Fact-checking the Schiavo “experts”

This week Fox News pundits showcased an "expert" doctor who supports keeping Terri alive. Never mind that they falsely awarded him a Nobel Prize nomination.

Topics: Fox News, War Room, Sean Hannity,

Numerous “experts” have weighed in on the Terri Schiavo case since it began — some more dubious than others. On Monday, Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes presented Dr. William Hammesfahr, a Florida neurologist who examined Terri in 2002, and who insists that Terri is not in a permanent vegetative state. Alongside Hammesfahr’s rather astonishing prognosis, Hannity made sure to take note of Hammesfahr’s lofty qualifications:

Hannity: Do you believe she is aware, conscious and responsive?

Hammesfahr: Terri is completely aware and conscious and responsive. She is like a child with cerebral palsy. We have kids in the Pinellas County school system every day that are much worse than her, that we’re educating.

Hannity: Doctor, wait a minute. I’ve got to get this straight here. You were nominated to get a Nobel Peace Prize in this very work. Are you saying that this woman could be rehabilitated?

Hammesfahr: Absolutely.



Hammesfahr appeared on Scarborough Country the same night and received a similar introduction as a Nobel Prize nominee. Problem is, that’s not quite the truth — Hammesfahr was never officially nominated for a Nobel Prize. In 1999, a U.S. Congressman recommended him in a letter to the Nobel Committee for his work with stroke patients. But according to the committee’s Web site, such unsolicited letters constitute “invalid nominations” and are not considered.

Hammesfahr’s professional credibility has in fact come into question before. In 2001, the Florida Department of Health accused him of falsely advertising a neurological treatment and exploiting a patient for financial gain, according to a report from the Associated Press today. With regard to Hammesfahr’s views on the Schiavo case, Dr. Lawrence J. Schneiderman, a bioethicist at University of California, San Diego, told the AP, “He’s a quack, to put it the politest way I can.”

San Francisco-based freelance journalist Julia Scott writes about water and energy issues for various publications. She also covers the environment for Bay Area News Group, a chain of newspapers in Northern California.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>