Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137

Turkey Buzzards

February 1999
Second Wind
Lomita, California

Dear Friends,

A short time ago, I went to the Dade County (Miami) courthouse to testify as an expert witness in the class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of Americans who have suffered from the many diseases that are caused by tobacco. While being briefed by the Plaintiff's attorney on the twelfth floor of his office complex, across the street from the courthouse, I noticed about 50 to 60 huge black buzzards circling around the courthouse. "They are turkey buzzards", attorney, Stanley Rosenblatt explained. "They are here about seven months a year". They migrate from Ohio. I think they are telling us something, I replied. "Maybe this is symbolic".

In the courtroom of Judge Kaye who presided over the trial is the bronze motto above the bench, "We who work here seek only truth". It got my attention.

After five hours of intensive testimony, the tobacco lawyers tried once again to deny that tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer, COPD, and a major cause of heart attack and several other tobacco-related cancers and other diseases. They tried to deny addiction and the industry's aggressive seduction of teenagers into the bondage of nicotine addiction, through tobacco advertisements over many years!

The turkey buzzards know, there is something rotten at the Dade County courthouse which has been brought there by some lawyers, particularly those representing the tobacco industry.

I will be in touch next month.

Your friend,

  Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
14 March 2002