Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Milton Wolf, a physician, is accused of posting gruesome X-ray photos and making fun of patients on his Facebook page.
Wolf, who is running for Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat in the Kansas primary, allegedly posted a collection X-ray images to Facebook, including gunshot wounds and other injuries, writing graphic captions and macabre jokes.
One of the images was an X-ray of a patient “decapitated” by gunshots.
“One of my all-time favorites,” wrote Wolf, a board-certified diagnostic radiologist licensed in 2004. “From my residency days there was a pretty active ‘knife and gun club’ at Truman Medical Center. What kind of gun blows somebody’s head completely off? I’ve got to get one of those.”
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“It reminds (me) of the scene from Terminator 2,” he continued, “when they shoot the liquid metal terminator guy in the face at close range and it kind of splits him open temporarily almost like a flower blooming. We all find beauty in different things.”
Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., where Wolf obtained the decapitation X-ray, said Friday that they wouldn’t have given Wolf permission to use the image in that manner.
In another post he describe repositioning a deceased gunshot victim’s head for an X-ray.
When a Facebook friend wrote, “Seriously?”, Wolf responded, “Sheesh Melissa, it’s not like the patient was going to complain.”
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That post was made before the victim’s funeral, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal’s Tim Carpenter.
Wolf told Carpenter in an interview that he considers his Facebook page a educational hub. He did not answer a direct question from Carpenter as to whether he had permission to post the images online.
“It’s an educational thing for people,” Wolf replied. “I take my charge of being a doctor very seriously.”
That page has since been taken down and replaced with a page focusing on Wolf’s senatorial campaign.
Jerry Slaughter, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society, said no healthcare provider has a right to post images of criminal violence or accidental injury suffered by patients.
“If it's patient information, identifiable in any way, it's inappropriate,” Slaughter said. “Absent any legitimate educational purpose or context, this is not ethical behavior.”
Kansas House Republican Rep. Barbara Bollier, a retired doctor who taught in a bioethics master’s program at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, said Wolf could be reported to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts as a potential violation of professional conduct by the radiologist.
“I am surprised,” Bollier said. “I've never heard of another physician doing this.”
Incumbent Roberts says the images raise questions about Wolf’s viability as a candidate.
“For any doctor to make patient records public and then use the records for public discussion and entertainment is just unthinkable,” said Roberts’ spokesman Leroy Towns. “Allegations of such lack of judgment demand extensive scrutiny and investigation.”