are a thousand more immently qualified medical professionals able to fulfil the responsibility of the office. 
There are a thousand more qualified medical professionals that haven’t put out false and shoddy papers. There are a thousand more ethical, qualified medical personal that have not cost their church denominion millions; used trust fund money to establish their standing in their state.

Dr. James Holsinger Jr. Prepared statement for the senate committee July 12, 2007 (.pdf)
The Institute of Relgion and Democracy Inc. Media Transparency

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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2 Responses to US Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger Jr.- ethical personal conduct?

  1. Mark Byron says:

    I’m not quite up to speed on all the flak that Holsinger is under, but one of my colleagues at Sullivan U worked for him at UK and speaks highly of him as a professional; she leans a bit to the left on balance and wouldn’t be hauling water for Dubya on this one.

    That’s not to say that he might have been both a good boss and done the things his critics have charged him of, but I’ve got one colleague who’s vouching for him.

  2. Bene D says:

    I started following this from day one because Frank Lockwood broke the story and he is a solid journalist.
    It’s quite facinating, and I’m not sure it’s just a Bush thing.

    As you say, a lot of people like the guy, but the more his actions with the IRD come out, the less stellar he looks as a candidate for office.

    When C. Everett Koop was the US SG, it was conservatives who gave him grief. He didn’t have background clutter like Holsinger Jr. and put medicine and the welfare of citizens first. I have read nothing on background that convinces me Holsinger Jr. has done very well in that regard.

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