Steve Johnson and critical thinking

Gregg Leverett's picture

Steve Johnson faced Senate confirmation to be on the State Board of Health and Human Service on Thursday, April 5th, 2012. I was present and was allowed to make a two minute comment and answer questions.

I started out stating that Steve Johnson retired from veterinary medicine because of lack of critical reasoning skills. Many of the people present kind of snickered, at my statements. At the end of my comments they were no longer snickering.

My first indication that Steve Johnson lacks the required critical thinking skills to work as a competent veterinarian was from a conversation I had with Wayne Allard back when Steve Johnson was an employee of Wayne Allard’s. Wayne Allard used to come out for political and monetary support. I will not go into the full conversation, but during this conversation Wayne Allard described problems that Steve Johnson had doing diagnostic work. If a veterinarian has a problem doing diagnostic work, they are displaying a problem with critical thinking, because they reach the wrong conclusion. A veterinarian will be presented the symptoms, and combine their knowledge along with critical thinking and reasoning skills and come to a diagnosis or conclusion. If they are having problems doing diagnostic work, they are reaching the wrong conclusion, which is what Wayne Allard was saying about the job performance of Steve Johnson.

I feel that Steve Johnson was never able to learn or correct these critical thinking or reasoning problems. Thus the reason that Steve Johnson decided to retire from veterinary medicine. What makes me say that Steve Johnson still has problems with critical thinking is that Steve Johnson posted the letter from District Attorney Larry Abrahamson while failing to question the obvious problems with medical facts? In this letter District Attorney Larry Abrahamson, claims medical facts that cannot be supported by current medical literature. For Steve Johnson to have posted this letter to his Larimer County Google page, without asking the questions that almost every other person with medical training would ask, is another, recent display of the lack of critical thinking skills, by Steve Johnson.

Some of the questions that Steve Johnson should have asked, which he did not, which were asked by another veterinarian are:

  1. Why did the Emergency Room physician fail to diagnose heat stroke? Heat stroke is quite common in dogs, a species that Steve Johnson should be very familiar with.
  2. Why did the Emergency Room physician decide to use a drug that has a well documented history of toxicity problems with children, and is also considered the drug of last resort, as the drug of first choice? The toxicity problems with vancomycin are so well know that my father does not use this drug at all in his veterinary practice.
  3. Why would the medical test results be lost, when some of the same blood chemistry changes are present with both heat stroke and arsenic poisoning?
  4. Why would DA Larry Abrahamson consider the loss of the medical test as not significant to the case?
  5. Why did the Steve Johnson, not know of these similarities blood chemistry results for both heat stroke and arsenic poisoning? There are many papers on this subject, and as ground water arsenic contamination is documented in the South West part of the U.S., and as my father did veterinary work for International Cattle systems on ranches in New Mexico and Texas, may explain some of his knowledge about this subject.
  6. Why did District Attorney, Larry Abrahamson not name the antibiotic in question, and only used the term “a broad spectrum antibiotic”? How many lawyers have enough medical knowledge or has a true understanding of what the difference between a board spectrum, gram positive, or gram negative, antibiotic means?
  7. When Steve Johnson posted and commented on the letter from DA Larry Abrahamson, why were these questions not asked?

These are some of questions that should have been asked by Steve Johnson, before posting the letter from DA Larry Abrahamson. They are the most blatant problems with the letter from DA Larry Abrahamson, that I feel show that Steve Johnson showed the same problems with critical thinking that were expressed by his former employer, Wayne Allard. I am saying that it is a critical thinking problem, because I think that Steve Johnson was provided a quality education from CSU Vet School. From having worked with quite a few CSU Vet School grads who have worked for my father, they had a knowledge base that was quite impressive.

One example of a person, who graduated about the same time that Steve Johnson did, would be Clay Lilly. Clay Lilly was quite impressive and innovative about solving problems while doing surgeries. We would be out at a client’s ranch, sometimes over 50 miles away from the clinic. Clay would decide that he was going to do a complicated surgery. I would think to myself, and ask Clay if we had both the facilities and instruments (surgical pack) to do this complicated of a surgery. Clay would look around place and say, “Yeah, I think so and we have the standard surgical pack, we are all set”. While helping Clay, he would do some technique, and I would ask him afterward where he had seen that procedure done before, and he would say he just decided to do the procedure on the spot. To be truthful, Clay, displayed some of the best improvisation during surgery, and every time the results were positive.

This to me was a display of critical thinking done very fast and under pressure. Steve Johnson on the other hand was sitting at his desk, and had all the time he needed to evaluate the letter from DA Larry Abrahamson before posting the letter to his Larimer County Google page. Steve Johnson did not have the pressure of having to solve a problem before many things that could risk the life of an animal needed to be solved. Clay Lilly did this so many times, and had positive results. So a lack of tools (knowledge) to ask these questions cannot be attributed to Steve Johnson’s education, so the problem must reside elsewhere, which I feel is in critical thinking skills.

I am sure that Steve Johnson put a lot of work into being able to graduate for Vet School, but I feel he has also shown problems with critical thinking. I am sure that Steve Johnson may become informed about a subject before he votes on it, just I as I am sure he became informed enough to be able to pass the exams of Vet School. However, I think Steve Johnson has shown that he has problems with critical thinking, and that would be displayed from the conversation with Wayne Allard and the posting of the letter from DA Larry Abrahamson, without asking the questions that others in his former profession would ask.


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