Thursday, December 11, 2003

Dr. Frist and Senator Hyde

Anyone who is familiar with occupational safety and health in America knows that most physicians can't even be trusted to ask a sick person where he or she works, much less be able to diagnose an occupational disease. It is hardly surprising, therefore, the the political sense of most physicians is equally warped. Add a dose of Republicans politics and what do you get: Senate Majority Leader Bill First.

Dr. Senator First delivered a speech recently extolling the virtures of the industry sponsored asbestos liability legislation that attempts to get the liable companies and their insurers off the hook.

This was too much for Paul Brodeur, author of Outrageous Misconduct: The Asbestos Industry on Trial. Brodeur's response was published exlusively at the NYCOSH Website. It's short. Read it all. Just one small excerpt:
There are so many medical mistakes and misstatements in Frist's speech before the Senate that one wonders where he studied medicine. For example, he declares twice in his remarks that a distinction must be made between asbestos lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, and that caused by cigarette smoking. He then cites figures showing that some 90% of asbestos-disease claimants are current or former smokers. Can he be so uninformed as not to know of the extraordinary synergism between asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking – i.e., that non-smoking asbestos workers develop lung cancer seven times more often than workers not exposed to asbestos; that cigarette-smoking workers not exposed to asbestos develop lung cancer seven times as often as non-smoking workers; but that cigarette-smoking workers who are exposed to asbestos develop lung cancer fifty to seventy times as readily as workers who neither smoke nor are exposed to asbestos?

Send this monumentally ignorant politician/physician back to medical school.