The End of Unrestricted Celebrity Medicine?
July 14, 2014 3:11 AM   Subscribe

 
pleasepleaseplease
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:04 AM on July 14, 2014 [15 favorites]


100% behind this student. Gonna see if I can get a draft of his policy and introduce it here in PA. I've only been seeing patients for a year now, but I've spent multiple clinic hours carefully refuting OZ's magic beans to patients who can't help but believe something they heard from a Ivy-trained cardiothoracic surgeon.
posted by The White Hat at 4:41 AM on July 14, 2014 [9 favorites]


How is celebrity medicine any different than any of the self help TV crap?

Celebrity TV giving you psychological help.
Celebrity TV telling you how to buy a house.
Celebrity TV telling you how to build a house.
Celebrity TV goes on and on...

Is bad celebrity medical advise that much worse than bad celebrity construction advise. If listen to bad celebrity construction advise, you could hurt other people (when you start a fire, when you sell the house, when you have a guest over). If you listen to bad celebrity medical advice, you are only hurting yourself.
posted by Flood at 4:45 AM on July 14, 2014


How is celebrity medicine any different than any of the self help TV crap?

This is such a terrible comparison it's difficult to believe you're serious. Doctors occupy a profound position of trust, predicated on professional ethics that require them to put the best interests of their patients above all other concerns. A doctor taking to television to promise viewers miracle cures that he himself knows have no grounding in reality is an obscene violation of that trust.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:53 AM on July 14, 2014 [35 favorites]


If you listen to bad celebrity medical advice, you are only hurting yourself.

You could make the same claim about fraudulent financial advice.

But you're not 'only hurting yourself'. You're wasting the time of every medical professional involved in your care. You're potentially hurting someone every time you share the woo you learned on TV. You're contributing to a trend, stoked by media scare stories, where people are being taught to mistrust the very people who know most about medicine. And you're hurting your family or others around you who have to deal with the fallout of your taking bad medical advice. It's a lot more than just non-survival of the stupidest.

Humans have a collective responsibility to protect those among us who are most vulnerable - and being a desperate, fearful person looking for an answer to chronic health problems is a particular vulnerability that's being exploited here.
posted by pipeski at 4:58 AM on July 14, 2014 [10 favorites]


Judge Joe Brown actually had a dust-up with his state bar over whether his show violated ethical rules for lawyers and that's part of why he's not on the air anymore.

The TV renovation shows I've seen mostly seem to use licensed contractors although I admit I haven't seen many.

Medical advertising and information is really tightly regulated, and for good reason. (In fact only two countries - the US and New Zealand - allow direct to consumer medical advertising.) Doctors pimping nonsense does real damage and avoiding snake oil is part of why we license doctors and regulate advertising in the first place.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:04 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


(In fact only two countries - the US and New Zealand - allow direct to consumer medical advertising.)

Direct advertising of prescription drugs to consumers and the forbidding of the FDA to regulate herbal medicines are two great examples of what you get from a Congress that runs on legalized bribes. Two massive industries were able to purchase laws that enriched themselves further at great cost to the general public.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:10 AM on July 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


he himself knows have no grounding in reality
Really ?
Well, I guess I don't really know anything about Dr Oz. If he is suggesting people use leeches, then that is a different thing. I was assuming that his advice was grounded in some reality, and that the guy was in fact a doctor.

I am in construction - and I watch (and cringe) at many home building shows. I have had customers tell me that we do not need to do this or that, because they saw on some show that we could do it that way.

There are people out there following bad construction advise found on these shows. Home construction requires a license, and building codes are an issue of public safety.

The advise on these shows works for the specific project on the show, but not for general construction advice.

To me, there is bad advice is bad advice. Bad advice that bankrupts a family, or burns their house down, or does not properly address their health needs. To me, it all seems the same.

However, if Dr Oz is beyond bad advice - if Dr Oz is really saying things that "have no ground in reality", then maybe that is different.
posted by Flood at 5:24 AM on July 14, 2014


he himself knows have no grounding in reality
Really ?
Well, I guess I don't really know anything about Dr Oz. If he is suggesting people use leeches, then that is a different thing. I was assuming that his advice was grounded in some reality, and that the guy was in fact a doctor.


Really. The man is a doctor, but he directly acknowledged in his testimony before congress that he has endorsed treatments that have no scientific evidence to support their use. He straight up acknowledged using his credentials to help promote untested treatments.
posted by amelioration at 5:54 AM on July 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


However, if Dr Oz is beyond bad advice - if Dr Oz is really saying things that "have no ground in reality", then maybe that is different.

He was, quite literally, selling magic* beans.


SPOILER: They weren't magical.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:22 AM on July 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


He was recommending that diabetics use agave as a sweetener, even though it has massive amounts of fructose. Carbs are carbs are carbs. Diabetics must regulate their carbs to avoid things like having to have limbs amputated.

So yeah, Dr Oz was actively promoting things any responsible doctor would have known based on the research were terrible ideas.
posted by winna at 6:26 AM on July 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


Good news. By the way, if you happen to be in a area of the financial industry which requires professional licensure or registration (e.g. broker registered rep, registered investment adviser, CPA, insurance salesman, etc.), or if you possess one of the alphabet soup of private industry credentials (CFP, CFA, etc.) you are subject to a bushel full of legal or ethical constraints on what you can and cannot say, with severe consequences for breaking them.
posted by MattD at 6:36 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


How is celebrity medicine any different than any of the self help TV crap?
It's different because medicine is highly regulated. Once upon a time, any quack could call him or herself a physician, regardless of whether they had any training or there was any basis for the advice they gave or the treatment they prescribed. As a result, lots of people received useless (or worse) treatment, and medicine as a profession had a poor reputation. The medical profession worked hard to introduce regulation, so that only people who went to accredited medical schools could call themselves physicians, and only people who practiced according to professional standards could get and keep their licenses. Dr. Oz is not practicing according to high professional standards, and there's no reason that the medical profession shouldn't intervene, the same way that they would if a doctor were shilling snake oil to his or her individual patients. He has a free-speech right to sell snake oil, but he can't necessarily do that and call himself a doctor.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:52 AM on July 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


I love home-renovation shows, but it would never occur to me to tell a licensed electrician or plumber, "oh no, we can just do it this way" given that my house would not be the same as whatever house was on TV, and also bad wiring can actually kill you and bad plumbing can bankrupt you. But then, I have electricians and homebuilders in my family.

(I mostly watch them to criticize the style choices of people with more money than me, i.e. "WTF that is the ugliest countertop ever" or "subway tiles, oooh that's original!")

TV doctors always gave me that skeevy feeling, much like TV judges. At least most of the judges are dealing with small-claims stuff; they're not holding murder trials. I mean, I have had run-ins with regular doctors that wrongly prescribed things or misdiagnosed; why would I trust a random TV dude with an MD?
posted by emjaybee at 7:00 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I mean, I have had run-ins with regular doctors that wrongly prescribed things or misdiagnosed; why would I trust a random TV dude with an MD?

Not everyone is smart enough to do that, which is why it's so terrible.

My mother, for one, believes everything that shows up on television. It wouldn't surprise me if she believed that cartoons were real, somehow.

Of course she loves to talk about Dr Oz and his mystic ways. I've given up trying to explain anything about it to her.
posted by winna at 7:09 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think that a lot of people think that if a doctor is on television, he must be the very best doctor of all. Otherwise, why would he be on TV?

Maybe what we really need is better media literacy training.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:13 AM on July 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Judge Joe Brown actually had a dust-up with his state bar over whether his show violated ethical rules for lawyers and that's part of why he's not on the air anymore.

I can't find anything about this dust-up. Brown is apparently not on TV as a result of salary disagreements. He is running for District Attorney and was recently arrested in a contempt-of-court scene that may have been staged for publicity, but I don't see any state bar controversy.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:14 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't know from Dr. Oz, but the medical establishment is hardly blameless in creating the demand for this sort of thing.

I used to believe that middle aged women tended toward hypochondria until I and many of my friends became middle aged women and started getting seriously blown off by doctors. It's nearly universal. The only 40+ woman I know who hasn't had that problem has had the same PCP since she was 14. And he's probably about 80 now, so she'll be joining us soon, I reckon.

There's the general problem of doctors having to see too many patients, of course, but the time constraints are even worse when you get into that demographic, and the go-to explanation for anything not immediately obvious is either reproductive or psychological. You have to go back multiple times just to rule those things out. But women who go to the doctor multiple times in a row like that tend to get dogwhistle hysteria diagnoses, which only make it that much harder to be taken seriously in the future.

So they've created a market for women who need to get healthcare advice somewhere else. We're pretty much on our own.

I'm not against punishing doctors who exploit that to promote quackery, but the real problem is on the demand side. Someone else will supply the quackery as long as the legitimate medical establishment is creating this huge, underserved market.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:20 AM on July 14, 2014 [19 favorites]


I always wonder why Oprah doesn't get more flak on this issue. She did a lot of good with her show, sure, but she is also responsible for both Dr Phil and Dr Oz.
posted by cribcage at 7:33 AM on July 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


The End of Unrestricted Celebrity Medicine?

No, as stated in the link. "When we brought the policy to the American Medical Association, they reaffirmed existing policy instead of our resolution asking them to take action against inappropriate medical testimonials on TV. The AMA basically thought they were doing enough with existing policy."

Good news.

Not really.
posted by headnsouth at 7:35 AM on July 14, 2014


Well, I guess I don't really know anything about Dr Oz. If he is suggesting people use leeches, then that is a different thing. I was assuming that his advice was grounded in some reality, and that the guy was in fact a doctor.
FYI, leeches are regularly used in hospital settings today.
posted by snaparapans at 8:06 AM on July 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


According to the new yorker article he is an accomplished heart surgeon, who says some things in public to millions of people that the American Medical Association would rather he not say.

According to quackwatch he is making a lot of money off fraudulent pajamas but the cites for that are little thin. There is a lot of stuff on television that sucks but if you want to watch crap TV there really isn't any good way to stop you.
posted by bukvich at 8:11 AM on July 14, 2014


fraudulent pajamas

I don't even want any explanation of this, it stands alone on its own glorious merits.
posted by elizardbits at 8:24 AM on July 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


The only explanation I will countenance is "The Emperor's New Pajamas."
posted by ernielundquist at 8:36 AM on July 14, 2014


Yeah what's really fascinating about Dr. Oz is that he isn't just 'a doctor', he so very highly credentialed and was generally regarded as an excellent surgeon.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:36 AM on July 14, 2014


Dr. Oz is a three-time recipient of the Randi Foundation's Pigasus Award, a prize "honoring" promoters of pseudo-scientific nonsense. I found a great roundup on RationalWiki that catalogues some of the wackier bunk featured on his show, including giving airtime to promoters of reparative therapy.
posted by Jotnbeo at 9:41 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


> The only 40+ woman I know who hasn't had that problem has had the same PCP since she was 14

*raises hand* I don't have that problem with my doctor. My trick: have a doctor who is a middle-aged woman, just like me. She's a few years older than me, so she's personally going through things and learning how to deal with them right before I have to.

But when I've had to see male specialists, hoo boy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 AM on July 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't see why he isn't sued to death for malpractice. He seems to be dispensing medical advice and if someone acting on his sometimes screwy advice gets hurt why don't they sue him? There must be some intricacy of the law which prevents this.
posted by caddis at 9:50 AM on July 14, 2014


i remember long ago seeing Dr Oz on tv working with this family who were all overweight. he showed how to read labels and how stuff seemed healthy but was full of sugar and very little nutrition. (looking at you Frosted MiniWheats). i remember him bringing out a plastic gloopy model of actual body fat. he took them to a freaking morgue to show them how fat grows around your organs and how organs with normal fat and too much fat looked like. literally the fat glops around there and looks like it's hard for the organ to function, even if that's not the science answer. it's just obviously something you dont want your insides to look like.

he got them to do exercise as family, even if it was just taking a walk in the park or bike riding.

in the end, they all ended up a lot healthier. i think the dad was able to go off of several medications he was on. everyone lost weight and seemed happier. they were eating things that were healthy and occasionally having fun indulgences like ice cream instead of every night.

and then years later i would see this tv show of his and i was like is this the same dude? seriously? he was doing something good and now he's just like any other shill.

it sucks. i think he was helpful at one point. that guy and the shill seems like two different people and that is terrible.
posted by sio42 at 9:59 AM on July 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


I believe that he started out with good intentions, but went downhill quickly.

There's also a lot of people who just don't question 'facts', when given by a supposed authority figure. Not only does my middle aged roommate watch Dr. Oz, she *takes notes* on the unproven, pseudoscience that he's currently pushing. To ostensibly follow at some point. Which hey - her body, her choice. It's not really my place to try to disprove any of his notions to her.

I'm sure there's many more like her.

(She has tried to get me involved in the 'Blood Type' diet that she's also following; a quick 'That's nice, but I have no interest.' quashed that one quick.)
posted by spinifex23 at 2:18 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


How is celebrity medicine any different than any of the self help TV crap?

It's not and we should regulate all of it. If this succeeds it may be a welcome foot in the door.
posted by clarknova at 2:41 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's a shame money, and fame, are so important, even to people who have pledged to do no harm
posted by Windopaene at 4:25 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, I have had run-ins with regular doctors that wrongly prescribed things or misdiagnosed; why would I trust a random TV dude with an MD?

Because you have a chronic problem that your doctors can't solve or think you're a hypochondriac over. Particularly if it's the sort of problem that causes low-level pain and otherwise limits your daily ability to get around. People with undertreated chronic illnesses are often desperate for help that the existing medical community isn't giving them.

(If you're a middle-aged woman, as noted by ernielundquist, it gets worse.)
posted by immlass at 8:18 PM on July 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah what's really fascinating about Dr. Oz is that he isn't just 'a doctor', he so very highly credentialed and was generally regarded as an excellent surgeon.

But he could stroke his ego and get richer playing a doctor on TV.
More controversy = more viewers = more money for his fat wallet.

He caught a case of wannabefamousitis, and now he behaves like an egomaniac and doesn't care who he hurts.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:47 PM on July 14, 2014


What exactly do you have to do in order to lose your license these days?
posted by benzenedream at 9:08 PM on July 14, 2014


cribcage: I always wonder why Oprah doesn't get more flak on this issue. She did a lot of good with her show, sure, but she is also responsible for both Dr Phil and Dr Oz.

I've often wondered the same thing. Oprah gave a huge public platform to Jenny McCarthy, too.
posted by Georgina at 9:45 PM on July 14, 2014


Yeah, Oprah has a lot to answer for there.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:00 PM on July 14, 2014


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