We all saw Dr. Oz respond to his “critics”, the 10 doctors who petitioned Columbia Medical School for his resignation. He vowed to not stay silent and found fault with them, for their conflict of interest with GMO companies and criminal activities. Yet, he failed to respond to the more than 1,300 doctors polled on SERMO, the largest social network exclusive of physicians, who similarly called for him to step down and posed questions to him.
Over the years, Dr. Oz promoted many scientifically questionable practices. One of these, a weight loss product that he sold for profit, caused him to appear before a Congressional hearing to defend his actions. He no longer sells these products because they have not proven effective. Yet, for all those who purchased these products under the false assumption that they work, they were ripped off with no hope of recovering their lost dollars. They were fooled by someone who was supposed to be a trusted medical expert.
After responding to his “critics”, he stated that his show is not a “medical show”. Yet, on his show he dresses as a doctor and fields medical questions. The audience is under the assumption that they are addressing questions to a doctor. So, what would one call his show if not a medical show?
“Do we want celebrity doctors who invent their own science? Or do we want those who promote real medicine?”
On his show, Dr. Oz has promoted the belief in communicating with deceased loved ones. He had a psychic medium appear on his show. He believes there are medical benefits to it, including lowering stress. Clearly, there are no clinical studies to back up his claims here.
Dr. Oz holds many such beliefs that are contrary to established medicine that he discusses on the show. Viewers have no way of knowing what is real medicine and what is his own cult medicine. They are likely to become victims of this pseudoscience without more expert information.
How harmful is his false information?
♦ A person with a real medical problem may defer seeing a real medical doctor and getting real medical attention.
♦ A person may reject the best treatments based on false statements Dr. Oz has promoted on his show.
♦ A person is gullible in spending their hard earned money on products that have no scientific basis.
♦ Wrong information can lead to wrong decisions.
♦ Dr. Oz is creating a show for viewership, not because he actually cares about the health of the viewers. The more sensational the better whether it works or not.
♦ Dr. Oz bears no liability in information he gives on his show. He can say whatever he wants with no repercussions. If a person is harmed, they is nothing that can be done.
Doctors spent many years studying and training to learn the science of medicine. We took an oath to do the best for them. We cannot throw all we learned out the window and make up our own “science” for the sake of making ourselves popular. This is simply unethical. As a celebrity doctor, we should be held to a higher standard because we have a larger audience. When a person places their trust in us as a physician, we need to honor that trust and provide the best medical information we know. If we forgot how to do that, then perhaps it is best that Dr. Oz resign. Do we want celebrity doctors who invent their own science? Or do we want those who promote real medicine?
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Dr. Linda Girgis MD, FAAFP, is a family physician in South River, New Jersey. She holds board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine and is affiliated with St. Peter’s University Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital. Dr. Girgis earned her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency at Sacred Heart Hospital, through Temple University and she was recognized as intern of the year. Over the course of her practice, Dr. Girgis has continued to earn awards and recognition from her peers and a variety of industry bodies, including: Patients’ Choice Award, 2011-2012, Compassionate Doctor Recognition, 2011-2012. Dr. Girgis’ primary goal as a physician remains ensuring that each of her patients receives the highest available standard of medical care.