Mark Levin, Jeff the “Brain Surgeon” and the Big Lie

By September 20, 2012 Health, Health Reform

It’s easy to understand why we have to write a post like this since information travels far and wide (often repeating itself many times over) in today’s digital world — even if that information is totally false.  As such, we are once again bringing up the Mark Levin topic because the audio file from this radio program is continuing to circulate on the internet.  In fact, we are now seeing increased traffic about this phone call, likely due to the pending presidential elections in November.  All that said, here’s our take on the events that happened close to a year ago.

Last November an individual claiming to be a “brain surgeon” called into the Mark Levin Show and declared that while he was attending a neurosurgical meeting in Washington, DC (we believe he was referencing last October’s Congress of Neurological Surgeons’ Annual Meeting) he learned that the Obama Administration was planning to restrict the availability of advanced neurosurgical care for individuals over the age of 70.  The individual, who identified himself as a brain surgeon named Jeff, claimed that a document was circulated at this meeting stating that individuals over 70 who come to an emergency room and who are on government-supported healthcare will only get “comfort care.”  Read the full transcript of the conversation here.

Immediately after this program aired, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the CNS thoroughly investigated the claims made by this individual and found them to be totally false.  In addition, we were able to ascertain that Jeff is NOT (yep that’s right – is NOT) a neurosurgeon.  We published several statements condemning the false assertions, and ultimately issued a national press release.  This was picked-up by numerous media and other fact-checking outlets, which ran stories verifying that the assertions made by Jeff were in fact false.  In addition to our public statements, the AANS and CNS requested numerous times that Mark Levin remove this podcast from his website as it portrayed inaccurate information that could potentially be harmful to patients.  Alas, our demands went unheeded and because the program failed to remove the podcast, this false rumor went viral and it is now too late to put this toothpaste back in the tube.

No one said it better than Rick Ungar from Forbes when he wrote on this topic:  “As a media organization — and you know who you are — how do you willingly spread such a story when you have every tool at your fingertips necessary to debunk such an outrageous claim?”   We may never know the answer to this question since the Mark Levin camp has stood by the claims made on the program.  But as we said in our release, one thing is absolutely certain:  “Neurosurgeons are committed to providing timely, compassionate, and state of the art treatment for all patients — regardless of age — who have neurosurgical conditions.”

America’s neurosurgeons encourage everyone to share our press release with your friends, family, patients, colleagues and others in your community and assure them that there is no truth to this big lie.

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