Celebrities say: Take this medical advice*

Medical advice magnified

I have an idea.

Let’s hold celebrities accountable for the medical advice that they give.

Much of it is just plain silly, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation to steam your vagina.

You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.

But some of it is deadly, like Jenny McCarthy’s claims about vaccination, Ricki Lake’s claims about homebirth, or Suzanne Sommers’ claims about cancer therapies.

Why haven’t these celebrities been sued for the injuries and deaths that result? The answer is in the fine print.

At the very bottom of the website of Jenny McCarthy’s organization, Generation Rescue, in teeny, tiny print, it says:

None of the information presented here should be considered medical advice or a “cure” for autism. The information presented represents strategies for dealing with autism that have been reported as successful by professionals and/or families with autism. While we believe this information to be accurate we are not in a position to independently verify it and cannot guarantee that it will work in any particular case…

The first page of Ricki Lake’s book, My Best Birth has this disclaimer:

This book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians…

Hidden in the Terms and Conditions Page of Suzanne Sommers website is this:

Information contained in SuzanneSomers.com is not a substitute for professional medical advice, health care services or a medical exam. Nothing accessed is or should be interpreted as a general or specific recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product, exercise regimen or course of action.

This is supposed to protect these celebrities from any responsibility for their recommendations, products and advice (because regardless of what they say, it IS advice).

Here’s my thought:

Anyone harmed as a result of taking the advice of these celebrities or harmed by using the products that these celebrities shill in their books and movies and on their websites should be able to sue the celebrities for malpractice. Why malpractice? Because if a celebrity is profiting from her recommendations (through products, books and movies), she is practicing medicine without a license. Of course if the celebrity is not profiting, merely sharing what she and her family do, she should not be liable in any way. There’s a big difference between saying, “Here’s what I do.” and saying “Buy this in order to …”

After all, other companies and their executives are responsible for harm devolving from the products they sell, whether that harm was predictable of not. We don’t allow car companies to put tiny labels on their cars claiming that since you chose to buy the car, you are responsible for any harm that occurs when using the car. Why should we allow celebrities to put tiny print on their websites, books and movies (which are offering detailed medical ADVICE), claiming that they are not responsible for the outcome because it isn’t really advice (wink, wink)?

This is not censorship, because these same celebrities are free to give the exact same advice; they’re simply held accountable for it.

And how could holding them accountable be a problem if they are sure that the advice/recommendations/products they are promoting are safe and effective? It wouldn’t, if they had the courage of their convictions, right? They’d simply be putting their considerable wealth where their mouth is, and they can afford it.

So I declare people should be allowed to sue celebrities for harmful medical recommendations … but this claim should not be construed as legal advice.


*This statement should not be construed as medical advice.