A Kansas radiologist-turned-political-candidate is facing criticism for posting X-ray images of grisly injuries to Facebook and making jokes about them.
Dr. Milton Wolf, a tea party-backed Republican running for the Senate, doesn't deny posting the images or the comments, but said in a statement that it happened "several years ago" and the photos have since been removed.
"However, my mistakes are my own and I take full responsibility for them," Wolf wrote.
Wolf said in another statement that his opponent in the Republican primary, Sen. Pat Roberts, "planted" the story in the media for political gain.
"In terms of attacks, this race has been ugly from the start," Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Timothy Carpenter said. Carpenter said he broke the story after months of work on it, but said he couldn't reveal his sources. The photos and comments have since been taken down.
Wolf posted an X-ray of a fatal gunshot wound victim to the social media website and commented that the victim "wasn't going to complain about the awkward positioning of his head for an X-ray," according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Wolf called another image one of his "all-time favorites," and commented "What kind of gun blows somebody's head completely off? I've got to get one of those," according to the Capital-Journal.
In a video posted by the Capital-Journal, Carpenter confronted Wolf with the images and asked whether Wolf thought his actions were professional. Wolf said it was the kind of material found in "medical educational textbooks."
New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan said Wolf wasn't breaking the law by posting the photos without permission because they didn't have any identifying information about the patient, but that doesn't mean Wolf acted ethically.
"If you want to educate, if you want to advance knowledge, then you turn these images into slides ... you don't put them on Facebook," Caplan said. "It looks like an indulgence of humor at the expense of some pretty gruesomely injured people. I'm not buying the argument."
When Carpenter asked Wolf whether he was still posting images, Wolf responded, "I'm not going to play these kinds of gotcha games with you."
Wolf did not respond to a request for comment beyond his statement. His primary opponent, Roberts, also did not respond to a request for comment.