Dr. Oz, ethics and “med-utainment”

Dr Oz

Dr. Oz, the cardio-thoracic surgeon who has trademarked his moniker “America’s Doctor” is under fire for promoting quackery.

According to the NY Times:

The celebrity talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz plans to respond aggressively on Thursday to doctors who have criticized his medical advice and questioned his faculty position at Columbia University, a spokesman for the show said on Monday.

In a strongly worded email sent last week to the university, 10 physicians wrote that Dr. Oz, the vice chairman of Columbia’s surgery department, had shown “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” In particular, the doctors attacked Dr. Oz’s “baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops.”

Apparently Oz plans to attack the credibility of his critics:

Dr. Oz will question the credibility of the letter’s authors, several of whom have ties to the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-industry advocacy group that has supported genetically modified foods, the spokesman said.

Oz may have a point. Some of the letter’s authors may have their own conflicts of interest. However, when you have to devote a segment of your nationally syndicated TV show to declare, “I am not a charlatan!” you may win the battle, but you are perilously close to losing the war.

The letter’s authors intended to use the national media to highlight Dr. Oz’s ethically dubious practice of promoting products that he knows (or ought to know) are quackery. They have been spectacularly successful in achieving that goal.

No, Dr. Oz is not going to lose his faculty appointment at Columbia, but that was never really in the cards. Academic freedom, the right of educators to hold and transmit controversial views, is precious. I don’t agree with much of what Dr. Oz has to say, but I defend his right to say it.

Nonetheless Dr. Oz is a medical doctor and doctors have ethical obligations. In my judgment, the most pressing question about Dr. Oz is whether he has violated those obligations.

Dr. Oz isn’t a charlatan; he just plays one on TV.

Hippocrates never worried about this kind of ethics problem. He conceived of the doctor-patient relationship as one on one, and wrote his Hippocratic Oath under the assumption that a physician has specific ethical obligations governing the medical advice he offers to his own patients. He never considered whether physicians have ethical obligations to the public at large.

By all accounts, Dr. Oz is an outstanding clinician. Moreover, no one has ever accused him of offering his own patients “quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” That would be a clear violation of his ethical obligations. But he has incontrovertibly offered quack treatments on his TV show, almost certainly in the interest of personal gain.

His influence is so pervasive that the British Medical Journal published a paper on the unreliability of his TV recommendations and those of a competing television show. Their conclusion:

Recommendations made on medical talk shows often lack adequate information on specific benefits or the magnitude of the effects of these benefits. Approximately half of the recommendations have either no evidence or are contradicted by the best available evidence. Potential conflicts of interest are rarely addressed. The public should be skeptical about recommendations made on medical talk shows.

I suspect that this did not come as a shock to Dr. Oz.

But Oz’s show is not a private medical consultation; it is med-utainment, a television show that incorporates the many disciplines of medical science (or pseudoscience) to provide entertainment to viewers.

Yet even as an entertainer, Dr. Oz is still bound by medical ethics. Academic freedom gives him the right to promote medical treatments that he knows don’t work. That doesn’t change the fact that it is a violation of medical ethics to do so.

Although Dr. Oz is not engaged in a traditional doctor-patient relationship with the members of his audience, he is speaking from a position of medical authority (including touting his faculty appointment at Columbia) and he is still offering medical advice to others. He is trading on his medical credentials and therefore his actions are bound by the same ethical constraints.

He has a tremendous conflict of interest and he ought to explicitly inform his viewers of that fact. His medical “advice” is determined by considerations other than what is supported by scientific evidence. These considerations include ratings, and advertising revenue. Higher ratings = more advertising revenue = more money for Dr. Oz. He’s like any doctor who prescribes a medication or treatment based on how it profits him, not on what is best for the patient. We recognize that it is unethical for doctors to take kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing their medications. It is equally unethical for Dr. Oz to profit from promoting quackery. If he’s not offering the same medical advice to his patients as he’s offering to his TV audience, he’s violating the primary tenets of medical ethics: beneficence (benefiting the patient) and non-maleficence (not harming the patient).

There are doctors out there who offer quack treatments because they believe that they work. Their recommendations are wrong, but they’re not unethical. Dr. Oz almost certainly knows better, which means that his efforts and renumeration as a med-utainer conflict with the obligations of medical ethics.

Dr. Oz is not a charlatan; he just plays one on TV.

And that’s unethical.

98 Responses to “Dr. Oz, ethics and “med-utainment””

  1. baileylamb
    April 22, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    I disagree I think he is good at compartmentalism. I think he believes the woo.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      April 22, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

      You think he’s going to come out and criticize something like Reiki?

      It would cause marital issues.

      I’m sorry, but whenever I hear of Oz and woo, all I can think of is Mr. Garrison from South Park: “Poontang, poontang…”

  2. Mac Sherbert
    April 22, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    OT: For those of you that like to read Homebirth stories. Here’s one for you. I just don’t understand what is so great about unnecessary suffering. She was crying out the Lord for Deliverance…but don’t you know he’s already sent deliverance from the pain of childbirth? It’s call an epidural! 10 pound baby, overdue, 6th baby, labor not progressing, possible shoulder dystocia, midwife that comes and goes. I don’t think she knows it, but her recovery from this birth sounds like it has been harder on her than my planned C-section for my last baby. http://www.themodestmomblog.com/2015/04/the-homebirth-story-of-sophia-diane/

    • Mac Sherbert
      April 22, 2015 at 10:18 am #

      Also, sorry for the post. I needed to say something and I just know commenting on that page is a waste of time.

      • April 22, 2015 at 10:22 am #

        That’s okay, it’s frustrating watching such wanton disrespect of human life and not being able to do anything about it. 🙁

        These crunchy mommy blogs are the worst. The Mormon blogging movement has been so detrimental to the rational childrearing crowd. It’s where I learned my own crunchy homebirthing, vaccination shouldn’t be mandatory bullshit; thank god I came around as I got older, before having a kid.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          April 27, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

          The Mormon blogosphere makes me want to smack my fellow Mormons upside the head. We have a cardio-thoracic surgeon and a nuclear engineer as apostles. God gave us science and medicine for a reason. Use. It.

          Oh blessings and prayers are still a good thing but let’s remember that when Nelson prays for help with a difficult patient, he still has to perform the work after he sees what he has to do next. The patient doesn’t reroute the flesh and close up their chest cavity by magic.

          We do have five daughters of our local very good CMN in my ward so fortunately we don’t have many homebirthers due to them and others steering the woo fantastics towards her. Now to work on the rest of the area…

    • Mel
      April 22, 2015 at 10:26 am #

      That sounds horrific.

    • Ash
      April 22, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      Can you imagine the hue and cry if the blogger said she gave birth in a hospital and during part of it, the MD left to go to a restaurant? oh boy…

      • demodocus' spouse
        April 22, 2015 at 11:07 am #

        Heck, I labored so long that the nurses had 3 shift changes, but the ob on duty (and his rookie) refused to go off duty until I’d had K. His replacement (who I’d seen once or twice for prenatal) stopped in to check on me, too, but Dr. K refused to let Dr. P take over my case.

    • Zen
      April 22, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      Sweet Jesus, that baby is like 1/3 the size of her. 0_0

    • Bugsy
      April 22, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      What does she mean when she wrote “the midwife had to move my cervix out of the way?” That’s a new one for me…

      • toni
        April 22, 2015 at 11:53 am #

        anterior lip i think it’s called.sometimes they have to move it manually so the baby can come out

      • Mac Sherbert
        April 22, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

        I have no idea! They only thing I could think of are the stories were the midwife has manually dilated the cervix or maybe she a lip of cervix that was in the way?

    • Lena
      April 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      “My midwife had checked to see how dilated I was a few times by now, but
      she would never give me solid answers, just encouraging me that I was
      progressing. I know my midwife really well, and knew that meant she
      didn’t want to discourage me with the truth. ”


      • Julia
        April 22, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

        Right? And then they complain about paternalistic care in the hospital…

  3. fiftyfifty1
    April 22, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    OT: Article on Huffington Post by a Birth Photographer giving supposed kudos to “c-section mamas”. Mothers who deliver by CS are “so brave” for having to face the “physical and emotional scars” . Author slams OBs for doing CS out of convenience and also throws in encouragement to mothers with footling breech not to give up on their dreams of a vaginal birth. So passive agressive.

    • Mac Sherbert
      April 22, 2015 at 9:49 am #

      Thank you! Several of my friends that have had C-sections have posted this on facebook and when I read it that’s exactly what I thought. Passive Aggressive. I was just not at all thrilled with the article like they were. I think the jabs went completely over their heads.

      • fiftyfifty1
        April 22, 2015 at 9:56 am #

        ” I think the jabs went completely over their heads.”
        Well when you are used to full-out attacks about giving birth by CS, I suppose that passive-aggressive attacks seem like balm to your wounds.

      • momofone
        April 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

        Someone I know posted it too, and I thought it was a joke at first.

    • toni
      April 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      hm well it’s definitely an improvement on the usual ‘c-sections are failures and almost always unnecessary and you’re not a real woman until you’ve given birth the right way..’ It’s nice to see some positivity about them but it is seriously patronizing.I’m kind of sick of this mothers are all so brave and strong and wonderful and beautiful stuff. I was upset talking to my SiL on the phone last week.. just feeling generally shitty and towards the end of the call she came out with all that ‘you’re so strong and you’re an amazing mother’ that women feel they have to say to each other these days. It doesn’t help me at all because it’s such trite bullshit.I amnot an exceptionally courageous or strong person, I’m not an especially good mother either. I’m a normal person and I actually really suck at being a mum sometimes. it’s like unless you tell someone they’re amazing you’re not being supportive, but let’s be honest most people are not amazing most people are average. I don’t mean to sound like an ingrate.. she gave up her time to comfort me and it did help just to vent to someone and she gave some good advice about handling her brother but the stuff and the end was just :/ and made me feel a little more depressed because I know it’s not true

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      April 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      Wow. Could the author be any more condescending?

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 23, 2015 at 9:12 am #

        In fact, the condescending nature of the post makes me want to contradict everything the author said.

        Brave? No, I wasn’t brave to get a c-section. If considered only on the brave/cowardly axis, I was more towards the cowardly side: I got the procedure most likely to end in my being alive and undamaged at the end. That may be (was) the sensible thing to do, the right thing to do, but it’s not the brave thing to do.

        Strong? Um…well, I can’t say that either. It was painless and I am lucky enough to recover well from surgery. After the first day my pain was of the “is this worth taking an ibuprofen for?” variety. I was back to work within a month. I was jogging 6 weeks later. I’m not sure where I showed any strength because that all just kind of happened.

        Beautiful? Hard to say much about beauty which is completely subjective, but if someone feels the need to admire my beauty for some unknown reason, I’d really rather they admire how I do my hair or my taste in clothes or even my fit but plump body type rather than my scars. Plus if someone told me how beautiful my scar was I’d probably feel compelled to make up some ridiculous story to explain how I got it. Or maybe just tell them the truth: I was in a knife fight with a surgeon. He won, but I did too.

  4. Trixie
    April 22, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    Dr. Amy, did you know you, and all the other doctors criticizing Oz, work for Big GMO? http://www.vox.com/2015/4/20/8455505/dr-oz-GMO

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      April 22, 2015 at 8:34 am #

      To be fair, a lot of the doctors in publicized letter have their own credibility issues. I don’t consider that letter to be worth squat.

      But Dr Oz’s critics have come from a lot farther than that.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      April 22, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      I think this letter was a stunt that will backfire, but Dr. Oz is ridiculous

      • Roadstergal
        April 22, 2015 at 11:03 am #

        Yeah, it sucks that with all of the diversity of bloggers delivering ongoing valid criticism of Oz The Woo-y And Terrible, it’s this letter that’s become the public face of the criticism.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        April 22, 2015 at 11:45 am #

        Actually, it’s already been spectacularly successful. Medical professionals have been complaining about Dr. Oz for years. It took a publicity stunt to put it on every national news outlet large and small, and force Oz to publicly address it.

        It this media driven age, it’s hard to imagine anything more successful than that.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      April 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

      That’s not what the article you link to says. Or are you being sarcastic and I’m missing it?

      • Trixie
        April 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

        Dr. Oz is saying his detractors are funded by food companies who are out to get him because he’s anti-GMO. Obviously he doesn’t name Dr. Amy, but his implication is that Big Business is out to get him. As if he isn’t Big Business.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          April 22, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

          People who have mainstream TV shows can not claim to be anti-establishment. At least, not without lying through their teeth.

    • Lancelot Gobbo
      April 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

      Best answer: “And you, Dr Oz, work for Big Placebo!”

  5. Allie
    April 21, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    I have a hard time accepting that people need to be told to be skeptical of medical advice they get from a doctor on TV. Then again, I don’t know why, since so many people are willing to take medical advice from non-doctors on TV, such as Oprah, Jenny McCarthy and Ricki Lake.

    • Who?
      April 22, 2015 at 12:49 am #

      The same reason they would use a shampoo, or perfume, or buy a handbag: because this celebrity says it is good. Never mind that the celebrity may not use what they endorse; never mind that if the celebrity does use it they probably get it for free; never mind that the celebrity has hairdressers and stylists to make them look as good as possible almost regardless of what they use.

      It’s just sad, really.

      • Bugsy
        April 22, 2015 at 11:23 am #

        …and don’t forget the power of photoshop in editing out celebrity wayward hairs or stubborn wrinkles.

  6. Trixie
    April 21, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    You’d need an Oz-like salary to afford all the foods and supplements he recommends on that show. And the ability to eat 5,000 calories a day without gaining weight.
    Didn’t he let his wife make idiotic vaccination decisions for their children, also?

  7. Amy
    April 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

    I’ve made other comments to this effect before, but it will never stop baffling me that many of the same people who go on about how you can’t trust doctors, they’re ALL in some Big Pharma/Big Med conspiracy to keep us sick and take our money, will turn around and cite Dr. Oz, Dr. Northrup, Dr. Jay Gordon, and the Drs. Sears…..BECAUSE they’re doctors.

    • Bugsy
      April 22, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      Don’t forget Mercola – he’s such a delightful gem!

  8. namaste863
    April 21, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    Errrrr, I never watch TV. I read books. So can you beautiful people fill me in on what type of “Quackery” Dr. Oz is preportedly pushing? Thanks, lovelies!

  9. Maria
    April 21, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    People like Dr. Oz make the jobs of non-entertainment doctors harder. My sister sees a lot of patients with diabetes, severe obesity, and other chronic conditions. They don’t want to hear the “eat more fruits and veggies, exercise, etc.” advice because they think there should be a quick fix like Dr. Oz hawks on his show. They distrust her advice but willingly listen to quacks who seem “nicer.”

  10. The Computer Ate My Nym
    April 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Another thought: Why do the “it’s all a big pharma conspiracy” types believe this guy? This really is a conspiracy of a sort: The use of a doctor (albeit one with no expertise in preventative care or nutrition at all), the medical students as gophers, the behind the scenes corportate sponsors dictating what products will be shown and how they will be presented…it all screams “big business trying to take your money and make you sick”. Yet the alties like Dr. Oz. Why?

    • Amy M
      April 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

      He probably makes them feel like equals and tells them what they want to hear.

    • Bugsy
      April 21, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

      Feel-good medicine…makes them feel good about making the “right” decisions.

      • Roadstergal
        April 22, 2015 at 11:42 am #

        It’s funny that with all their ranting about how doctors tell you to just ‘take a pill’ – they eschew science-based lifestyle decisions and just want to take a supplement to lose weight.

  11. CourtneyMcGTX
    April 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    OT I had to share this, it immediately made me think of the discussion on this blog. http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/how-anti-vaxxers-sound-normal-people-0

  12. Amy M
    April 21, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    OT: I know someone here posted a link to a blog by a physician who was looking into breastfeeding, jaundice and autism. That same physician has a facebook page, where of course lactivists go to try to “educate” her and everyone else. (You know, breastfeeding is akin to godliness, so there’s absolutely NO WAY anything bad could be associated with it.) Anyway, a few people were arguing that when people are hypoglycemic, their brains/bodies will get energy from ketones instead of sugar. The physician said that that was not the case for brains. Does anyone here know anything about that? Even if it were true, why would anyone be ok with their baby reaching that level of starvation?

    • Nick Sanders
      April 21, 2015 at 3:49 pm #


      There’s some info about the brain in both the “Metabolic Pathways” and “Diet” sections, but I don’t know enough about physiology to really get it.

    • Cobalt
      April 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      I am not a doctor, but my cobbled together information says:
      Ketones are produced when the body is forced to use fat for energy, because sugar is unavailable or unprocessable (diabetes)
      There’s a high fat content in a healthy brain
      Newborns have a low reserves/margin of error
      Newborn brains are growing faster than they ever will again
      Ketoacidodsis is a thing, and a dangerous thing

      None of that makes me think making a baby hypoglycemic is ok.

      • Daleth
        April 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

        Bingo. Newborns have so little fat that they probably couldn’t subsist for long on ketones (because they couldn’t make ketones for long) even assuming their metabolisms work the same way ours do.

    • Bugsy
      April 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      Like Cobalt below, I’m not a doctor. However, I had GD in my last pregnancy. I was required to monitor blood sugars 4x daily as well as ketones each morning. Interestingly enough, the only time I ever had ketones in my urine was the day when I was hospitalized for other issues. Anyway, the hospital was serious that ketones in my urine repeatedly could be dangerous for the baby.

      The NCB person I knew also had GD, but her midwives never had her check ketones. When I told her that my OB required it, she was floored that it had been overlooked. (Gee, a midwife not requiring something an OB would….ya think?)

      As Cobalt mentions, ketoacidosis is quite dangerous. I know a 50-year-old who passed away from it as a result of undiagnosed type II diabetes. Not something to mess around with.

    • Julia
      April 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

      The doctor is incorrect: the brain can and does use ketones as energy sources. Ketogenic diet is for example useful for the treatment of certain pediatric epilepsies. Ketones are used as energy sources a) during starvation, when only fat and no more glycogen is available, and b) when consuming a ketogenic diet low in carbs and high in fat. The former is obviously bad (dehydration, malnutrition and fat stores don’t last forever), while the latter is fine. Metabolic ketosis can lead to ketoacidosis which is very bad.

      Now I’m not sure how this relates to infant feeding, since neither neither breastmilk nor formula are ketogenic foods.

    • LibrarianSarah
      April 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

      And I am going to repeat the question that if I didn’t ask I thought very loudly. Why isn’t the fact that babies are STARVING enough? Why is it necessary to bring autism into it. Don’t get me wrong, it is an interesting hypothesis but it need a lot more study before it becomes anything else. And at the end of the day you shouldn’t feed a starving baby to avoid autism you should feed a starving baby because…well do I really need to explain it?

      • Amy M
        April 22, 2015 at 7:37 am #

        Oh, I highly agree with you, I thought that the people who were pushing breastfeeding exclusively, to the point where a baby is starving, have totally gone off the rails. But I thought this doctor is making an important statement (regardless of later outcomes, starvation in the early days is bad, in and of itself) and yet she got a lot of resistance. The lactivists weren’t even touching the autism hypothesis, they were just trying to insist that breast is best, and newborns don’t starve or some nonsense like that—missing the point as usual, because they value ideology over people.

  13. Lena
    April 21, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    From the bit of behind the scenes info I know, I don’t think he makes any decisions about what he features on the show. That’s all on the producers, he just goes along with it. Not that he couldn’t have a say if he wanted to, but I get the impression that when it comes to the show, he prefers just being a face and voice and getting paid for it. Which is problematic in the extreme, of course, but money talks.

    (I know a few medical students who have worked on the show–the take a full year off to intern there.)

    • Ash
      April 21, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

      MEDICAL students who take a year off to intern at a TV show? crazy

      • Lena
        April 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

        Yep. They basically act as gophers. I don’t know what they get out it, unless they’re hoping to use their degrees for a career in entertainment instead of actual medicine.

        • Amazed
          April 21, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

          They have interns? Medical students, no less? WTF? And they claim it’s not medical at all? They sure do lots of work to create that impression.

          I start whining and feel sorry for myself and archaelogy when I see some of our “media” archaelogists shining at me from the screen but this is far more serious. At least the bones they pass as being this and that famous person HAVE been dead for some thousand year and in no danger of harm now, ancient curses notwithstanding (and yes, I do believe there is something to that. Call me crazy but I do believe.) And they were never aimed at the buried people anyway.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      April 21, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

      How is this not grounds for pulling his license? He’s allowing non-specialists to dictate his medical recommendations and encouraging people to do things that are dangerous to their health. This seems like a reason for NY to pull his licensing and possibly for his medical school to revoke his degree.

      • Lena
        April 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

        Like Dr. Amy said, there’s a difference between his actions towards and recommendations to his patients and what he says on a tv show to a general audience. It’s bullshit, of course, because we all know that viewers take everything he says as medical advice no matter what the disclaimers, but legally, he’ll be fine.

        I mean, doctors have to directly harm multiple patients before the medical board even considers pulling licenses–no way is something a surgeon said on an entertainment show going to register with them.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          April 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

          Why is this form of “entertainment” legal? Oh, well, in a country where “supplements” can be sold without even proving that the bottle contains what it says on the label, much less that the supposed ingredient is safe and effective and drug companies can advertise prescription medications directly to consumers, why not have a surgeon give out advice about diet, I suppose.

          • Lena
            April 21, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

            I haven’t checked, but I’m sure there’s some disclaimer in the credits or something stating that nothing said on the show is meant as medical advice and people should talk to their doctors before trying a supplement featured of the show. That’s how they cover themselves.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

            I’m sure that they do, but they’re doing their best to create the impression that this is medical advice without ever saying it is or doing anything actionable. This is so slimy.

          • Bugsy
            April 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm #


        • Bugsy
          April 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

          I agree, but just wish he couldn’t use his MD title within his TV show as well. People believe him because he’s a doctor…and if the advice he gives to actual patients differs from that which he presents on television, it seems that he’s abusing his title to me.

  14. The Computer Ate My Nym
    April 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Why hasn’t Columbia fired this idiot? Tenure? They like the attention? He brings in the money by the bucketfull? What possible excuse is there for keeping this quack on the payroll?

    • Lena
      April 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      He brings in business, and he hasn’t fucked up (or fucked up enough, whichever the case may be) as a surgeon to warrant him being fired, no matter how contemptuous other Columbia doctors might be of him. And some are so contemptuous.

    • Nick Sanders
      April 21, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      From what I’ve heard, he’s not just adequate but very good at his actual medical job of being a heart surgeon. The problem is that expertise in a specialty is not the same as well-rounded mastery.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

        There’s a variant of Dunning-Kruger going on, perhaps: he thinks that since he’s good at heart surgery he must be good at everything in medicine. That attitude kills. I’ve seen people have very bad outcomes because surgeons did not consult medical specialists when they ran into a complication outside of their scope. Not too different from midwives not wanting to call in OBs, really.

      • Ash
        April 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

        He’s very competent and qualified at cardiac surgery, but he’s doing a much smaller caseload than he did before Oprah, and no longer doing the same kind of research.

        Pre-oprah: involved in some of the first transaortic valve implants in the US

        post-oprah–the use of coconut scents in the post-operative period.

        ’tis on his Columbia website

        • Cobalt
          April 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

          Kinda says it all, huh.

          I wouldn’t call going from involvement in cutting edge medical/surgical techniques to expounding on the benefits of air freshener a career upgrade, but I guess it pays well.

        • Lena
          April 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

          He only performs surgery one day a week, mostly so he could keep up his skills and maintain his license. TV is his primary money maker and where his interests lie.

          • Luba Petrusha
            April 22, 2015 at 10:18 am #

            There was a New Yorker piece on him a while back. Doing a few cases once a week, for a cardiac surgeon, is not really enough to keep your skills top notch. Apparently other doctors do not refer friends or family to him for this reason.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 22, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

            I wouldn’t refer a friend or family member to a surgeon who operated so rarely unless the surgeon was the only person in the world who did some exotic operation that required so much prep and f/u that she only had a chance to operate one day a week. A surgeon who is only part time at surgery for any reason, especially for woo related work? Nope, nope, nopity nope.

          • Lena
            April 22, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

            I wouldn’t consider him if I needed surgery, either. I’d want my surgeon’s primary income to come from surgery. It should be their full-time profession, not their hobby.

        • Medwife
          April 22, 2015 at 3:31 am #

          That’s a tragedy.

    • Squillo
      April 22, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

      Presumably, it’s good PR. Having his name attached may bring in the well-heeled and well-insured to the facility. I can’t think of any other reason they’d have him as dept. vice chair. He apparently has a small caseload for a ct surgeon, and I seriously doubt he’s bringing in any grant money. His list of research citation on his Columbia page is pretty meager (to put it mildly). He’s probably not doing much teaching, either.

  15. attitude devant
    April 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    My husband is CONSTANTLY calling up Dr Oz clips on YouTube to piss me off. I was at the same med school at the same time. I start screaming and looking for things to throw. I KNOW the man knows better

    • Mishimoo
      April 21, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

      As I’ve said before, my favourite Dr Oz moment was complaining about him with a CNM while waiting for my antenatal appointment. Her main irritation was that now her parents are retired, they’re watching a lot of Dr Oz and she was tired of having so many conversations that went “No, Mum/Dad, talk to your doctor about it. It’s not my area and it’s not his area either. His advice is probably worthless.”

      • demodocus' spouse
        April 22, 2015 at 11:20 am #

        Yep. Neither of my nurse aunts offers any child care advice more than the occasional grandmotherly kind for the same reason.

        • Mishimoo
          April 22, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

          Same with my aunt, and she’s probably one of the most qualified people to dispense advice. Over the course of her working life she has been a nurse, a childcare worker, a childcare director, a special ed assistant, a special ed teacher, and is currently an early years teacher with some mainstreamed higher-needs students. She’s also raised 5 kids of her own. If anyone knows anything about kids, it’s her. The only advice she gives is to love your kids, let them be as independent as possible, and support their interests.

  16. Mel
    April 21, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    Dr. Oz concerns me because there are many people in the audience who because of relatively low medical literacy are unable to objectively analyze the likelihood of products being hawked actually doing what is promised.

    I worked for years in a population that had native-born adults who had a HS degree or less, foreign-born adults with 4-6th grade disrupted education, and many adults and teenagers with relatively low English academic language fluency. For this group – which is a large portion of the US population – a medical doctor is a person of authority who must be listened to because they know more about the subject.

    As such, Dr. Oz’s shilling was viewed as actual medical advice rather than an cheesy, crass way to add to his income.

    This pissed me off so much I used his weight-loss “products” as a final project for the nutrition portion of my human anatomy class. The students needed to look up the method by which the “product” worked then critique it. The kids were brutal – and I was really proud.

  17. Amy M
    April 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Quack-peddlers are the lowest of the low. I believe most of them know perfectly well that what they are selling is garbage, though I also believe they feel that while there may be no benefit (to the patient), it won’t harm the patient either. And that’s probably true, that homeopathic remedies (for example) won’t hurt anyone (or at least not too many people) directly, but there could be indirect harm, like the patient avoiding actual treatment, and at the very least, ripped off.

    The Food Babe is bad enough, and even if she believes in the quackery she sells, well, she’s not a doctor. A real doctor, who should know better (Yeah Mercola, you too) and does this anyway is just a scumbag. The public should be able to trust doctors, because doctors went to medical school to learn how to keep people healthy–this sort of thing is a huge violation of trust, too.

  18. Cobalt
    April 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    I cannot stand the whole Dr. Oz thing, or comprehend his popularity. The whole show screams “quack with gimmicks for sale”. Are people really so gullible? (Don’t answer that)

    I blame Oprah.

    • Ash
      April 21, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

      When Dr. Oz first appeared on the Oprah show, his advice was very reasonable. Exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, cut back on junk food, maintain a healthy blood pressure, all that jazz. Then all the money & fame really started going to his head, that’s when the “raspberry ketones” started.

      • demodocus' spouse
        April 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

        Raspberry Keytones are my favorite band 😉

    • Lena
      April 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

      A few years ago she was being interviewed (a brief morning show segment, I think), and the host asked, “Are you ready to apologize to America for Dr. Phil?” She laughed; he very clearly wasn’t joking.

      Oprah has a lot to answer for.

      • Roadstergal
        April 21, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

        Oz, Phil, The Secret, Jenny McCarthy…

        • Lena
          April 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

          Oh god, do NOT get me started on The Secret. *eyetwitch*

          • LibrarianSarah
            April 21, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

            It takes a very special type of entitlement to believe that you can get whatever you desire just by wishing for it hard enough.

          • Amazed
            April 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

            But it’s very convenient for those selling faith. If you don’t get it, that’s because you weren’t wishing for it hard enough!

          • Nick Sanders
            April 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

            I saw an excellent demotivational poster about the lady behind The Secret. It went something like “Claims the idea of God is nonsense; believes the universe grants wishes.”

          • LibrarianSarah
            April 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

            I am way to cynical to think that this woman actually believes the shit she is shoveling. She’s a con artist. An exceptionally talented conartist that made millions on the backs of the entitled and the desperate.

          • Roadstergal
            April 22, 2015 at 11:10 am #

            And the ugly other side – if bad things are happening to you, it’s your fault for not wishing hard enough.

    • Trixie
      April 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

      I remember when she did a full hour on the neighborhood where she owned one of her mansions burning to the ground during a forest fire. Oprah, you have insurance, and 6 other houses. No one gives a shit if you and neighbor Rob Lowe are going to be minorly inconvenienced. Or rather, your staff will be inconvenienced.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.