Noted bioethicist Arthur Caplan, in his column on NBCNews.com, gave a similar description of Murthy's views, writing that “science supports his views about guns being a health issue.”
While editorials of support may boost Murthy's spirits, they have a tendency to preach to the choir. So supporters are using social media and have launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #StandWithVivek.
“When an MD who supports mainstream common sense gun laws becomes tarred as a radical, public health takes a step backwards. #StandWithVivek,” tweeted Dr. Ricky Choi, a San Francisco-based pediatrician active with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Mark Ryan, who uses the handle “@RichmondDoc,” tweeted the message “Gun violence is a public health threat that kills over 30,000 Americans yearly: don't let the NRA control the discussion. #StandWithVivek.”
But social media campaigning has not had much success with the Obama administration's healthcare appointees. Supporters hope Murthy, co-founder of Doctors for America, will fare better than Dr. Donald Berwick, Massachusetts candidate for governor and co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Berwick became CMS administrator via a two-year recess appointment and was never brought before the U.S. Senate for full confirmation.
Berwick supporters seeking to pressure the president into retaining Berwick at the CMS in 2011 created a Facebook page titled “100,000 Voices for Don Berwick.” But the effort fell 99,427 voices short when only 573 people “liked” the page. Berwick ended up resigning just before his term expired.
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks