Nicholas Kristof: If Dr Trump was your surgeon…

A pair of pliers is one thing, but what damage could Donald Trump inflict with a scalpel?
A pair of pliers is one thing, but what damage could Donald Trump inflict with a scalpel?
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Nicholas Kristof tries to imagine the Obamacare-obsessed President wielding the scalpel in the theatre

It’s a dark and stormy night, and the hospital corridor is eerily illuminated by lightning flashes as Dr Trump and Dr McConnell enter a patient’s room and approach the bed of a young woman, Janet.

“We have the best healthcare plan ever for you!” Dr Trump says exultantly, to a thunderclap outside. “Tremendous! I’m the best! I take care of everybody.” He uses his stethoscope to listen to Janet’s heart, and frowns slightly.

“Er, doctor?” Janet says. “I think my heart is on my left side, not the right.”

“Let me double-check,” Dr Trump replies, and he hurriedly moves the stethoscope over. “Who knew health could be so complicated?”

He looks into Janet’s eyes, holds her hand in his own, and says in a silky voice, “Beautiful Janet, you’re in such great shape.”

Janet, creeped out by the doctor’s inappropriate bedside manner, pulls back her hand and tightens her gown around her neck. Dr Trump doesn’t notice and continues: “Your heart is a disaster. You need a new one, and that’s why we suggest a transplant. We don’t happen to have a replacement ready for you, but never mind.

“Normally we do ‘remove and replace’,” Dr Trump adds. “But in this case, if we can’t settle on a replacement, we’ll just do a flat removal. Nothing to worry about. Huge benefits. Huge!”

Dr McConnell tries to smile reassuringly, but succeeds only in looking constipated. “Once your heart is out,” he explains, “there’ll be new urgency to solve the problem.”

Janet’s eyes have grown wide, so Dr McConnell attempts reassurance: “Anyway, I’ve never found a heart necessary.”

Janet bites her lip. “You know, you’re the only doctors who ever said my heart had to come out,” she says. “My previous 
cardiologist, Dr Obama, tweaked my diet and medications, and it was ticking along fine.”

“NO, it’s a disaster!” Dr Trump bellows. “That Obama – it’s all his fault. Don’t listen to any other doctors!”

“I just want to be informed,” she says softly.

“Horrible idea!” Dr Trump says, and then he pats his pockets down. “What did I do with my phone? I have a thought for a great tweet: ‘A closed mind is a terrible thing to waste.’ I know I had my phone during my last surgery, because I tweeted, and then I set the phone down – oh, no! I bet I left it …”

“In the operating room?” Janet asks.

“In the patient.”

Janet gulps, and her anxiety increases

as a peal of thunder is followed by a shrill alarm sounding from a patient’s room somewhere down the corridor. Very politely, she explains that maybe she doesn’t want surgery after all.

“Fine!” replies Dr Trump. “Go ahead and die. Your heart is failing. It’s a disaster. And it’s all their fault.”

“Pardon?”

“It’s the Democrats,” Dr Trump says, and a flash of lightning captures his eyes rolling crazily. “We may be running the hospital, but they’re to blame.”

“Don’t you have any other patients you need to see?” she asks. “And maybe you should put that scalpel down?”

“Don’t you see?” Dr Trump says, as a thunderclap shakes the hospital. “You’re going to die anyway. All Obama’s patients are dying. I’ve always said, let the patient fail.”

“But I’m not failing,” Janet replies firmly. “I’m fine. Just a little nervous watching you with that scalpel.”

Dr Trump shakes his head. “No, you’re imploding,” he insists. “I can see it. You’re self-destructing.”

“Help!” Janet calls out. “I can’t breathe.”

Dr McConnell looks sadly at Dr Trump. “I knew this would happen. But maybe it’s time to move on so we can work on our hospital tax plan? You know, if we just make the medical assistants and custodians pay a surcharge, we can give a break to surgeons. The result will be a leap in innovation that will benefit everybody.”

“Help!” Janet cries weakly.

Dr Trump looks down at her and shakes his head as she lies gasping. “So sad but inevitable,” he says. “She was bound to implode. Always going to fail. That’s what happens when you get a Kenyan-born doctor. The patient dies on her own.”

“But, but,” Janet tries to speak, “the problem is that you’re stepping on my oxygen hose. You’re the problem.”

Dr Trump steps more firmly on the hose. “Poor Janet is imploding right in front of us. Democrats created the mess. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it.” He checks for a pulse, finds none, and doesn’t realise he’s checking in the wrong spot.

“OK, Dr McConnell, I’m just going to FaceTime my buddy Vladimir, and then on to the tax plan?”

“Take my heart,” Janet moans in her last breath, and a thunderclap drowns out her death rattle. “You need it.”

©2017 New York Times New Service