Physicians who spread misleading coronavirus information could be disciplined.
A dozen medical boards have moved to hold doctors accountable should they give their patients false information about COVID-19 and how to treat it, according to a survey from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). The survey indicated that “two-thirds of its 71 member boards” reported an increase in complaints about physicians spreading false information. Disseminating this information to patients can be detrimental so their health, even if those in the medical field believe they are trying to help.
“The staggering number of state medical boards that have seen an increase in COVID-19 disinformation complaints is a sign of how widespread the issue has become,” said Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP, president together with the CEO of the FSMB. The entity sent out information to doctors warning them that they would be taking disciplinary action against anyone who continues to do so and reported that 15 state boards have now released similar statements.
Chaudhry applauded the move and said the FSMB was “encouraged by the number of boards that have already taken action to combat COVID-19 disinformation by disciplining physicians who engage in that behavior and by reminding all physicians that their words and actions matter, and they should think twice before spreading disinformation that may harm patients.”
The board’s letter reads, “Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license. Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not. They also have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health. Spreading inaccurate COVID-19 vaccine information contradicts that responsibility, threatens to further erode public trust in the medical profession and puts all patients at risk.”
The president of the state’s board in California, Kristina Lawson, wrote publicly this month that on December 8, she was harassed by a group of men who believe in some “fake COVID-19 treatments” and didn’t appreciate the board’s oversight. Lawson alleged that four men began stalking her, driving back and forth in front of her residence. They then went to drive him from work in a “dark parking lot” and began attempting to record her.
.Unfortunately, there is a lot of division between those who follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and others who believe they can take matters into their own hands or follow lead of others who claim that know what they’re doing. When medical teams come onboard with “alternate intervention” and a fake cure all, this only perpetuates an even more dangerous divide and could be deadly.