No License for Disinformation: Doctors Against Bullshit

December 19, 2021

De Beaumont Foundation:

new report released today urges state medical licensing bodies to investigate doctors who are deliberately spreading misleading or false COVID-19 information. And an overwhelming majority of the public agree: Nine in 10 Americans say doctors who intentionally spread misinformation about COVID-19 should be held accountable, according to new polling conducted by Morning Consult for the de Beaumont Foundation.

In the report, Disinformation Doctors: Licensed to Mislead, public health advocates No License for Disinformation and the de Beaumont Foundation offer an expert analysis on a path forward to counter doctors’ attacks on science and medicine and prevent unnecessary COVID-19 deaths.

The report argues that state medical boards have the grounds under states’ Medical Practice Acts to take disciplinary action against doctors who are deliberately spreading disinformation. But almost two years into the pandemic, they have largely failed to take action.

“Misinformation is a public health crisis, and ‘disinformation doctors’ are making it worse,” said Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and chief executive officer of the de Beaumont Foundation. “Lives are at stake. State medical boards have the ability and the responsibility to counter the spread of misinformation by taking real action against the biggest offenders.”

“A small but vocal minority of physicians are exploiting the credibility that comes with their medical licenses to disseminate disinformation to both their patients and the public,” said Nick Sawyer, MD, MBA, FACEP, an emergency room physician and executive director of No License for Disinformation. “The trust that our patients and the public instill in doctors is paramount; and state medical boards are undermining that trust by failing to hold these doctors accountable for their dangerous and deceptive actions.”

4 Responses to “No License for Disinformation: Doctors Against Bullshit”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    I think preventing disinformation that harms people or the world should be a priority. We’ll never win this in time to implement solutions with media overwhelmingly owned as it is by right wing psychopaths, able to broadcast lies about climate, energy, Covid, and all the other things they lie about.

    But what these folks are saying is that they want to deny or revoke medical (and nursing, nurse practitioning, chiropracticing, naturopathicing, and other) licenses for what someone else thinks the practitioners think. Impossible to do and unacceptable to try. It will have to be done according to whether what they say is against scientific consensus and does harm, not according to what the practitioners might be thinking. That seems to make it a free speech problem, except the right wing, government, police, and military are often willing to imprison people who criticize them, or even just reveal what they’ve said and done, or disagree with them. Eugene Debs, anyone?

    I can tell the difference between the desires of a corrupt government to, as David Roberts has expressed it, “engage in fuckery unmolested” and our desire to put off the end of civilization for the time being, but we know that whatever is done to the right wing will be returned with fury, for vengeance. They can’t tell the difference, or don’t care (we can’t tell for sure what they’re thinking) so once again, doing any tiny bit of this comes down to political power. We don’t have enough to prevent global catastrophe. Are we all OK with that or should we maybe do something about it?

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I just didn’t like that the activist did not know how many MDs lose their licenses, or why. It shows a gross lack of preparation to me, not understanding how the system is working currently.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Not sure I understand what you’re saying. Or what they’re saying. At 1:48 in the video the reporter’s question is unclear (all too common pronoun confusion–is “they” the doctors or the boards?) So the fact that the answer is odd is maybe understandable, except I sure didn’t understand most of the rest of the conversation.

        I also didn’t understand the “What percentage of the patients come in?” question. Makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s not surprising he doesn’t know how many. There are no reliable figures of any kind on any of this, as far as I know. How many people don’t come in? How many people are fooled? Taylor Nichols, the activist, pretty much sucks; I think I agree with you there, but to get more out of this is just to make most of it up, I think.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          I was just saying the activist MD may be motivated by a real problem, but he should also learn about how the current system works if he wants to change it.

          In any case, we have a marginally better chance of stifling the disinformation from MDs than the crap people get from the pulpits (faith healing, “Jesus is my vaccine”, etc.).

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