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Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:20 PM

The Surgeon General - what I didn't know.

I thought that the Surgeon General was more or less a spokeperson. I still recall the big story when the Surgeon General announced that smoking tobacco will likely kill you.

What I didn't know was that the Surgeon General is in charge of a group of public health professionals who are available to assist during public health crises and a reserve group ready to be deployed in the event of a health emergency.

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/about/duties/index.html

In other words, if we had a Surgeon General, we wouldn't need an Ebola Czar.


I would also say this - my impression is that the CDC provides the science, and the Surgeon General implements it.

"
Opinion: The Truly Ridiculous Reason the U.S. Has No Surgeon General"

This last fact is important today because of the inexcusable circumstances that led to the United States having no surgeon general in place to calm the recent national hysteria about Ebola. In a move that may well be unprecedented, Senate Republicans and assorted Democratic lickspittles have blocked President Barack Obama’s selection for surgeon general—no, not a judgeship or a Cabinet position or an appointment that involves actual governmental power—because the nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, made a statement mildly critical of guns."

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/07/opinion-warning-tweeting-about-guns-can-keep-you-out-public-service-280804.html

14 replies, 1775 views

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:22 PM

1. exactly. appointing an ebola czar was a cave, ideally we could have insisted on the sg confirmation

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:23 PM

2. Technically yes-- but the public health service commissioned corps are already engaged via their

attachment to major health agencies, especially CDC and NIH. All that is ongoing with or without a SG, but I do believe the office should have been filled long ago.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:25 PM

3. I think the problem here is that someone has to be in charge -

it's hard to fight an epidemic when you're busy hiring people to answer the phones. Bureaucracies don't function well when people can't follow procedure. (and I use the term bureaucracy in a good way here - a group of people organized to respond quickly to various events.)

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:28 PM

4. This isn't the CDC or Public Health Service's first national/international threat

they aren't sitting on their thumbs trying to answer phones.

The CDC teams deployed for immediate response here and overseas are EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers) and most of them are Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. That you don't know about them actually speaks to how well they've done their job over the past 50 plus years. http://www.cdc.gov/eis/

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:34 PM

6. I apologize for being unclear in my reference.

I was referring to the Ebola Czar - it's easy to appoint someone, but the guy didn't even have a desk chair to start with, let alone a desk. Hes still tying his shoes weeks after the race has started.

I have been supporting the CDC since day one, and have been angered at how many here have jumped all over the CDC as an example of government incompetence.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:35 PM

7. Gotcha... Yeah the politicallization of all this is quite irritating and fruitless.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #7)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:37 PM

10. I knew as soon as I made my post that I had been unclear -

but decided it wouldn't be proper to edit something in current discussion.

I've never seen so many replies so fast - Ebola is a very hot topic.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:41 PM

11. And 65 USPHS doctors and nurses will staff the 25-bed hospital built by U.S. forces in Liberia...

...to treat foreign health care workers.


The EMEDS hospital, located near the international airport in Monrovia, is intended to treat foreign health care workers who may contract Ebola. It will be staffed by uniformed officers from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The first 65 members of Rapid Deployment Force Team 2 arrived at Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, on Oct. 27. RDF-2 was the first Public Health Service unit to deploy to the New York metro area after Hurricane Sandy closed so many hospitals.

http://www.examiner.com/article/american-military-buildup-continues-ebola-stricken-liberia

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:32 PM

5. Did you know we have a Surgeon General?

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:35 PM

8. Well, Acting Surgeon General. Still, it's a nice opportunity

to denounce the Republican blockade in a way that gets people's attention.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 01:37 PM

9. Acting... n/t

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #9)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 03:56 PM

12. He has the exact same powers as a confirmed SG,

 

and his resume is quite impressive. Arguably, he's more qualified than Obama's nominee, Vivek Murthy.

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/about/biographies/biosg.html

Moreover, there are many highly qualified individuals who could easily be confirmed by the Senate for SG. Vivek Murthy has no right or entitlement to the position, and as he has no specific or unique skills concerning Ebola or epidemics, sny claim that we desperately need Mr. Murthy specifically is, at best, a red herring.

Most importantly, Mr. Murthy has not received a vote in the Senate because about 10 Democrats will not support his nomination. There are 55 Democrats (including 2 Independents in the caucus), and he needs only 50 votes to be confirmed (a tie would be broken by the vice-president). After Reid's "nuclear option," the Republicans cannot filibuster executive appointments.

If you have any complaints that Mr. Murthy has not been confirmed, you need to speak with Harry Reid.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/15/us/senate-balks-at-obama-pick-for-surgeon-general.html

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Response to branford (Reply #12)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 03:58 PM

13. That isn't the point at all, but...

in reality those who are temporarily acting more often than not aare mere placeholders. They don't initiate new policy or forge new direction, but merely "hold the course" to the extent possible.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #13)

Fri Oct 31, 2014, 04:10 PM

14. Maybe true, but as I point out in my prior post,

 

we can easily find and confirm a highly qualified SG with experience with epidemics. There's nothing special about Mr. Murthy, and if we need a SG so desperately to fight Ebola, he is an impediment.

Mr. Murthy's lack of confirmation is also due to our party, although the Republicans are certainly benefiting from our discomfort and lack of unity.

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