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We are watching the latest effort to execute a political hit job on a man who is tremendously qualified to be the next surgeon general in Florida. And the actions against him are an embarrassment to the state, to science, and to the ethics of medicine.
The action I’m referring to is an upcoming hearing, conveniently scheduled on Tuesday, as part of the process to approve Dr. Joseph Ladapo to be surgeon general. (I’m suggesting the timing of this information is not a coincidence.) The story begins when Dr. Ladapo first applied for a professorship at the University of Florida College of Medicine, and received a recommendation from his supervisor at UCLA. In a two-page letter to the university, Dr. Carol Mangione, chief of the division of general internal medicine and health services research at UCLA Department of Medicine, listed his credits:
She noted his ‘outstanding research and clinical teaching accomplishments,’ which led to his promotion to a tenured associate professorship in 2020 for his distinguished contributions to the division.
‘In summary, Dr. Ladapo is an outstanding clinician scientist who is building a reputation as a nationally known researcher conducting important work in the area of evaluation of cardiovascular technologies and related areas of outcomes research for underserved populations,’ Mangione wrote to the UF selection committee.
But three months later, when Gov. DeSantis selected him to be Florida’s next surgeon general, and it became clear that both men were generally in concert regarding COVID policy, Dr. Mangione refused to support him:
‘No. In my opinion, the people of Florida would be better served by a Surgeon General who grounds his policy decisions and recommendations in the best scientific evidence rather than opinions.’
But her real reasons for rejecting him became clearer:
Mangione said Ladapo’s opinions about COVID-19 had upset his research and clinical colleagues and subordinates who believed they were ‘contrary to the best scientific evidence available’ about the pandemic. She said they felt his views ‘violated the Hippocratic oath that physicians do no harm.’
It appears that other powers were at work to cause her withdrawal of support.
There’s no question that Dr. Ladapo refuses to cave in to the pseudo-science that has dominated the COVID scene. He has fought the schools and other mainstream scientists, especially when he joined a group called America’s Frontline Doctors that took contrarian views on treatments and medications.
Dr. Ladapo has responded to his former supervisor’s criticisms fairly and professionally:
Ladapo said in a phone interview that good science requires respect for all perspectives.
‘It’s OK to disagree, and I’ve had no problem with disagreement, but what has been really disappointing is how disagreement has become a ticket or a passport to activate personal attacks,’ Ladapo said Thursday. ‘It’s just sad, it’s not scientific and it’s disheartening.’
In my view, it’s more than sad. It’s unconscionable.
Finally, he made three major points about his plans for public health. This point was especially powerful:
The second thing that I plan to be sure is very clear in our policy making is that we’re going to make it very explicit, we’re going to be very explicit about the differences between the science and our opinions. We all have opinions. We all have a perspective and we are absolutely entitled to those perspectives.
What’s been happening over the past year is that people have been taking the science and they’ve been misrepresenting it. They’ve been using the science and it’s been unclear when the discussion about the science ends and discussion about how you feel about the science and what you want people to do with the science begins. That will never be a problem here. That’s never going to be something that we do here. You’ll know when we’re talking about data and you’ll know when we’re talking about our opinions, our impression, our preferences about the data. That will always be clear here. You can count on that.
Dr. Ladapo will appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections on Tuesday, which would be his last stop before his nomination goes to a full floor vote.
I can’t help wondering if there is a racial component to the Democrats rejecting Dr. Ladapo—an illustrious, educated black man prepared to defy the Left and support a Conservative governor–with their history of attacking black Conservatives.Published in