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. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    You can always tell when you're looking at a right winger, that's extreme in his or her's beliefs. They kinda have that look of vacancy above the eyebrows, yet able to spew stupidity at the drop of a hat. Watch it up, it's about as predictable as sunrise or sunset.

    February 23, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. ja

    The gatekeepers

    February 23, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. snowdogg

    GOP taking the low road? How unusual.

    February 23, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. viralmunition

    please.. unless you sacrificed your 20s to a demanding medical residency, don't comment on his intentions. these comments are made almost universally amongst residents.

    February 23, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. randalpnaditch

    Get over yourselves. Everyone in the medical field takes these things lightly. You have to. Its a coping mechanism. Nobody complains about the endless mutants they trot out for the anti-smoking campaigns.

    February 23, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. scootfl78

    So Wolf made fun of people's deaths and painfully horrible accidents, but he put the blame the other candidate (Roberts) for everybody knowing about it.

    Soon to air TV Spot:

    "I'm not a horrible person because I laugh at other people's tragedies. The other guy is the horrible person because you now know about it. Your sudden lack of ignorance with the type of person I am is the fault of Pat Roberts. Oh and remember, it was YEARS ago. Also remember, I am related to President Obama, but I could care less about helping others and doing anything decent, which is why I'm running as a Republican. Vote for me!"

    February 23, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Ted Cruz

    I like him. He's groovy.

    February 23, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Donnie the Lion

    "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."" Wow....that's unsavory. I wouldn't want that guy parking my car, much less representing me in the Senate.

    February 23, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. Choo

    That's not the way to get ahead in life.

    February 23, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Timothius

    Sounds like another RINO to me.

    February 23, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Doctor Doctor

    Uhhm... I am guessing that if "the patient" had his/her head blown clean off, then he/she wasn't a patient at all. He/she was a cadaver being used to train interns and residents. It's completely acceptable to post non-identifying x-rays of cadavers... although his comments may have been insensitive.
    As far as what type of gun blows a person's head off??? My professional medical opinion (okay "guess") is self inflicted shotgun wound. We usually see this sort of thing when someone puts a shotgun barrel in his/her mouth and uses his/her big toe to pull the trigger. A buddy of mine in Seatlle said Kurt Cobain decapitated himself also.

    February 23, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Willllburrrr

    People don't change. This shlameel will just open mouth insert foot some other way down the line. No reason to assume otherwise.

    February 23, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. A. Human

    Milton Wolf seems like a very narcisistic person and worse. Given the way he treats violent death as a punch line and without regard to the privacy of the families (easy to find out the victims name based on gruesome manner of death) – I'd bet a fair some of money that he is clinically a psycopath.

    February 23, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Christine Rickett

    Is this the same GOP that want to turn back the hands of time, give carry license for 18 year olds to carry guns, and who let those with mental disorders run the Republican Party?

    February 23, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Jamal

    Just more of the same from the Democratic Party.

    February 23, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  16. Diane

    I wouldn't want him as my doctor if that's his attitude to sharing patient information.

    February 23, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    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.

    Nobody wants to go out there and lie again about Obamacare. Obama and Obamacare could ruin the Democrat Party in 2014 and 2016. Too many lies and too much failure to cover up. The American people are catching on which is why Obama poll numbers are in the low 40's flirting with the 30's.

    February 23, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Dave

    KS GOP doing something stupid other than obsessing about gays & Lesbians and denying evolution!!??

    February 23, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. ted

    Yet another reason why the GOP is dying. they have wackjobs like this in their party

    February 23, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. John

    What a surprise, another out of touch republican being insensitive.

    February 23, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. Adam Smith

    Gotta echo the sentiment of the other poster - a Republican acting unethically and immorally? Imagine that.

    February 23, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Pat Roberts was a puppet for the Bush administration and blocked the senate intelligence committee investigation into the flawed information on Iraqs weapons of mass destruction. He also voted against an investigation of president Bush's warrantless domestic spying program. What Wolf did is mild in comparison as it didn't involve putting soldiers in harms way for lies or blatantly ignoring the Constitutional protections of the American people.

    February 23, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. PtBarnumBoy

    We've already got a nutcase for a Governor and 2 in congress, sure don't need one in the Senate again.

    February 23, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. scarf

    As a board certified pathologist and a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, I have to say that I'm appalled by this person's behavior. I've seen plenty of gruesome photos, and taken most of them myself for the medical record, but never could imagine my judgment being so bad as to post such photos, even without patient identifiers, on a public web page. I've even argued in court against showing some of my own autopsy photos to the jury since I felt they were too graphic and might have been considered inflammatory evidence. For this person to post such images, AND to make inappropriate remarks about them, illustrates a level of immaturity unacceptable for any physician. I don't practice in Kansas anymore, but as I recall, medical licensure there had a morality requirement. I wouldn't be surprised if this person spends a lot of the next few weeks fighting to keep his medical license rather than campaigning.

    February 23, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. cbp

    Good grief. NOw t4he Republicans are going after each other and trying to show that their opponent is a poor choice. So far neither of these politicians appear to be top notch.

    February 23, 2014 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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