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Posted: 3/27/2002 1:42:24 PM EDT
i know this guy..., wonderful person to talk to & a great surgeon.., a realy great friend of mine was pretty badly bashed up in an auto accident, several years ago, broken pelvis, 7 broken ribs, left side, 5 breaks in left leg, 3 in left arm plus a severe concussion.., he was T-boned as a passenger by some one in too big a hurry to stop at a red light...... Doctor Carmona put him back together.., & you'd never know he was ever in that bad a wreck, the jaws of lyfe were used to extract him, he had over 150 stitches & still has over 30 pins holding bones till healed......... ============================================== Tucson Citizen March 27, 2002 The next surgeon general just could be America's newest action figure. The life of Dr. Richard Carmona, nominated by President Bush for the nation's top doctor, has all the makings of a Hollywood hero script: A New York City high-school dropout and gang member who went on to become a decorated Green Beret in Vietnam. Tucson's trauma center founder and "top doc" who doubles as a Pima County Sheriff's SWAT member "top cop." "When I first learned that Dr. Richard Carmona once dangled out of a moving helicopter, I worried that maybe he wasn't the best guy to educate our Americans about reducing health risk," Bush quipped at a White House ceremony where he announced he had nominated Carmona for the job. "The guy is bigger than life," said John Munger, chairman of the Pima County Republican Party. "He's a man who has accomplished so much in his life. He is symbolic of this land of opportunity. Here's a New York street kid who made good."
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 1:44:36 PM EDT
Carmona, 52, never earned a high school diploma, but did get a high school equivalency diploma. He went on to earn a medical degree from the University of California-San Francisco, becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college. After moving to Tucson in 1985, Carmona served as a professor of surgery at the University of Arizona medical college and helped create Tucson's first trauma care programs at Tucson Medical and University Medical centers. The following year, he joined the Pima County Sheriff's Department, serving as department surgeon and a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics team. With the national spotlight focusing on him yesterday, Carmona said he is looking forward to a new challenge. "You have offered me the most extraordinary gift of all - opportunity," Carmona told Bush. "An opportunity to serve my country once again in a time of need, opportunity to join your team and contribute to a successful legacy of change and improvement that will create a healthier and safer future for us all, an opportunity to provide leadership and mentorship by example so that our youth of today will be inspired and empowered to be the responsible leaders of tomorrow." Carmona's law enforcement adventures are what sets him apart from other surgeons general. None other have carried a badge. And few who carry a badge do so with as much distinction. Working with Pima County's SWAT unit in 1988, Carmona was shot in the thigh during a shootout with a gunman who was killed in the exchange. The wound didn't slow him down much. Four years later, he was dangling from a helicopter to rescue a paramedic injured in a helicopter crash in the Pinaleño Mountains. Carmona is a man of action. In 1999, he stopped at a minor midtown traffic accident to render medical assistance when he noticed one of the motorists was brandishing a gun, threatening a woman. The gunman, a suspect in the fatal stabbing of a family member, refused to drop his weapon as ordered by Carmona. The gunman fired shot at Carmona, grazing the doctor's head. Carmona returned fire, fatally wounding the man. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said such high-profile incidents may be unusual for a surgeon general nominee, but they are at the core of Carmona's personality. "When you think about either of the incidents that have been raised, you have to come away with respect and admiration for the heroism and selflessness he has displayed," Dupnik said. Dupnik said he would have forbidden Carmona and other deputies from attempting the helicopter rescue had he been in charge of the scene. It was too dangerous. But in the end, both his judgment and his courage proved commendable, the sheriff said.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 1:45:58 PM EDT
"If you don't get tears in your eyes for the heroism that he and other deputies exhibited in the way they risked their lives to save one life, then you have ice water in your veins," he said. His involvement in the shooting death of 27-year-old Jean Pierre Lafitte in September 1999 also was the result of Carmona's desire to help others, Dupnik said. "He sees an unusual little traffic incident, a minor altercation that a lot of other officers wouldn't have stopped for. Before he can take any other law enforcement action he finds himself in a gunfight with a man who had just killed his own father and who may have been on his way to kill other family members," Dupnik said. "Both of those are really lifesaving incidents that I can only consider a plus." A year ago, Carmona again was in the news when he crashed his car while driving to a SWAT call. He sustained minor injuries after he swerved to avoid an on-coming car. Carmona's career as a medical administrator in Tucson also has been anything but undramatic. He was fired as administrator of TMC's trauma center in 1993, but later won a $3.9 million settlement - and a public apology - for wrongful termination. He was hired as CEO of Kino Community Hospital in 1995 and three years later was promoted to head of the county's public health care system. He resigned under pressure amid financial struggles at Kino Community Hospital four years later. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said Carmona wasn't to blame. "Richard happened to come into the Kino administration at a time when the debt had been accumulating for years," Huckelberry said. "Running a public hospital is a very difficult operation. You can lose money very easy and very fast." Carmona's work in both law enforcement and medicine also have garnered numerous awards and commendations, including a "Top Cop" award from the White House in 2000 and the 1993 honor of being Pima County's top doctor. U.S. Rep Jim Kolbe acknowledges that Carmona has seen his share of controversy in Tucson, but said that won't hurt his chances of serving. "Dr. Carmona has definitely had his share of controversy, but the surgeons general have also been controversial," the Tucson Republican said, noting the tenure of C. Everett Koop. "They have taken on issues that have been important in the moment."
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 1:47:12 PM EDT
Carmona must first be approved by the Senate. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said he is looking forward to learning more about Carmona and his record. A registered independent, Carmona had been contacted by both Democrats and Republicans about running on their ticket, but never committed to either party. He gave up notions for a run for Congress when he learned he was being considered for the surgeon general nomination. Residing in a political middle ground could be helpful to Carmona when he goes before the sometimes contentious Senate for confirmation sometime in the next two months, said Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl. "It makes him less polarizing as a nominee," said Kyl, a Republican. "It causes him to be looked at with less suspicion by Democrats." Kyl expects Carmona's confirmation process to go smoothly. "Based on what I know of his background, I don't think he's going to have any problem, except for the possibility of extraneous issues clouding his confirmation. Innocent people can get caught up in political battles," Kyl said. If he is confirmed, Carmona - whose parents were born in Puerto Rico - will be the second Hispanic surgeon general. President George Bush appointed Antonia Novello to the post in 1990. "Mr. President ... I've just got to say that you have enabled me to appreciate the American dream," Carmona said, speaking in both English and Spanish. "As a high school dropout, a poor Hispanic kid to where I am today was just nothing you could even dream about."
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