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Tea Party Brain Surgeon Wants To Shave You

Neuroskeptic iconNeuroskepticBy NeuroskepticMarch 26, 2013 12:00 AM


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I'm currently researching a piece on politics and neurosurgery, and I just came across this amusing snippet.


David McKalip MD is a brain surgeon from Florida. He attained 15 minutes of infamy in 2009 when he deemed a virulently racially insensitive Photoshop of Barack Obama to be "funny stuff" and emailed it to some Tea Party pals. McKalip was opposed to Obama's then-planned healthcare reforms. Well, four years later, and he's still fighting The Man. Here's a letter McKalip sent to the Journal of Neurosurgery, in which he criticizes a paper that concluded that shaving the patients' head before performing brain surgery provides no benefit:

...Sadly, all of this [opposition to shaving] is a result of continued government and corporate intrusion into the practice of medicine and our unwillingness, as a profession, to reject faulty assertions and substandard studies as a basis for interference in our profession—this as even more published studies are showing that compliance with such standards does not benefit patients in any way and that harm is likely. As accountable care organizations, capitation, pay for performance, bundling, shared savings programs, value-based purchasing, and similar programs grow, doctors will be coerced to lower their standards and provide substandard care to serve the interests of politicians and corporations - often with their own colleagues supporting this agenda. As a surgeon, I like shaving hair. I like having a naked scalp that gives me more options for an incision and better visualization for planning the surgery. I like removing hair quickly with cheap and new razors so that I can focus on the important parts of the case. I like to avoid slow removal of hair with an expensive electric clipper... In short, I like my razor. If my patients want a surgeon who doesn't shave with a razor, there are others in the community who will satisfy that need.

It's just like something out of Atlas Shrugged...!


McKalip D (2013). Letter to the editor: shaving. Journal of neurosurgery, 118 (3), 701-2 PMID: 23259824

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