It’s hard to find any one more willing to support Lance Armstrong than the man who helped save his life.
Two weeks after Armstrong went on TV to admit he’d been lying, the Indianapolis doctor who treated him is talking about the cyclist’s tarnished legacy, and Armstrong’s enduring legacy in the cancer community.
“What he’s done for the cancer community has been unprecedented,” said Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, the first-ever Lance Armstrong Foundation Professor of Oncology at IU Medical School.
“We’ve treated a lot of important people and athletes, but no one has done for the cancer community what he has done,” said Dr. Einhorn, who watched the Oprah interview last month on TV.
During the exchange with Oprah, the embattled cyclist answered just about every question, except for one. He refused to give an answer when asked about whether he talked about using performance enhancing drugs while undergoing cancer treatment at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis in October 1996. That’s when he was being treated by Dr. Einhorn.
In the interview, Winfrey asked Armstrong if Betsy Andreu’s claims of what she heard at IU Hospital were true. Andreau claimed she had overheard Armstrong tell doctors he had taken performance enhancing drugs.
Oprah Winfrey: “Was Betsy telling the truth about the Indiana hospital – overhearing you in 1996?”
Lance Armstrong: “I’m not going to take that on, I’m laying down on that one.”
Oprah Winfrey: “Was Betsy lying?”
Lance Armstrong: “I’m going to put that one down.”
In an exclusive interview with Fox59, Dr. Einhorn said if any of that happened, it wasn’t while he was in the room.
“Believe me, I would remember that,” Einhorn said. “He may have had some friends who were there, or some cycling buddies… but I can’t imagine a doctor asking a patient a question like that.”
Einhorn said, for him, the information would not be medically relevant.
These days, he’s choosing to remember Armstrong, not for lying, but for living, and helping others.
“He cheated in a sport,” Einhorn said. “He didn’t murder anyone, he didn’t steal money from anyone. He’s still a hero for people in the cancer community, and let’s be honest, if he didn’t dope, he would not have won seven straight Tour de Frances, because so many people were doping at that time. If he didn’t dope, and finished 17th, there wouldn’t have been a Livestrong foundation that helped millions of people with cancer.”