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Radiologist/Candidate Blasted For X-ray Posts

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Milton Wolf, MD, a diagnostic radiologist who is running for the U.S. Senate from Kansas, caught some heat over the weekend for X-ray images—and his joking comments about them—that he had once posted on his personal Facebook page.

The Topeka Capital-Journal said on Saturday that some of the X-rays depicted gruesome gunshot wounds. One, the newspaper said, showed a skull broken apart by gunfire. The paper said Dr. Wolf described it as “one of my all-time favorites” from his residency days at Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Missouri.

“What kind of gun blows somebody’s head completely off?” the newspaper said Dr. Wolf posted as a comment. “I’ve got to get one of those.”

The paper said the images and comments—neither of which it published—apparently were taken down before Dr. Wolf announced his senatorial candidacy. The Facebook page now focuses on his campaign. Dr. Wolf also has another Facebook page devoted solely to the campaign.

The online version of the newspaper’s story includes a video of a contentious interview between reporter Tim Carpenter and Dr. Wolf, with occasional off-camera comments by, apparently, one of Dr. Wolf’s campaign staffers.

In the interview, Dr. Wolf said the posting of images without identifying information did not violate anyone’s privacy. He defended the postings as educational:

You know, there are real consequences to what happens and some of the evil that’s out there in our world and some of the tragedies that are out in this world. … Do you think there would be so many of these tragedies if people saw the consequences of them?

Carpenter responded, “I believe you’re making light of it. It’s not an educational thing.”

Dr. Wolf appeared to suggest that the jokes were gallows humor triggered by the pressures of the medical profession. “It’s difficult as a health care professional to have to deal with those every single day,” he said.

The news about the images and jokes triggered criticism of Dr. Wolf from a variety of medical and political sources, as the paper reported in its original article and a follow-up on Sunday. Also on Sunday, Dr. Wolf issued a statement in which he apologized for his “insensitive” comments about the images. The statement cited the toll of “witnessing so much human suffering” as a physician and accused Senator Pat Roberts, whom Dr. Wolf is trying to unseat, of “character assassination.”

Dr. Wolf, a distant cousin of President Obama, has campaigned as a more conservative alternative to Roberts. Dr. Wolf works for the Shawnee Mission, Kansas, division of Alliance Radiology. He has written a 38-page e-book, published in 2011, titled First, Do No Harm: The President’s Cousin Explains Why His Hippocratic Oath Requires Him to Oppose ObamaCare. The book is part of a series collectively known as Voices of the Tea Party.

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A radiologist in Washington state faces a lawsuit after the state Supreme Court says a statute of limitations that shielded him is unconstitutional. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 35.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UW Radiology Review Course “Not Just for Residents”

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One Response to “Radiologist/Candidate Blasted For X-ray Posts”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Radiologist’s Suit Hurts Ex-partner’s Campaign on February 26th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    […] weekend for having posted grisly X-ray images on his Facebook page and having joked about them. We told you about that brouhaha on Monday. Also on Monday, the Kansas City Star reported that the candidate was being tied to the […]