Fox anchor repeated false claim about "Nobel Prize-nominated" doctor


Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum identified Dr. William Hammesfahr, a Florida neurologist who claims he can help Terri Schiavo, as a "Nobel Prize-nominated neurologist," despite the fact that Hammesfahr was never actually nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Hammesfahr* testified during an October 2002 court hearing on the Schiavo case that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written to the "Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine" by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending Hammesfahr for a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine." But that award does not exist (the Nobel Assembly awards separate prizes in peace and medicine), and assuming Bilirakis intended to nominate Hammesfahr for the prize for medicine, as Hammesfahr claims, the nomination is meaningless because Bilirakis is not qualified to nominate anyone for that award.

On March 21, Fox News host Sean Hannity referred to Hammesfahr as a Nobel Prize nominee eight times during a single hour-long edition of Hannity & Colmes.


In this item, Media Matters previously wrote that the Florida Board of Medicine disciplined Hammesfahr in 2003. We have subsequently learned that the board's action was reversed on appeal in 2004 by the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal. We regret the error.

Posted In
Health Care, End of Life Issues
Terri Schiavo
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