OPINION: The Media Is Furiously Spinning The State Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Health

Brian Joondeph | Physician

After Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent hospitalization and surgery to remove “two cancerous nodules” from her lung, the media can’t get their stories straight about her health, or lack thereof.

Is this new lung cancer, on top of her history of pancreas and colon cancer? Or is it metastatic cancer from elsewhere in her body? Is she healthy and cancer free or does she have stage four cancer, with an extremely poor prognosis? Can she resume her duties as a Supreme Court justice, or will she be soon retiring? Or worse?

Members of the media are in lockstep, pushing the narrative that Justice Ginsburg is in great health. Why, she’s almost ready to resume her famous RBG workout that “nearly broke” a Politico reporter young enough to be Ginsburg’s grandson.

CNN reported the official statement from the Supreme Court, “Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required.”

I wonder if CNN’s ace reporter Jim Acosta took a walk next to Ginsburg’s home, and — not observing any cancer near him — confirmed that Ginsburg was cancer free, as he did strolling along a border fence last week?

The statement is curious, however. As a physician myself, I am acutely aware of medical wording and nuance. With medical malpractice attorneys hiding behind every corner, physicians are careful how they create medical statements, especially when there is little absolute certainty in the medical world.

“No evidence of remaining disease” could simply mean that they removed the two cancerous nodules they found on a lung scan after her recent fall. If these nodules represent cancer that spread from her previous colon or pancreas cancer, the doctors removed what they found in her lungs.

This doesn’t speak for cancer that might have spread to her liver, brain or bones.

“No further treatment is required” might imply that she is cancer free. It could also suggest the opposite, that she has metastatic cancer that is no longer treatable, other than hospice care, and that further treatment is futile at this point, hence not required.

The media were giddy with excitement that the liberal lion of the court was ready to get back to her job of thwarting President Trump. TMZ caught a glimpse of her, “emerging for the first time” from her Washington, D.C., apartment. CBS reported that her recovery is “on track” with “no sign of remaining cancer.”

Fox News echoed the others by saying her recovery was “on track”, although they curiously described her recent surgery as, “early-stage lung cancer surgery.” Not so if it was metastatic cancer, meaning stage four and quite advanced.

One journalistic fanboy posed a question, “Asking readers if they would give up time off their own lives to allow their favorite Supreme Court justice to live longer.” He added, “If just 10,000 people did this, it would add 27 productive years to her life.”

How would he react if there was a similar push to donate lives to Clarence Thomas or Sam Alito, giving them another quarter-century on the Supreme Court?

The rumors swirl over Ginsburg’s health, but the White House may not be buying the media spin. “The Trump team began early groundwork for another potential confirmation battle,” according to Politico.

The latest concern is that Justice Ginsburg could develop pneumonia, a common complication of lung surgery, particularly in the elderly and infirm. Pneumonia is often called “the old man’s friend” not to be sexist but because, “left untreated, the sufferer often lapses into a state of reduced consciousness, slipping peacefully away in their sleep, giving a dignified end to a period of often considerable suffering.”

Big media is happy to ignore reality staring them right in the face, whether the consequences of an open border or the health of their favorite Supreme Court justice. They will spin their stories furiously to deny the obvious. Given Justice Ginsburg’s failing health, there must be panic in D.C. that can’t be spun away with creative journalism.

Brian C. Joondeph (@RetinalDoctor), MD, MPS, is a Denver-based physician.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Tags : cancer mainstream media opinion ruth bader ginsburg
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