Trump FDA Chief Stuns CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta By Claiming Patients Ask Doctors About Injecting Disinfectants All The Time
CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was shocked when FDA chief Dr. Stephen Hahn tried to marginally defend President Donald Trump by claiming that whether or not to inject disinfectants into their bodies is “a conversation that occurs every day in America between a patient and a doctor.”
Journalists are beginning to notice the lengths to which Trump’s medical experts will go in order to avoid upsetting him, including Hahn, who is the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
On Thursday night’s CNN coronavirus town hall, Dr. Gupta and host Anderson Cooper asked Hahn about Trump’s suggestions that injections of disinfectant and/or very powerful light into human bodies could be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, and Hahn tried his level best to lend a speck of legitimacy to Trump’s comments as he refuted them.
COOPER: Just from a medical standpoint, when the president said, first of all, about treating the body with light and somehow bringing the light inside the body, where do you fall on that?
DR. STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FDA: So, I think the data that were presented at the press conference today were really important in terms of what kills the virus. And I believe the president was asking a question that many Americans are asking, which is, okay, this is what kills the virus, it’s a physical agent, in this case UV light. How could that be applied to kill the virus in, for example, a human being?
We have plenty of examples in medicine where light therapy has been used for treatment of certain diseases. So, it’s a natural question that I as a doctor would have expected to hear from someone as a natural extension of the data that were presented.
COOPER: But — but just from a medical standpoint, I mean, you wouldn’t — would you — I mean, there are — there’s people who are listening, obviously, to the president of the United States and — and take what he says very seriously.
Are you concerned at all, from a medical standpoint, of somebody, you know, injecting themselves with a disinfectant or, you know, hearing what the president said and — and trying to experiment on themselves, thinking that might be something worth looking at? There’s — is there any evidence about taking a disinfectant that’s used, you know, on the table where I’m sitting and using it internally? That doesn’t seem like a good idea from my — I mean, am I wrong?
HAHN: Yes, I think it’s an excellent point you’re making. You — you — we certainly wouldn’t want, as a physician, someone to take matters in their own hands. I think this is something that a patient would want to talk to their physician about. And — and no, I certainly wouldn’t recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.
Again, this is a conversation that occurs every day in America between a patient and a doctor. I’ve been in that position. I’m sure Dr. Gupta has as well. And it’s really important we address them because people will ask those questions of us.
GUPTA: Well, doctor, I just — just, I think we should be clear, though, that the idea of doing some kind of UV light therapy — which is sometimes used for local issues in the body, but not for a widespread viral infection — and the idea of injecting disinfectant, I mean, there’s no — those questions may be getting asked, but there’s absolutely no merit to that. That doesn’t need to be studied. You can already say that that doesn’t work, right?
HAHN: And I — and I think, Sanjay, that — that that is exactly what a patient would say to a doctor, and that would be the answer of the medical experts to anybody who answered that question.
COOPER: It does not work.
That exchange so stunned Dr. Gupta that he has repeatedly brought it up on air to dispute the notion that any patient is actually asking their doctor about mainlining some Lysol, as he did later in that town hall.
He said that he understood the position that Hahn is in, telling Cooper and panelist Dr. Leana Wen “I have a lot of respect for Dr. Hahn, obviously. But I — I — I don’t think that this is a common conversation happening in doctors’ offices.”
“I’m a doctor. Leana, you’re a doctor. Has — have patients been asking you, should they inject themselves with bleach?” Gupta asked Dr. Wen. “This isn’t — this isn’t a — I mean, I just don’t think we should be normalizing that in any way, shape or form.”
Gupta made the same point Friday morning when assessing the reaction of Dr. Deborah Birx to Trump’s comments. He called the impulse to humor Trump “infuriating.”
Watch the clip above via CNN.
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