Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Measure twice, cut once Mr. President

President Obama: "Good morning, doctor. What's it look like?"

Doctor: "Good morning, Mr. President. I'm afraid the news is not good. In fact, it's absolutely essential that we schedule the surgery for this morning. I've reserved the operating suite and a first class surgical team. They're ready to go now."

President Obama: "Now? Now? Right now?"

Doctor: "Yes, sir. In order to keep this from becoming life threatening, it's essential that we act immediately. Even the slightest delay could increase the risks unacceptably."

President Obama:"What about a review, calling in a specialist for a second opinion?"

Doctor: "Sorry, sir. No time. We need to cut, now. All your surgeons agree. Surgery is the only answer. Granted that the procedure is experimental, but we're comfortable with that. The team is expert. They've studied this for months and are very confident that they can do this."

President Obama: "And if we don't?"

Doctor: "Well, sir, we estimate that this surgery will become effective in 2013, by doing so it will prevent a complete collapse sometime after that."

President Obama: "You're telling me that I need surgery now, right this minute, that doesn't take effect for four years to prevent harm 'sometime after that' and that the procedure is an experiment and you guys have never done this before?"

Doctor: "Yes, sir, but it's a real crisis..."

President Obama, after a short but thoughtful pause: "Are you out of your friggin' mind, man?

"You want to put me under the knife, major surgery, right this minute, without a second opinion, without any preparation at all, in a procedure that won't even take effect for four years, to prevent possible damage even further down the road?

"You're nuts. Get out of here. You're a complete quack. Find me someone who knows something about medicine! Get…"

Afterward: New doctor: "Thank goodness the heart attack didn't kill him. His old doctors had no indication that he had a heart condition. If they had, I'm pretty certain they wouldn't have shocked his system as the did. If they had, it'd be malpractice."

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