McKalip resigns from local medical board over controversial e-mail

07/24/09 Mitch E. Perry
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St. Petersburg neurosurgeon David McKalip resigned today as President-Elect of the Pinellas County Medical Association, approximately 24 hours after news broke over the internet of an e-mail he sent of an image of President Obama as a witch doctor dressed in a loin cloth and with a bone in his nose.

Dr. McKalip is a strong critic of plans for health care reform, and has been part of public protests against it in recent weeks in the Tampa Bay Area.

But news that McKalip had sent out the e-mail led to criticism nationally and locally. So on WMNF’s True Talk program this morning, he told host Ahmed Bedier he was stepping down at his upcoming post as head of the Pinellas county Medical Association.

No local leader had been more prominent and vocal in the previous 24 hours that McKalip should resign from the local board than St. Petersburg House Democrat Daryl Rouson. Rouson spoke to the Evening News a short time before McKalip announced his resignation, but after he had apologized for the e-mail.

McKalip's apology and resignation come after the Florida Medical Association called McKalip’s communiqué ‘hurtful and in poor judgement’. They said he should apologize directly to President Obama, which McKalip did in a statement issued Thursday night.

McKalip’s email was reported originally by the website Talking Points Memo.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that McKalip said he was being targeted because of his opposition to health-care reform. He sadi, "Because I've been so effective in pointing out how the government plans are going to hurt patients in very serious ways ... the only way they can neutralize my message is to discredit me personally.’

But today, the doctor was contrite, and not defiant.

On the True Talk program, Representative Daryl Rouson welcomed McKalip’s apology and said he embraced his statements on the program. Daryl Rousson represents District 55 in the state House. That includes parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee Counties.

The McKalip e-mail story comes during the same week over the controversy of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates claiming he was arrested for being black last week by Cambridge, Massachusetts Police, and the uproar over President Obama calling the Police’s actions “stupid” – and with a story of some citizens still questioning the citizenship of President Obama.

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