A Kansas radiologist running for U.S. Senate is also running afoul of critics for posting x-rays of fatal gunshot wounds on his personal Facebook page and allegedly joking about the images, according to a report published February 22 in the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Dr. Milton Wolf is challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) in the Republican primary scheduled for August 5. Wolf is a distant cousin of President Barack Obama; a key component of his campaign is his criticism of the administration's healthcare reform, and he has received support from the tea party wing of the Republican party.
However, Wolf's campaign got sidetracked several days ago following revelations that he allegedly joked about medical images of patients with severe gunshot wounds.
In 2010, Wolf posted an image to Facebook of a man who had been shot in the temple, as well as an x-ray of the victim's fractured skull. He began a Facebook thread about the image, which he said came from his time as a resident at Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, MO. At one point in the thread, he wrote that the image was one of his "all-time favorites," according to the Journal article.
Truman Medical Centers said it would not have given Wolf permission to use images of a shooting victim in this way, the Journal reported.
Negative reactions to Wolf's actions were swift, and they came from Roberts himself as well as Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In response, Wolf published a statement about the issue on his website, along with testimonials from patients and colleagues about his character.
"Several years ago I made some comments about a few of these x-ray images that were insensitive to the seriousness of what the x-ray images revealed," Wolf wrote. "Soon thereafter, I removed those x-ray images and comments, again several years ago. For them to be published in a much more public context now, by a political adversary who would rather declare war on doctors than answer serious questions that Kansans have, is truly sad. However, my mistakes are my own and I take full responsibility for them."
The controversy is part of Roberts' attempt to vilify him, according to Wolf.
"Because I have declared that I am willing to stand up for my country, Senator Pat Roberts wants to attack me as a doctor rather than giving Kansans a reason to vote for him. ... Pat Roberts has not been able to identify a single issue on which he thinks I am wrong and so he's doing things the Washington way: character assassination," he wrote.