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If you are a news junkie you likely are feeding your habit this week with the scandal surrounding former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Spitzer, most of the Western world likely knows, resigned Wednesday from office after apparent liaisons with high-priced prostitutes were made public. He may still face related federal charges.

The story has consumed the media’s attention for all of its juicy angles: Here is a powerful, nationally admired politician who recklessly destroyed his career. More bewildering, the man built his reputation on upholding ethics, even prosecuting the industry he exploited. And, of course, as the old saying goes, sex sells.

While interesting – and definitely fodder for conversations by the water cooler – what, you may ask, does it have to do with long-term care?

It is true that Spitzer, at least professionally, leads a life far different from most of ours. But we certainly don’t have to look too far to find other careers dashed by human error – big or small. (And I admit that sexual indiscretions are within the category of mistakes generally within our control.)

Just think back a few years ago when The New York Times slipped from its journalistic pedestal as a result of plagiarist Jayson Blair. Or consider baseball giants Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and others, who, while already heroes for their natural talents, allegedly succumbed to performance-enhancing drugs.

Among our peers, who hasn’t heard about a reputable nurse who may have lost her temper and made a regrettable mistake with a resident?

Even closer to home, anyone remember the Manganos? The owners of the New Orleans-area nursing home may never live normally again after making a life-changing decision to not evacuate their nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina.

While they were acquitted on negligent homicide charges, their names will forever have a certain disquieting ring to them. And then there’s their burden of knowing that more than 30 residents died under their watch.

As was the case with others who lost their dignity or their livelihood, the Spitzer situation leaves me with a bad feeling. Here we have a stellar career and life that took years to build, toppled by an error in judgment.

Spitzer is just another reminder that everyone is capable of making mistakes – even those whose appearances may suggest the contrary.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.