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The Madison Doctor Debacle

The union troops blowing off their jobs to protest outside the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin had a problem.  As Fox News explains it, many of them “could be in violation of their work contracts if they call out sick without a medical excuse.”

Luckily for our highly compensated union friends, doctors from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine stood ready to churn out fraudulent medical excuses.  Conservative bloggers and Fox News caught them “manning a doctor station to write medical notes excusing those protesting at the Wisconsin State Capitol from work.”  They used large handmade signs to advertise their services.  Fraudulent paperwork was made available to anyone who asked… even Andrew Breitbart.

Liberal bloggers initially tried to discredit the story, claiming it was some kind of set-up by Breitbart.  That narrative vanished faster than a Wisconsin Democrat from the Senate chamber, once the mainstream media began covering the doctor debacle.  If you’re a liberal troll who hasn’t got the memo yet, the “made up by wingnuts” excuse is no longer operative.  Please report back to Crooks & Liars for a new set of talking points.

One of the offending doctors has been positively identified as Lou Sanner, 59, a family medicine practitioner from the University.  Sanner says he was tossing those notes around because the protesters “appeared to be suffering from stress.”  He told the Associated Press his quickie excuse slips were “as valid as every other work note that I’ve written for the last 30 years.”  The unlucky company that writes his malpractice insurance will be thrilled to hear that.

Over at the Atlantic, physician-journalist Ford Vox identifies other fraudsters, including Dr. Patrick McKenna and Dr. James Shropshire… who is a member of the University of Wisconsin faculty.  Vox’s article is bizarre in its tone, as he acknowledges the severity of these doctors’ malpractice, but seems intent on mocking the conservatives who broke the story, along with anyone else who makes a big deal about it.  Discussing the notion that striking teachers will use these doctor notes to screw the taxpayers out of paid sick leave, he snorts, “I’ll wager any complaining school board official will be a registered Republican.”  He labors mightily to make excuses for these “weary warriors” who “carried their patient advocacy too far,” and insists that “suspension or revocation of medical licenses would be quite a disproportionate response to the actual harm involved in this high-profile infraction of professional ethics.” 

Vox paints the offending doctors as innocent, well-meaning naifs who unwittingly swam into deep political waters, and were savaged by conservative sharks with video cameras.  Really?  We’re supposed to believe they turned up at a massive, carefully organized protest, which had been in progress for days, without understanding exactly what they were doing?

The University of Wisconsin has begun an investigation, and acted to distance itself from the perpetrators.  “These UW Health physicians were acting on their own and without the knowledge or approval of UW Health,” insisted the university’s Director of Media Relations, Lisa Brunette, in an email to Fox News.  “These charges are very serious and in response the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, two of the entities that comprise UW Health, will immediately launch an investigation of the reported behavior. The investigation will identify which UW Health physicians were involved and whether their behavior constituted violations of medical ethics or University of Wisconsin and UW Health policies and work rules.”

The case of the fake doctor notes is a convergence of everything that is sick and dysfunctional in liberal culture.  Medical ethics went out the window in the name of politics, which corrupt everything they touch.  The Left has been telling us health care and medical insurance are topics so complex that government must handle them on behalf of a hapless population… but introduce the demands of political expedience, and all that “complexity” dissolves in an instant.  Trial lawyers have made millions by suing doctors, driving up health care costs and corrupting the very practice of medicine itself, by requiring “defensive medicine” that has nothing to do with science… but as soon as unions and the Democrat Party decided a show of force was needed in Madison, you had physicians marching around with hand-lettered signs that said “I’M A DOCTOR – NEED A NOTE?”

Politics over medical ethics.  Politics over trust and professionalism.  Politics over pure common sense.  Politics over all.  When the State dispenses prosperity, influencing the State becomes everyone’s primary concern… no matter how many degrees they hold, or oaths they have sworn.  

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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