Disinformation Doctors: Licensed to Mislead   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Foreword: "Most members of the public assume that any licensed doctor will provide them with appropriate, up-to-date, and evidence-based medical care. To wear the white coat, physicians take an oath to do no harm and to practice medicine in accordance with the highest ethical standards. [...] During the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, polling has consistently found that Americans consider their doctors the most credible source of information about the virus. However, during this ongoing public health emergency that has claimed more than 5 million lives globally, a small minority of physicians have exploited the credibility that comes with their medical licenses to disseminate disinformation to the public. Their lies, distortions, and baseless conspiracy theories have caused unnecessary suffering and death and are prolonging the pandemic. Throughout the country, state medical boards have the responsibility to uphold medical standards and the authority to issue, renew, suspend, or revoke medical licenses. With severe consequences, state medical boards have failed to uphold that trust. Not only have most boards failed to suspend or revoke licenses, but many have rubber-stamped renewals for doctors who are in clear violation of medical standards, which allows them to do more harm with no questions asked. [...] This report documents the urgent need for state medical boards to investigate physicians who are publicly and intentionally spreading false information. The examples in this report are just a small sample, but they have an outsized impact in distorting public perceptions of the pandemic. State medical boards and other governing bodies must step in to protect patients, the public, and healthcare workers, and to help end the pandemic."

de Beaumont Foundation
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