WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said on Thursday that he withdrew his name from consideration for U.S. surgeon general to focus more on his family and career as a surgeon.
“It was a really tough decision,” said Gupta, a father of two young daughters with a third on the way. “For me it really came down to a sense of timing more than anything else.”
Gupta, a journalist and neurosurgeon, said he did not want to take on another responsibility that would require him to spend even more time away from his children or his work at a county hospital in Atlanta.
“I came to grips with, ironically, that being surgeon general I probably would not be able to continue to practice surgery,” Gupta said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” program.
In addition to his work at CNN, Gupta is a practicing brain surgeon and professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital.
President Barack Obama had not formally nominated Gupta for the post. But the doctor said he had been told by White House officials that he was their top choice for surgeon general.
Gupta served in the 1990s as a White House fellow, where he was a special adviser to Hillary Clinton, writing speeches and helping her formulate policies.
The surgeon general leads the 6,000-member commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and is the top federal government spokesman on matters of public health.
Surgeons general in the past have used the office as a bully pulpit to urge Americans to give up smoking, battle AIDS and tackle other healthcare concerns.
Editing by Anthony Boadle