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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: Free speech, medicine and social media
Posted: Thu May 19, 2022 at 01:59:32 pm EDT (Viewed 232 times)

During my reading of some medical/scientific journals I came across the following in the New England Journal of Medicine. One of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. The following is a perspective piece from members of the American Board of Internal Medicine.


I hope that works, it is titled "Physicians Spreading Misinformation on Social Media — Do Right and Wrong Answers Still Exist in Medicine?"

Some of the issues discussed are not new but it brings up issues as to what responsibility professional organizations have in enforcing medical standards.

For instance, during COVID, some folks with MDs have basically spread misinformation on social media. Driving the campaign that has led to numerous unneeded deaths throughout the pandemic. Such speech can be somewhat governed but it is not illegal, compared to commercial fraud activities on the platforms. Even though this false information can lead to death (COVID or other vaccine preventable illnesses).

The article specifically discusses board certification bodies threatening to discipline those that are found to do this (through a process of hearings and appeals to allow everybody to be heard). For those not in the know you do not need board certification to practice medicine technically, but if you do not have it than it is iffy on finding a job or actually practicing medicine. The process requires that physicians stay up to date on the standards of care and practice evidence-based medicine and they are tested at varying frequency and must take so many accredited courses a year. Or rather a total number of credits from taking those classes.

It also brings up a disturbing trend, to me anyway, this professional policing would be done to help ensure doctors are giving information to protect patients and not just spewing nonsense with no basis in fact. And it would not be that rapid. However, some states like Tenn (and others apparently) have passed laws preventing these boards from punishing basically any treatment of COVID.

So a doctor could say take bleach or whatever and the professional bodies could do nothing. In that example one would hope the state medical board or law enforcement would be involved, but they pretty much cut off the certification bodies from doing anything.

That seems an abuse in disguise of protecting the right to descent. In science the outside point of view is valuable and in something poorly understood various ideas should be considered, but too many pseudoscience types will not change and will always rely on the "science has been wrong before" or "Galleleo gambit" of the lone truth teller. They generally have no real evidence for their perspectives or opinions.

Which to me makes it a no brainer that these sorts of people should be punished if they are telling lies that impact people's lives and have no evidence to back up their claims in any systematic way.

There may have once been an argument from desperation or right to try but there are things that can be done now with varying effectiveness. And while I am less clear on the current right to try law, classically the doctor had to have some basis for thinking it would benefit their patient. Many of the studies used to promote things like ivomectin and similar have been demonstrated to be so factually wrong and misleading that they can no longer be used as any sort of basis for anything at all.

In some ways how the culture war has bled into medicine and science even moreso than normal.

Look Raist bunnies...
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