Saturday, March 26, 2005

Schiavo: here's your "Nobel-prize nominated" neurologist

Not too surprising.

Hammesfahr, who was disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine, testified during an October 2002 court hearing on the Schiavo case that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written to the "Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine" by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending Hammesfahr for a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine." But that award does not exist (the Nobel Assembly awards separate prizes in peace and medicine), and assuming Bilirakis intended to nominate Hammesfahr for the prize for medicine, as Hammesfahr claims, the nomination is meaningless because Bilirakis is not qualified to nominate anyone for that award.

According to an explanation of the nomination process posted on the Nobel Prize website, the Nobel Assembly sends out invitations to approximately 3,000 people who are allowed to propose candidates for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The 3,000 are "mainly members of the Nobel Assembly, previous prize winners, and a selection of professors at universities around the world" -- not U.S. congressmen. Furthermore, the Nobel Assembly's "Nomination and Selection" criteria make clear that "[i]nformation about the nominations, investigations, and opinions concerning the award is kept secret for fifty years," so if Hammesfahr had received an actual nomination, he presumably would not know about it.


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