Alabama: NRCC Ad Picks Up Attack on Dr. Griffith

Posted September 24, 2008 at 6:39pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee is picking up on a line of attack begun last week in the 5th district open-seat race by insurance broker Wayne Parker (R). The NRCC on Wednesday released more documents that call into question the medical credentials of Parker’s opponent, state Sen. Parker Griffith (D).

In its release, the NRCC pointed to a 1987 internal report to the board of trustees of Huntsville Hospital that alleges that Griffith under-treated cancer patients while working as a radiation oncologist at the hospital in the mid-1980s in an effort to increase profits.

The NRCC pointed to a specific passage of the report, which says that in those patients managed by Griffith, “of whom there were 15 charts that I reviewed, there was a definite emphasis toward limited [radiation therapy] volumes inappropriate to the disease being treated, fractionation schedules which are much lower than our standard in most departments in the United States, and total doses that were inadequate for the basic end point being set forth in terms of management.”

The report goes on to state that in some cases a more aggressive treatment program would have resulted in a cure.

“If the stunning allegations that Dr. Griffith played God in order to maximize his practice’s profits are indeed true, Griffith is wholly unfit to serve the people of Alabama in any profession, medical or otherwise,” NRCC spokesman Brendan Buck said in Wednesday’s release.

After Parker first leveled allegations against Griffith’s medical record, the state Senator appeared on a local television station to call the attacks a distortion of the facts. He also released a response ad in the district accusing Parker of lying about his record.

Griffith has said that he was recruited to work at Huntsville Hospital as the region’s first radiation oncologist and that he later left the hospital to start the Huntsville Cancer Treatment Center. Griffith has said that the documents that Republicans are now pointing to were part of a smear campaign begun by some hospital officials who saw his new cancer treatment center as a direct competitor for hospital business and as such tried to get him kicked of the Huntsville Hospital staff.

“The NRCC should be ashamed of themselves for their continued misleading attacks on Dr. Parker Griffith, an oncologist who … has a clean record, according to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners,” said Kyra Jennings, a spokeswoman at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Bright Leaves D.C. With Extra $50,000 in Coffers

In what he said would be his last trip to Washington, D.C., before the election, 2nd district Democratic nominee Bobby Bright held events Tuesday and Wednesday with the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which represent two of his biggest backers on Capitol Hill.

Bright, the mayor of Montgomery, said Wednesday that he’ll be leaving Washington with about $50,000 in donations from various fundraising events held by the Blue Dogs and DCCC.

Much of that money will probably go toward funding the air war that has kicked into high gear in the 2nd district over the past week.

Although Bright began his television campaign immediately after state Rep. Jay Love wrapped up the GOP nomination, he’s recently expanded his advertising campaign after Freedom’s Watch, the conservative 501(c)(4), dropped $150,000 last week on an ad that hit Bright on his tax record.

Bright quickly responded with his own ad that attacks self-made billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major donor to Freedom’s Watch, for his investments in China.

As of June 30, Bright had about $281,000 in cash on hand. After battling it out in his primary runoff, Love had just $91,000 on hand at the end of June. However, after loaning his campaign $650,000 during the primary, Love isn’t seen as a candidate who has to worry much about fundraising. Bright is also wealthy and could put large amounts of his own money in the race if need be.