Archives for July 15, 2005

New Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security.

For Immediate Release

July 14, 2005

Today Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the appointment of Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. as the Department?s new Chief Medical Officer.  Dr. Runge currently serves as Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the Department of Transportation.  Secretary Chertoff issued the following statement:

?I am pleased that Dr. Runge will join our team as the Department of Homeland Security?s first Chief Medical Officer,? said Secretary Chertoff.  ?Dr. Runge is an extraordinary physician and public servant.  He and his team will have primary responsibility for working with HHS, Agriculture and other departments in completing comprehensive plans for executing our responsibilities to prevent and mitigate biologically-based attacks on human health or on our food supply.?

The new Chief Medical Officer will provide the federal government with a much greater capacity to be prepared for, respond and recover from a catastrophic attack. The Chief Medical Officer was announced yesterday as part of the Secretary?s second stage review and will reside in a newly proposed Preparedness Directorate that will focus on ensuring the Secretary?s resources are targeted towards the greatest risk.   

Prior to serving as Administrator of NHTSA, Dr. Runge practiced and taught emergency medicine as Assistant Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.  Dr. Runge has also served as Director of the Carolinas Center for Injury Prevention and Control.  He is board-certified in Emergency Medicine and has served in leadership positions in various local, regional and National organizations including the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.  He earned his Bachelor?s degree from the University of the South in Tennessee and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of South Carolina.

Here’s the DHS wire diagram though the new Preparedness office doesn’t show up in here (yet).  Best of luck to Dr. Runge!

“Phantom Epidemic” says Federal Judge


A Texas federal judge has issued a blistering 249-page order and sanctioned a high-profile plaintiffs law firm, accusing the plaintiffs bar of manufacturing a "phantom epidemic" of the lung disease silicosis.

And at least one legal expert suggests a similar finding might come if courts look closely at recent absestosis litigation.

"Despite diagnosing a serious and completely preventable disease at unprecedented rates, not a single doctor even bothered to lift a telephone and notify any governmental agency, union, employer, hospital or even media outlet, all of whom conceivably could have taken steps to ensure recognition of currently undiagnosed silicosis cases and to prevent future cases from developing," [Federal Judge] Jack wrote.

Jack suggested the reason for the discrepancy was that "these diagnoses were about litigation rather than health care."

Don’t go crazy, a lot of the cases cited here were just sent back to state courts, but I think this is a good sign.

via InstaPundit