CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General?

Posted On January 8th, 2009

I have praised Dr. Gupta on the blog before [“Egg Donation and the Economy”, October 28] as the only journalist to point out the biggest flaw in the “egg donor surge” story: most women who apply for egg donation, about 9 out of 10, do not qualify.

He was able to get the story right because he is a doctor as wellas a journalist.

Some people are reacting to his nomination as if Obama asked General Hospital’s Dr. Alan Quartermaine to be Federal Reserve Chairman. But the Surgeon General is really a spokesman, basically, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta really is a doctor, and I think he is a great choice. People know him and will likely listen to him. He appears enlightened and independent. He is also younger and better looking than the average Surgeon General, but let’s not hold that against him.

I couldn’t imagine Obama attempting to politicize the position the way that Bush did with Richard Carmona. Maybe Dr. Gupta could make a real impact on the public awareness of stem cell research, reproductive rights, assisted reproduction and infertility, and other controversial issues. During the conservative Reagan era, C. Everett Koop bravely and sensibly took on the AIDS epidemic when there was a great deal of public fear and misunderstanding. It would be great if Gupta could keep public health issues focused on good science rather than politics, religion, and prejudice.

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