Sunday, 23 August 2009


Ken Berwitz

I promised that if Sheila Leavitt wanted rebuttal space on this blog she would get it   Since I'm reasonably certain the person supplying what you are about to read is in fact Sheila Leavitt, I will keep my word and post her response, and her previous responses which she asked me to add.   (The chronological order, therefore, goes from bottom to top).

Not one word is changed or censored.  The only difference is that, since my blog's "comment" system does not allow a space between paragraphs, as a courtesy to Ms. Leavitt (and for easier reading) I've put them where I think they should be.  And, in fairness to Ms. Leavitt, I will not respond to her comments at this time (though I will in a subsequent post).  This blog is all hers:

Sheila Leavitt, M.D.


Hi Ken. Would you please re-post what I've already written? I did not make a copy of it, and I hate to repeat myself.


I understand that you felt my tone to have been somewhat angry. Perhaps it was. Personally, I feel that, having been widely vilified and slandered; having suffered unfounded allegations of fraud, merely for stating, accurately and with no intent to mislead, that I am a doctor; and having done this as a means of brief self-introduction in a public forum where the topic was health care reform, I have good reason to be angry.


I understand that it is exciting for partisan bloggers to sit in front of their computers and play "gotcha" journalism with powerful search engines via which they believe all truth can be discovered. But any good physician will tell you that, when a patient presents with what may be, initially, a confusing set of signs and symptoms, an open mind is one of the most important tools in the doctor's diagnostic kit. If a physician decides, before all the facts are in, that the patient must be suffering from a particular problem, and, perhaps without even realizing it, the doctor forces the test results to fit this preconceived notion, unfortunate errors in diagnosis often occur.


A real, good journalist must begin, as must a real, good doctor, with an open mind. Findings that do not support one's initial thesis must be acknowledged and a new thesis proposed. A competent cardiologist, for example, obviously bears in mind that not all chest pain originates in the heart, even though this organ may be his or her area of expertise. Sometimes what appears to be angina pectoris may just be gastric reflux. On the other hand, many patients (especially women) have in the past been misdiagnosed with reflux and gone on to succumb to a heart attack.


This whole brouhaha has disturbed me on several levels. On a personal note, my kids, especially my young teenager who saw all these blogs before I did and, unbeknownst to me, responded to a couple of them, was quite upset. He's a nice kid and he respects his parents and is proud that they are involved in the public debate over how health care reform might be structured.


Furthermore, I put in many long years of training and, whether or not I am currently practicing, I have every right to refer to myself as a doctor. Finally, and most importantly, I deplore the attempt, by you and dozens of other bloggers, to use this fake "fake doctor" story to slander the health care reform efforts of the Obama administration, whether or not you agree with the plan. (I, too, have many differences of opinion with Obama and the current Democratic plan, as I strongly favor single payer Medicare for all---what you might call socialized medicine. You might read Dr. Arnold Relman's article in the recent New York Review of Books if you want an excellent discussion of why this might be the best option).


Okay, Ken, so yours was a poorly researched cheap shot. So what would you like to see: notarized copies of my medical school diploma from the University of Rochester? My Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society award? My pay stubs from my internship year at Rochester General and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester? My license to practice medicine, currently inactive as I have not practiced for two and a half decades (on file, however, at the New York State Board of Medicine, as I think someone already noted elsewhere. Like they told me when I called the Board to check if they ordinarily inform callers about the names of doctors on their list:"Of course, Dr. Leavitt! Once a doctor, always a doctor! Don't people know that?)? W2 forms from the two years I practiced as a full-time physician at Rochester Institute of Technology in their Student Health Service? A letter from the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where I was half-way through a residency in Pathology when our first kid, now a medical student, was born, had a health problem, thereby convincing me to take time off for child rearing?


What do you want Ken? Please let me know. Because I would like you to apologize, very publicly, and despite the fact that we disagree about the specifics of health care reform; and to let other bloggers, etc., know that their partisan "gotcha" journalism has not flushed out a fake Obama-camp planted doctor, but just a private citizen with a lot more medical background that 99+% of you guys out there at your keyboards; a citizen who really cares about getting health care to the 50 million uninsured Americans, and who believes that the best way to do this is to get the profit motive out of the insurance system.


But this is just MY opinion, to which I'm at least as entitled as the next guy. BTW, I drove that crappy old corolla because I also hate paying a lot of collision insurance to protect fancy metal when all I really care about is getting me and mine from point A to point B cheaply and without using too much gas. Do you really think that all, or even most, doctors are in it for the big cars and fancy houses? Some are, sure, but if you are looking for those really chasing the big bucks, look at the insurance industry. If you locate a "health insurance CEO" driving a 12 year old Corolla, by all means, check him out. Or her. He (or she) might well be a fake.


Waiting for your reply, Ken. Please omit any self-justifying nonsense or irrelevant liberal bashing. I've handed you the scoop out of this whole pile of crud you folks have created, handed it to you because you seemed the most reasonable, rational, and interested in the truth.  Don't let me down, Ken.  (08/23/09)


Sheila Leavitt, M.D.

Yeah, Mr. Partisan Blogger, you've done a very good job of showing how disinformation on the web is spread and amplified and perpetrated. Thanks for re-stating what I already acknowledged in my previous post: Sheila Leavitt has a fairly extensive internet presence as a leftie loudmouth who drove a ratty old car and raises chickens and was against the war, and not afraid to say so publicly, etc. etc.

Ho, i might say, hum. Neither this information, nor Rush Limbaugh's seal of approval on the "fake M.D." label, make her a liar about her M.D. degree, nor a plant doing the bidding of anyone but her own unrelenting self. She is a citizen, an educated citizen with no claim to an active medical practice, but 4 years of medical school, an M.D. degree, a completed internship, a license (on record in the State of N.Y., although not currently active) to practice medicine, a couple of years in practice, and a year of residency at a fine Boston hospital, which she interrupted to raise a family. This makes her a fake---what?

One of her questions at the Dartmouth town hall meeting was about support in the health care reform bill for training more primary care doctors. What a very radical idea! A second question was critical (critical!) of the Democratic leadership and of Obama for not getting out ahead of the right wing, anti-reform, insurance industry financed, Harry and Louise, Swift-boat-flavored smear machine. I mean, where were those guys to let you run this debate???

Oh, I forgot. They were trying to hammer out a compromise bill that would somehow provide health care for all and keep the Republicans from trying to kill it. But that, as we know, was impossible from the get-go, because Republicans have no interest in providing health care for those who can't afford it, not if that means cutting into the obscene profits of the health insurance industry or angering their hard-core base, with its totally hardened "I've-Got-Mine-Jack" attitudes and their hatred for the current occupant of the White House.

Further soul- and mind searching on your part are in order, Mr. Partisan. My opinion. (08/21/09)


Sheila Leavitt, M.D.

Ken, Ken, Ken: You've re-pasted all that blogosphere libel about me not being a "real" doctor, disinformation that is being used in a further attempt to smear Obama's health care reform attempts by accusing them of using "fake M.D. plants" at their town meetings. You don't appear to have the integrity to do your own independent fact-checking.

Whining about the fact that "several different websites" gave you bad information, and then re-posting more bad information, just doesn't look that smart, frankly, Ken. Put this exchange out there where others can read it, and judge for themselves, if you really believe what you are saying. And you don't have the guts to put my rebuttal on your main post page, just sticking it out here in "comments". (08/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

MSNBC's home page has a headline this morning which reads:

Bill weakens but is still dangerous

I found myself reading on, to see if it referred to the hurricane, or Obamacare.




Ken Berwitz

Here, from Reuters, is further information concerning whether the UK handed over the subhuman terrorist scumbag al megrahi in return for a lucrative oil deal.  The bold print is mine:

Sunday August 23, 12:36 AM
WRAPUP 7-Gaddafi hugs Lockerbie bomber; Britain denies deal


By Salah Sarrar and Luke Baker

TRIPOLI/LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) -


Britain dismissed suggestions of a link between the Lockerbie bomber's release and energy deals with Libya on Saturday, and the head of the U.S. FBI said the move gave comfort to terrorists.


London and Washington have condemned the 'hero's welcome' given to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi on his return to Libya after being freed from a life sentence in a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer.


'The idea that the British government ... would sit down and somehow barter over the freedom or the life of this Libyan prisoner and make it all part of some business deal ... it's not only wrong, it's completely implausible and actually quite offensive,' said British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.


In Washington, FBI director Robert Mueller released an angry letter he sent to Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill, who ordered the release, calling it inexplicable and detrimental to justice.


'Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,' Mueller wrote in the letter posted on the FBI's website.


Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office issued a copy of a letter he wrote to Gaddafi on Aug. 20 expressly asking him to refrain from a 'high-profile' welcome for Megrahi.


Gaddafi met Megrahi on Friday, embracing him and getting a kiss on the hand in return. The beaming Libyan leader expressed gratitude to Brown and Queen Elizabeth.


'This step is in the interest of relations between the two countries...and of the personal friendship between me and them and will be positively reflected for sure in all areas of cooperation between the two countries,' he told Libyan TV.


His son Saif al-Islam went further, saying that whenever he had met British officials to discuss business, the issue of Megrahi's release was a condition of any deal being struck.


Mandelson said he had met Gaddafi's son twice in the past year and the issue of the Lockerbie bomber had been raised both times, but his release was not tied to business deals.


'It's not only completely wrong to make any such suggestion or insinuation, it's also quite offensive,' he told reporters.


Megrahi, 57, is the only person convicted of the bombing, in which a Pan Am (PNAA.PK - news) jet carrying 259 passengers -- most of them American -- was blown up over Lockerbie in Scotland in December 1988, killing all those on board and 11 people on the ground.


After years of wrangling and sanctions, Libya handed the former intelligence agent over for trial and he was sentenced by a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands in 2001. He was freed on Thursday because of terminal prostate cancer.




'In all British interests regarding Libya, I always put you on the table,' Saif al-Islam's newspaper quoted him as telling Megrahi on his return to Libya.


'All the visits of the ex-Prime Minister Blair and the big secret and public work that all the parties entered into was carried out in order to release you. The exploitation of British-Libyan political and trade interests was always done with the aim of releasing Abdel Basset al-Megrahi.'


European governments including Britain's are lobbying hard for business in Libya as it emerges from years of sanctions. Oil companies such as BP and Shell (LSE: RDSB.L - news) are among several British firms hoping to make big profits in the desert country.


Britain's Foreign Office flatly denied any link.


'No deal has been made between the UK government and Libya in relation to Megrahi and any commercial interests,' a spokesman said, adding the release was Scotland's decision.


More than 1,000 Libyans gathered at an airport in Tripoli on Thursday to welcome Megrahi home, cheering and waving national flags, despite the fact relatives of the American victims said they had received assurances there would be no hero's welcome.


In his letter to Gaddafi, addressed 'Dear Muammar', Brown said a 'high-profile return would cause further unnecessary pain for the families of the Lockerbie victims. It would also undermine Libya's growing international reputation'.


Megrahi said in an interview with Britain's Times (1832.HK - news) newspaper published on Saturday he would present new evidence before he died exonerating him of the bombing.


He dismissed the international furore over his release, saying U.S. President Barack Obama should know he would not be doing anything apart from going to hospital and waiting to die. Doctors say he may have less than three months to live.


'My message to the British and Scottish communities is that I will put out the evidence (to exonerate me) and ask them to be the jury,' Megrahi said, without elaborating.

Do you believe that al megrahi's release had nothing to do with oil?  Well, maybe you're right because no one knows for 100% sure at this moment.  But, since it is the only reason I can think of that has any plausibility, you'll pardon me if I disagree. (A sudden, "compassionate" release to a terrorist when these deals are being negotiated?  Yeah, right).

And that "Dear Muammar" letter from Prime Minister Brown-nose?  When does he learn that kissing up to people like qaddafi gets him nothing but comtempt, disdain and the belief on their part that he is a patsy who can be played for a sucker? 

After receiving the "Dear Muammar" letter, qaddafi sent his personal plane to fetch al migrahi, and gave him a hero's welcome when he arrived, with plenty of media coverage so the whole world could see.  The message could not have been clearer.

Now, as a US citizen, my big question:  Did qaddafi's dismissal of Gordon Brown teach President Obama this lesson?  Because he certainly needs it.

Personally, I very much hope that it did.  But I'm not optimistic.

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