The glare of the spotlight makes a huge difference. The Arizona Board of Medical Examiners (BOMEX), watched by every TV camera in town, punched the ticket of Dr. John Biskind at an emergency hearing on Monday.
The board, usually reluctant to do more than slap a doc on the wrist, suspended Biskind's license, pending a full hearing, for allegedly letting a woman bleed to death after an abortion and for trying to terminate a nearly full-term baby.
That's a big change from the last time Biskind was accused of the exact same things. BOMEX let Biskind off with a "letter of concern" in 1990 for another botched abortion, and censured him--a fancy word for scolding--in 1995 for another patient who died in his care. And it took BOMEX more than a year before it got around to them.
You think it had anything to do with the media attention and the angry legislators threatening legislative hearings on BOMEX? Or that this case involved abortion, the most politically charged procedure a doctor can perform?
So, this quick-like-a-bunny reaction to a possible threat to the public must mean BOMEX has resolved its long-standing problems, right?
Well, not exactly. There are 29 more doctors who are considered such threats that BOMEX has decided to try to revoke or suspend their licenses in formal hearings. And they've been waiting for about two years while BOMEX twiddled its thumbs. The Flash would say those cases are full-term.
Even under new management, BOMEX has only two cases scheduled for hearings this year.
It happened at the top of the lead story in Sunday's Arizona Republic. Michael Murphy, an otherwise lucid reporter, employed the most hackneyed turn of phrase in American journalism. That would be the dream/nightmare juxtaposition:
"Jill Chance once described her 1980 crowning as Mrs. Arizona as 'a lovely dream.'
"Today, the former Mrs. Arizona's life could only be cast as a bizarre legal nightmare that has become the stuff of screaming tabloid headlines."
Murphy, however, is not alone. A search of Republic archives dredged up this sampling of examples from the past year alone. Not included here are oodles of cliches printed by the Republic but actually committed by wire-service writers.
July 12, a headline: "Dreams of Pulitzer Prize turn into journalistic nightmare."
June 24, Norm Frauenheim: "Suns scout Dick Percudani has this dream. Make that a nightmare."
May 16, a photo caption: "Dream girl Sarafine (Julie Delpy) turns out to be the worst nightmare for Andy (Tom Everett Scott) in An American Werewolf in Paris."
May 5, Dan Durrenberger: "Imagine. The ASU College of Social Work! A tenured professor's dream. An academic vice president's nightmare."
May 3, Anne Stephenson: "The knock on the door comes at 3:24 a.m., waking Kathryn Lyons from good dreams to a nightmare on a cold, New England night."
April 25, Tom Schmitt: "Buck Cirelli's field of dreams has become a nightmare, and he's not particularly fond of the experience."
April 14, Catherine Reagor: "The American dream of owning a home can turn into a nightmare for many first-time homebuyers."
April 4, Jeff Simon: "What started out as a dream weekend quickly turned into a nightmare."
March 22, a headline: "Jr. Coyotes put dream finish on nightmare season."
March 3, Frauenheim, again: "As the NHL searches for culprits in the sequel to Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, it might be time for U.S. Olympic officials to take a second look at the 'Dream Team' business.
"It is turning into a nightmare."
January 29, an editorial: "They represent a dream come true for conservationists and environmentalists.
"They are a howling nightmare for some in the area."
January 18, Don Kirkland: "Tuesday, Tempe building permit applicants can take advantage of the city's new consolidated Development Services Center, a place where one-stop shopping is supposed to change the paperwork nightmare into a dream come true."
January 10, an editorial: "For Rio Salado, the devil has been in the details, and in 1987 the dream of a beautiful Rio Salado quickly turned into a political nightmare when Maricopa County voters overwhelmingly rejected a property tax increase of 25 cents per $100 to finance the redevelopment plan."
January 6, Joann Richi: "In the midst of all this plenty is ostentation; mansions teetering on the hills, smiling down on what is now a middle class dream, and could easily become a tenement nightmare."
January 5, Tim Tyers: "Love likely will remember the ninth and 14th holes in his dreams. Make that nightmares."
January 4, Paul Schatt: "But do they realize that keeping businesses away from new homes merely continues the steps that have made transportation a nightmare in the Valley? Everywhere there are tradeoffs. The single-family home with a large yard is the American dream, realized by many."
December 19, a headline: "For working poor, the American Dream can be nightmare."
December 18, Mike Fimea of the Arizona Business Gazette: "To hear urban planners tell it, the American Dream has devolved into the American Nightmare."
December 5, a headline: "Mingus nightmare intrudes on Firebirds' dream season."
November 29, a headline: "Mall dream a nightmare."
November 23, Robert Kerwin: "For many, holiday time is like Liv Ullman's nightmare in Scenes From a Marriage--everybody at you at once, trying to pull you apart.
"Seasonal obligations used to be a dream."
November 23, Pedro Gomez: "Baseball is a game of dreams and nightmares."
October 10, a headline: "Dreams of romance sometimes transform into living nightmare."
October 23, Gomez, again: "That was no dream on your TV set Tuesday night. That was a nightmare, even in Arizona time."
October 19, E.J. Montini: "Thousands of foreign men and women have had their American dream crushed by an American nightmare."
October 15, Brian J. Pedersen: "When punter Ryan Springston injured his knee on a blocked punt in the second quarter against Stanford, freshman walkon Chris Palic had his dreams and his nightmares come to life."
October 10, a headline: "Jack Rabbit played back chasing his dream after nightmare experiences last year."
September 28, Bill Muller: "You awake, startled. It was only a dream. But with dozens of companies vying for your long-distance dollar these days, the search for the cheapest long-distance rates can be a real nightmare."
September 26, Linda Valdez: "Miguel fled a nightmare, and died pursuing a dream."
September 24, a headline: "Dreams of E. Valley sports center gloss over funding nightmare."
September 23, a headline: "Compromising on a dream could lead to a nightmare of a marriage."
September 14, Kyle Lawson: "Playing the fest is every troupe's dream, although the cost can be something of a nightmare."
September 4, D. Parvaz: "Every parole officer's nightmare, every bail bondsman's dream."
August 24, an editorial: "Application to the Valley of rail could have benefits similar to cities such as San Diego and Portland--more infill, turning a transit nightmare into a commuter's dream come true and complementing air quality efforts."
August 2, a headline: "Commute can make dream a nightmare."
Feed the Flash: voice, 229-8486; fax, 340-8806; online, [email protected]