As a doctor, we use certain terms in our dictation.

Now, with bureaucrats insisting we describe everything, we often have to resort to checklists to satisfy the criteria that we actually checked the teeth and throat etc. So how does one describe areas of the body which do not show signs of disease?

They are described as being “Within normal limits” or “unremarkable” if there is no sign of disease.

But the press, who is determined to elect Obama as Lord and Savior after eight years of demonizing Bush, now has turned their venom on Senator McCain. And they are using the Democratic talking points to do so, including a lot of snide remarks about his age and health.

After months of articles implying he is ready to drop dead and they want to see his medical records to prove he might not be at death’s door, Senator McCain has released his records from the Mayo Clinic.

And we see the results: Scott Martelle at the LATimes has a headline:

John McCain and his ‘unremarkable’ buttocks
First, we have to start with this reasoned medical opinion buried deep in John McCain‘s medical files, released for review earlier today. From his oncologist, Dr. Suzanne Connolly of the Mayo Clinic:  “Buttocks unremarkable except for some very light tan freckling.” That noise you hear? A massive “thank you” from Jon Stewart‘s writers.

On a more serious tack, the way the records were made available to reporters wasn’t exactly a “release.” It was more an environment of controlled access at the Copperwynd Resort and Club in Fountain Hills, Ariz., limited to a handful of media, none of whom were allowed to make copies…

The reason McCain limited the full records is because of ignorant reporters such as Mr. Martelle. He requested onlyqualified reporters be able to read the records, so that they would give an accurate medical report of his history, reporting with knowledge and background of disease, not spin and hype.

Anyone with a medical background, or with expertise in reading medical records, would not have noticed the phrase.

But it says a lot about reporters that someone reading the records was looking for dirt, and managed to find this one properly used medical term and spin it to mock McCain.

Yet this is not the only “spin” by those who know little or nothing about medicine.

ABC news has a report worrying that McCain on occassion takes Ambien for jet lag, post air travel to adjust to the different time zones. This is actually an approved use of the medicine.

The reporter then compares McCain’s rare use of the pill to that of Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who wrecked a car after taking several Ambien, a narcotic pain killer, and alcohol. Instead of admitting he was a multisubstance abuser, Kennedy blamed his sleeping pill.

Hello, fellahs. There is a big difference between abuse and medicinal use.

The NYTimes actually has a better article on all of this.

They go into detail about staging his melanoma, and his psychiatric history.

The LATIMES has a similar good report in it’s new page.

Both articles note things that mean something to doctors: Things like his cholesterol, LDL and HDL levels, and that he had kidney stones.

The LATimes notes that McCain’s disability pension is for his orthopedic injuries, not anything that would interfere with his becoming president.

One hopes that Obama, whose parents both died young, and whose life overseas and prior drug use make him at high risk for Hepatitis B and C, will similarly  release his medical records.

However, someone was obviously searching the records for political reasons, and LATimes writer Martelle shows that he not only is partisan, but that he lacks professionalism.

Ah, but I guess things like honesty, refraining from calumny and professionalism are not things that one expects from those hired by newspapers.


Nancy Reyes is a physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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