Sanjay Gupta was on Larry King Live tonight and withdrew from consideration to be our next Surgeon-General.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, has withdrawn his name from consideration as surgeon general of the United States, he said Thursday.

"This is more about my family and my surgical career," Gupta told CNN's "Larry King Live."

The neurosurgeon said he would likely have had to give up practicing had he taken the job as the nation's top doctor.

So. With that little near-misstep behind us. Can somebody from the Obama Administration PLEASE get Howard Dean on the line?

First, a note on Sanjay Gupta. Clearly, and for many good reasons (most prominently his oh-so-cozy relationships with pharmaceutical companies), this community was generally against Gupta's potential appointment (as noted here, to site just one example.) I should comment in his defense that one of the under-reported aspects of the Gupta story was the impact that it would have on his career. He is a young pup in doctor years, and it is a very, very difficult thing for a physician to leave clinical practice and then to return it to years later, as Gupta would probably wanted to do. I imagine it would be doubly difficult for a neurosurgeon. A choice to leave clinical medicine for full-time public health work is, by-and-large, a choice to change careers completely, and I had a sense that Gupta would eventually withdraw for this reason.


For reasons that are largely unclear, Howard Dean has been excluded from and by this administration. The logic as to why Kathleen Sebelius would be a preferable choice at HHS has escaped me, but the Surgeon-General position would be a prime opportunity to make amends. Dean clearly has exemplary managerial experience, and would be an unparalleled candidate to lead the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; he is also obviously an outstanding communicator, and would be an idea spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government.

More importantly, Howard Dean should have a seat at the table of health care reform - preferably at or near the head of said table.

An op-ed in support of Dean as Surgeon-General:

Please take the time to email President Obama in support of Dr. Dean as Surgeon General. Let's get behind this, and make sure that the Obama Administration hears our voice loud-and-clear on this one.

Originally posted to betterdonkeys on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:50 PM PST.

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