Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wanker of the Week: Phill Kline

There were lots of wankers this week, so many it was quite a winnowing process selecting just one. Thank God for Phill can't-even- spell-Phil Kline.

Kline is the former Kansas state legislator and Attorney General who was thumped by Paul Morrison in the AG race in November. Paul Morrison switched parties just too tromp his ass and send him packing.

Kline just doesn't give a good-god-damn about minutiae such as "due process" or professional ethics. He was born 40 years too late and in the wrong super-power. He woulda been one hell of a Soviet aparatchik. Unfortunately, he's a pretty fuckin' lousy American.

He spent his four years as Attorney General obsessing about abortions performed on minors. He tried to obtain confidential medical records, and some confidential information made it to the air on Bill O'Lieleys show.

Now he has a new obsession.

Kline out of bounds with blood-test plan

Prosecutor seeks evidence of a crime at the expense of a medical patient’s privacy. Health professionals object. Prosecutor says he’ll arrest them if they stand in his way.

The sequence has a familiar ring to anyone who followed Phill Kline’s turbulent term as Kansas attorney general. It’s perturbing, but not surprising, to see him continue the pattern as Johnson County’s district attorney.

As attorney general, Kline sought records of some patients who had received abortions. He waged an unsuccessful and widely ridiculed legal battle to require counselors, doctors and others to notify authorities if they suspected that some teenagers were sexually active.

Now Kline wants hospital staffers to obtain blood tests from certain unwilling patients to determine whether they are intoxicated. He says he’ll arrest the medical personnel for “obstruction of justice” if they don’t comply, even though they are bound by federal regulations and accreditation guidelines to respect patient privacy and a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment.

No responsible person wants to let intoxicated drivers off the hook. But the proper procedure is to obtain a warrant from a judge if a motorist balks at providing a blood sample.

In a small number of cases, a warrant won’t be available. Reasonable prosecutors have still found ways to hold drunken drivers accountable without forcing health care workers to violate professional codes.

Kline, however, lacks finesse and experience in criminal prosecution, not to mention respect for health professionals. After just three months in his new post, he is drawing the once-respected Johnson County district attorney’s office into unnecessary, but predictable, controversy.

This health professional is not going to play along. I have informed the healthcare staffing agencies that I take shifts for every summer when I'm off from school, that I will not take any shifts on the Kansas side. An invasive procedure committed upon an objecting lucid patient is assault, and I am not going to commit that crime.

Fuck Phill Kline. He may not have any professional ethics, but I do. And I am not going to put myself in a position where I have to chose between whether to live up to the professional code of ethics that I have operated under for two decades, or going to jail. I have no desire to be a martyr or a test case. Kansas trauma teams will just have to operate without me until that wanker is out of office.


Bateman said...

You sure use a lot of ugly language. I think that detracts from the arguments you make.

--Blue Girl said...

Well, Mr. Mountain View California, IP #, I really don't give a fuck what you think or if you come here or not. So fuck you very much.

Take your concern about my larger points being missed in coarse language, and shove them up your ass, R-E-A-L S-L-O-W.

exMI said...

Sigh, YOU know of course that I agree with Mr. Bateman above. And why did you feel the need to post his IP address?

That being said, Mr. Kline seems to be an ass from what I recall hearing about him and good for you on taking a stand against him.

Anonymous said...

tsk tsk. This issue between emergency medical personnel and law enforcement is hardly new. I have worked in and around level 1 & 2 Trauma centers since 1982.

Twenty years ago I watched as a state trooper screamed at and threatened a nurse with immediate arrest for refusing to draw blood without a warrant. The event was only resolved when a city police officer threatened to arrest the state trooper for disturbing the peace, assault and obstruction of justice. The nurse was patiently trying to make a point that a serum ETOH level would be drawn as part of the patients treatment and those records could then be subpoenaed later, and that to take the sample without a proper warrant could jeopardize the prosecution. But the trooper just couldn't hear that as he had just come from an accident scene with dead children...

The current issue with PK is not much more than an overblown editorial as news by the KC Star. The article is as significant for what it didn't say as what it alleged. I think it might be valuable to also read his fairly well reasoned recent editorial also run in the star.

Look, I don't care for PK in the least. He was a poor state representative, a poorer AG, and I expect history will prove him to be a passable but generally inept bureaucrat.

But if we are gonna blast PK for something, lets blast him for what is clear and indefensible. Last week his wife lamented that he was misunderstood and repeated the defense that he had never sought personal identifiers in his campaign to obtain the medical records of women who had had abortions. In fact, the original court petitions from his office clearly and specifically request the disclosure of names, dates of birth, and the reproductive history of the women in question. He didn't need that information and the courts consistently defended that determination.

Next, he DID however threaten the arrest of mandated reporters who refused to abide by his interoperation of state child abuse laws. Of course his "interpretation" was subsequently struck down as inconsistent with state law. But before that court finding came down, I was personally and specifically threatened with arrest and revocation of my practice license by an assistant district attorney acting on the AGs "authority." (OK, I had primed the pump for this challenge by specifically confronting the DA in a public forum with the statement that I was unwilling and would remain unwilling to disclose information regarding consensual sexual relations between same aged minors.)

Kline and his posse have a very real and important job to do as the county DA. Unfortunately they are also pursuing on a parallel course a frighteningly strategic political and religious agenda. Lets not get too easily distracted, Kline will eventually screw up big and by golly we'd better be paying attention.
Let’s not redefine the kid who cried wolf.
The Free State Guy