Doctors Spreading COVID Misinformation Can Easily Renew their Medical Licenses: Gunshots

Doctors Spreading COVID Misinformation Can Easily Renew their Medical Licenses: Gunshots


Dr. Lee Merritt is an orthopedic surgeon and spinal surgeon who spreads misinformation about COVID-19. She is linked to a prominent right-wing group known as America’s Frontline Doctors.

R. Kellman / Screenshot by Rumble


Hide caption

Toggle caption

R. Kellman / Screenshot by Rumble

For much of the pandemic, Dr. Lee Merritt appeared on talk shows and in lecture halls to spread false information about COVID-19.

Among their claims: The SARS-CoV2 virus is a genetically modified bio-weapon (US intelligence says it is not). And that vaccination dramatically increases the risk of death from COVID (data shows a huge decrease in the risk for those taking the vaccine). The entire pandemic, she says in public lectures, is a huge global conspiracy to exercise social control.

And yet she was able to renew her license to practice medicine in the state of Nebraska in October. Documents MediaFrolic received through a public filing request showed that it only took a few clicks: 12 yes-or-no questions answered online enabled it to renew its license for an additional year.

Critics say the Merritt renewal is another example of how the country’s state medical bodies fail to protect the public from a small minority of doctors spreading COVID falsehoods.

“State medical associations were mostly cozy clubs of people who felt their job was to protect the profession,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a group that tracks vaccine misinformation online.

In the past, this was a slow process that gave doctors every opportunity to defend themselves against a complaint, he claims. But in the current pandemic, Ahmed argues, medical bodies need to move faster and with more force. “Talking is not enough, letters are not enough, we have to act now,” he says.

Doctors have been trusted sources of medical advice throughout the pandemic. Experts believe the handful who spread misinformation fuel hesitation about vaccines.

Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images


Hide caption

Toggle caption

Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images


Doctors have been trusted sources of medical advice throughout the pandemic. Experts believe the handful who spread misinformation fuel hesitation about vaccines.

Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images

Dangerous news

Few people were more influential than doctors in the course of the pandemic. They were on the front lines fighting COVID and making the vaccine easier to roll out. Public health officials also see doctors as an important tool in combating misinformation. Officials are encouraging vaccine-reluctant individuals to speak to their doctor to help tackle the vortex of false claims and conspiracy theories online.

But a handful of doctors like Dr. Merritt countered these efforts: They spread bad information about COVID-19. Their qualifications make their message particularly dangerous, says Nick Sawyer, an ambulance who runs No License For Disinformation, a group that crackdowns against doctors who spread falsehoods.

“Doctors should be of a higher standard because people trust us with their lives,” he says.

The licensing of doctors in the United States varies from state to state. Medical associations are usually set up in accordance with state law and are made up of a mixture of doctors, lawyers and citizens. The bodies can receive complaints from any member of the public. They then investigate and take disciplinary action under their own rules and the laws of the state.

License renewals are often automatic, and Sawyer wants this process to be as smooth as possible. But he is also frustrated by the lack of disciplinary action: “If you are a doctor with a good reputation, you should be able to continue your practice without jumping through a pile of tires,” he says. “But that also assumes that the medical association does its job.”

The spread of misinformation is not censored

So far it seems that many doctors who provide bad information have escaped criticism. In September, MediaFrolic investigated 16 doctors who made false claims about COVID, including Merritt. Public records show that no one has been disciplined and all but one still have an active medical license. And Dr. Merritt wasn’t the only one to receive an extension.

Public records from MediaFrolic show that Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, another prominent anti-vaccine doctor who claims vaccines make people magnetic, among other things, has renewed her license online. the Ohio Capitol Journal Tenpenny’s renewal reported for the first time in September.

Neither Dr. Merritt, nor the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees its medical board of directors, responded to MediaFrolic’s request for comment. But dr. Humayun Chaudhry, the president of the Federation of State Medical Boards, an umbrella organization, says renewing medical licenses should be easy for doctors.

“It’s a procedural step that is usually automatic and not even discussed by the board,” he says. He says boards simply do not have the capacity to review the many hundreds or thousands of renewals that occur each year, and that failure to renew would amount to a license suspension that cannot be performed without due process. But he also says the renewals won’t stop boards from taking action.

“An automatically renewed medical license does not mean that an investigation is not running, nor does it prevent a committee from taking disciplinary action against this licensee,” he says.

According to Chaudhry, a recent poll by the association found that more than half of the country’s medical bodies have seen an increase in complaints about doctors spreading false information about COVID-19. Of those who responded to the FSMB survey, he said 21% have already taken some kind of disciplinary action. Many others are now quietly investigating ailments, says Chaudhry. You just need more time to act.

Meanwhile, Lee Merritt continues to travel the country giving speeches full of junk science.



Source link

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

Related Posts

Enter our vacation Giveaway to

Las Vegas!

Everyone wins a prize!