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Colmes Exposes Schiavo Medical "Expert"

Reported by Ellen - March 24, 2005

Last night (3/22/05), I called on Sean Hannity and FOX News to reveal to the public the ethical blemishes on the record of Dr. William Hammesfahr. The physician was presented on Hannity & Colmes as a Nobel prize nominee who thinks Terri Schiavo can be rehabilitated under his care. As far as I know, Sean Hannity has yet to admit that this expert, whom he characterized eight times as a Nobel prize nominee, is not a nominee and was, in fact, disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine. Not only that, a partial transcript of the segment remains on the FOX News website and retains the authoritative-sounding title, A Doctor Who Has Examined Terri Talks with Hannity & Colmes.

Last night, however, on his FOX News radio program, Alan Colmes exposed the truth about the not-so-good doctor.

The discussion arose in an interview with neurologist and medical ethicist Ronald Cranford, an expert in right-to-die cases. He examined Terri Schiavo in 2002. He has testified that she is in a persistent vegetative state from which she will never recover. Colmes asked about some of the other medical personnel who have come forward saying otherwise.

Colmes: Let's talk about these people like Hammesfahr, who we interviewed on the television show a couple of nights ago - presents himself as a Nobel nominee, turns out he's nominated by his congressman, not by the Nobel committee, which doesn't make its nominees public for 50 years.

Cranford: He's not a Nobel prize nominee. That's a totally bogus... He's been doing that for years and years. That's bogus.

Colmes: ...People hear the word 'MD' and, you know, they think 'Godlike quality.'

Cranford: That's not true... He's been thoroughly discredited... Judge Greer thoroughly discredited... Dr. Hammesfahr... and (his) therapy - totally, completely bogus. You're not going to find a credible neurologist in the nation who's going to say that (his therapy) is valid... (He's) a bogus, incompetent neurologist.

After a bit more discussion, Alan took phone calls. One was from Steve, in Hollywood, Florida, about Dr. Hammesfahr. Steve said that, "The last few nights have been like a low point in cable TV" and that he was "really upset" by Hammesfahr on TV Monday. Thinking that Hammesfahr didn't "make any sense," Steve looked him up on the internet and found his name on the website Quack Watch.

Comment: If Steve, who did not seem to be a professional reporter or researcher, could find that information about Hammesfahr so readily, why didn't Sean "Dan Rather should resign for letting his bias get the best of his news ethics" Hannity?

I reported earlier this week on the excellent job Colmes has done with the Schiavo case and tonight may have been his best yet. Later on the show, he interviewed Carla Sauer Iyer, a nurse who claims that Terri Schiavo was responsive and that Michael Schiavo wanted his wife to die as early as 1995/96. According to Media Matters, the nurse's affidavit was dismissed as incredible by the judge. Ms. Iyer was clearly nervous during the interview but Colmes managed to ask her tough questions without berating her. Prior to that interview, Colmes asked Dr. Cranford about Iyer's claim that Terri would say "Mommy, Help Me, Hi."

Cranford answered: The family doesn't say she said it... The Schindler family doesn't say she said "Mommy."

Verrryyy interesting.

Later still, Colmes played a tape of a confrontation between himself and Randall Terry, a spokesman for the Schindler family. That occurred on the TV show. I'm going to cover it in a separate post, once I have the opportunity to watch it on rerun.

As he often does, Colmes read some of his hate email. One notable example: "I'm a faithful watcher of the show... and I can tell without a doubt that you are an evil person. Your principles, your morals, your demeanor at times reflect that you are an instrument of evil, of the devil on earth... Is there anything in you that can attract any human being to love you? Please do yourself a favor and do not show up for work any more. What an abysmal contrast between you and Hannity - the difference between heaven and hell."

Colmes claimed that the vitriol has reached a new high during the Schiavo case. From my perspective, it's been about the same level of really horrible since he started reading the mail on the air. However, I was greatly heartened (and perhaps Colmes will be, too, if he reads this post) by the following gmail we received today:

as a life long republican and somewhat ultra conservative i am shocked that hannity would misrepresent the facts of a poor brain woman for his own purposes. i n the past i have defended him to people but no more. also this political curcuis has me thinking about changing my party.if one thinks i am not a registered rebulican all they have to do is check the rools in (name of county deleted). also i would like hannity email so i could write about my displeasurer.

Of course, I sent him Hannity's email address (I know it by heart because we get so much mail for him) right away!

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