Viewpoint: Time to create guidelines for TV physicians

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

Physicians who give one-size-fits-all diagnoses on TV programs like The Dr. Oz Show or The Doctors need to be regulated by the government and other healthcare professionals, according to Michael Rosenbaum, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine at New York-based Columbia University Medical Center.

"Health professionals need to assist in creating guidelines for this novel medical subspecialty and informing television doctors that it's ridiculous to parade their degrees in the program titles and their on-air 'costumes,' only to claim that these aren't medical shows," he wrote in an op-ed for The Hill.

Dr. Rosenbaum wrote specifically about shows that make recommendations to all their viewers, rather than those like Dr. Phil that work one on one with guests.

This new media medicine can irresponsibly promote and endorse products and practices that may not be safe or effective for the average American, he said. Moreover, these TV physicians are not being held to the same standards for conflicts of interest, evidence-based medicine or full disclosure of medical treatments, including side effects.

"In the modern Hippocratic Oath, a newly minted physician states: 'I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to my fellow human beings,'" he wrote.

 

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