Mr. Whitcomb’s diagnosis

Although we decline to follow Time down the path of the Year of You, we are indeed proud of you, our readers. One such reader is Mr. Trent Whitcomb, a Minnesota physician assistant (Master of Science in Physician Assistant Practice as well as a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement) who writes to comment on “Finding little loot, men turn to rape” by Chao Xiong in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Thanks for the fantastic job you do every single day. I’m a daily, long time reader from Dayton, MN.
I realize you don’t typically cover stories with a completely local focus, but I wanted to bring your attention to something I read in the Star Tribune this morning. Regarding the police shooting of an alleged robber and rapist, the Star Tribune uses the last 1/4 of the story to portray the family of the suspect as victims and Somali “community leader” Omar Jamal as investigator and medical expert.
Because the suspect was carrying someone else’s identification, the Minneapolis Police Department initially misidentified him; of course, the family is in an uproar not because of the crimes committed, but because of the identification situation. Omar Jamal apparently communicated with the MPD, then visited the suspect in the hospital. His mind-blowing conclusions after seeing the suspect and “looking at some X-rays”: the suspect was shot in the back.
Here we go again — the Star Tribune already “stirring the pot” by irresponsibly reporting something as fact which clearly is NOT.
As an Orthopedic Trauma Physician Assistant with over 4 years of experience and former EMT-Police Officer with 13 years experience, I cannot tell you how difficult it can be to tell where a projectile entered or exited the body even while directly examining the shootee. X-rays, even when read by someone with many years of experience, CAN give you a sense of where a bullet traveled based on bone and soft tissue injury, but to a non-trained eye they tell you NOTHING.
Once again, the Star Tribune proves itself as being the worst newspaper in the country.
Thanks again. I appreciate all of you.
Regards and Merry Christmas,
Trent R. Whitcomb

Mr. Whitcomb adds an explanation of his professional specialty:

In case you aren’t familiar with PA’s, we function as a team with Physicians. PA’s are board certified and are able to diagnose and treat disease processes, prescribe medications, and perform minor surgeries independently. We work in all specialties of medicine. We frequently “first assist” in the operating room. I currently work at a Level 1 Trauma Center in the Twin Cities performing a variety of patient care duties including Emergency Department consults for initial evaluation of trauma patients, working in the operating room with my partner surgeon, seeing patients on an outpatient clinic basis, and taking care of patients who are in the hospital.

The clarification was necessary to correct my mistaken understanding that Mr. Whitcomb is a physician, as I originally identified him in this post.
Reader Tom Sullivan adds another point worth making: “The story ends commenting on how many police shootings there have been this year… not the number of home invasions, rapes, or even suspects caught.”


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