February 23rd, 2014
04:08 PM ET
7 years ago

Senate candidate regrets gruesome X-ray postings

Updated 11:25 a.m. ET, 2/24/2014

(CNN) – Milton Wolf, a radiologist and GOP primary challenger against incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, issued a statement Sunday admitting he made "insensitive" comments about X-ray images he posted online, including an image of a person decapitated by gunfire.

"Several years ago, I made some comments about these images that were insensitive to the seriousness of what the images revealed. Soon thereafter, I removed those images and comments, again several years ago," he said in a statement.

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The story was first reported by the Topeka Capital-Journal, which got the images but did not show them to the public. The Capital-Journal's Tim Carpenter asked Wolf about the images in a tense, eight-minute video posted online alongside the article.

The candidate argued he was legally allowed to post those images online because he was not revealing the patients' identities and he was doing so for educational purposes. He also did not answer questions about whether he still posts such photos.

In Kansas, new ad questions Senator's residency

In his statement Sunday, Wolf put the blame on Roberts, accusing his "political adversary" for bringing the images to the public.

"However, my mistakes are my own, and I take full responsibility for them," he said.

A diagnostic radiologist, Wolf graduated from the University of Kansas and attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

In the statement Sunday, Wolf said he has long published educational material on medical imaging and said he has "taken care to maintain patient privacy."

The Capital-Journal interviewed multiple medical professionals in Kansas who panned Wolf's use of the particular images referenced in the article, as they reportedly seemed to poke fun at the patients. For example, the image of the patient whose head was decapitated was posted on Facebook with Wolf describing it as "one of my all-time favorites."

"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," he wrote, according to the Capital-Journal.

The newspaper describes the image as "a skull broken apart like a smashed pumpkin. Chunks of skull remain attached by tissue with vertebra exposed at the neck."

A second cousin (once removed) of President Barack Obama, Wolf paints himself as a conservative activist with the guts to stand up to the GOP establishment. As a doctor, he frequently campaigns against the Affordable Care Act and proposes his own plan that he calls "PatientCare."

In the article, Leroy Towns, a spokesman for Roberts, said the postings raise questions about Wolf's responsibilities to maintain privacy of patient medical information as well as questions about his 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," Towns told the Capital-Journal. "Allegations of such lack of judgment demand extensive scrutiny and investigation."

Wolf said Roberts' response was "character assassination."

"Pat Roberts has not been able to identify a single issue on which he thinks I am wrong and so he's doing things the Washington way: character assassination," Wolf said in the statement. "Kansans should know that I will not be intimidated by their bullying."

Filed under: 2014 • Kansas • Pat Roberts
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. rs

    A Republican being insensitive about the plights of people? Say it ain't so.

    February 23, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Liberal Lion

    Imagine that!!!!

    February 23, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. ghastly

    "Takes full responsiblity" but accuses Roberts of "character assassination". Kind of says it all.

    February 23, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Olaf Big

    Poor English language:."patient whose head was decapitated". A patient can be decapitated, a head cannot be, because decapitate means to remove the head.

    February 23, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Joaquin

    What I want to read is that the Democrats are daring to mount a strong challenger for the Senate seat. In fact, I want to read that about every political contest this year.

    February 23, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Mike Miller

    Just more of the same from the GOP.

    February 23, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. srcactus

    Another over the top politician. Does not matter what the guys partisan view or affiliation is he's not ready for prime time.

    February 23, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Zwei Stein

    A politician (doctor) with a sense of humor. I like it.

    February 23, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Reddog9500

    I thought he was "once removed". So, remove him again. And this time for good.

    February 23, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Ctrygrl

    Of course it would be a different matter if these were records of women who had had abortions, remember Mr. Roberts. Anyone who is trying to run to the right of Pat Roberts is dangerous anyway.

    February 23, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. Organic1

    Those GOP'ers in Kansas, they always think to say I am sorry, instead of considering the consequences before hand.

    February 23, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    Sounds like the perfect GOP VP candidate. Right up their alley. Goofy and insensitive.

    February 23, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    Just goes to show you that every family has an "Uncle Bob'.

    February 23, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Dan

    I do not like Wolf or what he stands for politically, and I plan on voting against him in the Kansas primary this summer, but why is this a big deal? Why can't the news media report on what he actually stands for instead of what he does in his spare time?

    February 23, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. ELMO

    Give me a break. This guy is a Radiologist. Lets just call it an expert opinion without candor and move on.

    February 23, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. I don't get it

    If there is already a man in the senate who holds all the same views as you.. why do you try to unseat him? Republicans are like tom cats that need to be kept away from their young for fear they will kill their own offspring.

    February 23, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. aatami

    There seems to be a shortage of decent people willing to run as a republican. What to do? What.....to......do.......

    February 23, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Terry

    More of the usual in the comments from dems, so predictable.

    February 23, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. VJ

    Republican party = full of holes.....

    February 23, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. jeff

    Okay Wolf so lets say its your family member with his or her head cut off – just so nobody could recognize her its okay by you?

    February 23, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Fiz Banic

    So where are the people going over candidates saying girls have cooties and anyone touching them will catch it? Seriously grow up people. sure he shouldn't have made those comments but he realized that and removed them and addressed it then, it should be a non-issue now.

    February 23, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Ian's Rushtache

    As a doctor, he frequently campaigns against the Affordable Care Act and proposes his own plan that he calls "PatientCare."

    Since when did a radiologist qualify as a doctor? He is nothing more than a glorified murse.

    February 23, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. vvvortex

    Just more of the same from the DNC

    February 23, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. NFLemons

    Most people never have a medical school education but most all practitioners and lecturers often have these gruesome images and often say what seems insensitive (especially for surgical cases). This is NOT abnormal or insensitive behavior so people shouldn't be offended. The patient was not identified and all protocols were followed. Pat Roberts is an idiot patronizing to ignorant people who don't understand how medical practitioners work. What's gruesome to some is not gruesome to others and can actually be interesting/funny. Doesn't mean he's a death worshipping weirdo, it means he's like most all other doctors.

    February 23, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. The REAL TRUTH...

    Surprise surprise.... didn't even have to guess he's a Republican candidate... the implosions are fun.. pass the popcorn.

    February 23, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
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