The growing chorus against TV quacks

Julia Belluz at Vox.com has written an extensive analysis of the many medical professionals who are criticizing Dr. Oz for his dangerous quackery. She also discusses the work we are doing here at Doctors In Oz.

Oz’s dubious medical advice wouldn’t be such a problem if people saw the show as merely entertainment — if they simply watched the show but didn’t take its claims to heart. But it’s clear viewers really do heed his advice. There’s the case of a man who followed Oz’s suggestion of curing insomnia by pouring uncooked rice into socks, heating them in a microwave, and wearing them to bed. The man got second- and third-degree burns on his feet. He sued, but the case was thrown out because the judge determined that Oz cannot establish a physician-patient relationship through TV.

Not everyone agrees with the judge’s reasoning. Rochester New York medical student and blogger Benjamin Mazer has been publishing anonymous stories sent into him from health professionals about the impact Oz has had on patient care.

There are a lot more perspectives to share. The dissemination of medical information through mass media and the internet is in its infancy. The healthcare system will only increase its reliance on technology-mediated medical care. We must continue pursuing a nuanced discussion of the ethics of mass medicine.

We are continuing to collect and share the experiences of medical professionals and patients who contact us. We will also be sharing the opinions of legal experts on what the legal landscape looks like for doctors who deliver medical information through the mainstream media. Finally, we continue to pursue policy changes within organized medicine.

April 17, 2015 | Benjamin Mazer