Bill Frist’s Harvard Medical School classmates chastize the Senate’s videotape diagnostician.
In a private letter to Sen. Bill Frist, 31 of the 165 members of his Harvard Medical School class of 1978 accused him of using his medical degree improperly, reports [Newsweek] Chief Political Correspondent Howard Fineman. The letter was a response to Frist’s role in the case of the late Terri Schiavo. As she lay dying in Florida, Frist — who said he had reviewed court documents and videos — appeared on the Senate floor. Saying he “spoke more as a doctor than a senator,” he declared that “there seems to be insufficient information to conclude” that Schiavo — an icon to religious conservatives-was in a “persistent vegetative state” that would justify allowing her to die.
Frist’s office declined comment; according to public records, at least 13 of the 31 classmates had donated money to Democrats in the past five years. Still, Dr. Lewis Rose, an oncologist who said he voted for President George W. Bush last year, insists Frist had overstepped. “He had no right to use the cloak of the Hippocratic oath, no matter who was right,” Rose tells Newsweek. “He’s got medical training and a medical perspective, but he is not a practicing physician and has no business using that in politics. Period. If he does, he won’t get any of his classmates’ votes who signed this.”