Will Dr. Oz face threats from medical organizations for recommendations and advice he gives viewers on television? Believe it or not, there are several who want to “bring Dr. Oz down,” and that’s what a third-year medical student is trying to do.
In a report published by Vox, University of Rochester medical student Benjamin Mazer is calling out the famous doctor for pushing certain health products and unproven medical advice onto an audience of people he’s never treated. With 4 million viewers watching The Dr. Oz Show a day, Mazer wants big medical associations to address “medical quackery” to doctors they license.
Dr. Oz is licensed by the Medical Society of the State of New York; Benjamin is requesting that the organization modify its standards “regulating the advice of famous physicians in the media.”
The medical student’s mission is summed up.
“Treat health advice on TV in the same vein as expert testimony, which already has established guidelines for truthfulness.”
Mazer launched a website this year that lists healthcare providers in the field who’ve worked with the famous doctor and TV personality. Patients who’ve seen him are also encouraged to write-up their story. It’s called Doctors In Oz. It’s mostly about the “false” advice on “unproven and sometimes dangerous medical therapies” Mazer and others claim Oz has given. Those wanting to share a story that doesn’t necessarily paint a nice picture of Dr. Mehmet Oz in a flattering light are encouraged to reveal it. The site is about collecting information from doctors who’ve witnessed patients being “misled by bogus medical information.”
The longstanding respected heart surgeon and famous doctor was recently questioned extensively by Congress. He was forced to explain his support for medical treatments that he recommends to a national audience on his show. Weight loss treatments and recommended diets were a big part of the session, which found the doctor having to defend himself.
As fans of Dr. Oz knows, he raves about the positive results of using various supplements, diets, and preventative therapies. Benjamin Mazer was asked by Voz why he wants to challenge the doctor on expertise he offers millions.
“… [Dr. Oz] would give advice that was really not great or it had no medical basis. It might sound harmless when you talk about things like herbal pills or supplements. But when the physicians’ advice conflicted with Oz, the patients would believe Oz.”
I’s not an easy hill to climb for Mazer discrediting Dr. Oz within the medical associations. Mazer says they know that “he falls through the gaps of regulations.”
According to the Rochester medical student, it all boils down to the doctor-patient relationship suffering. They tend to opt for herbal or natural supplements instead of prescribed medicine because Dr. Oz advised it on TV. He continues that Oz ignores science-based treatments that have proven to work, therefore “undermining” all of the work that’s been done the medical practice.
So far, however, the Medical Society for the State of New York and the American Medical Association aren’t changing their policies. While Mazer’s points may seem valid on going after Dr. Oz, it’s not enough for organizations to target Oz. Mazer has his opinion on why this is.
“Organized medicine is a slow beast. Also, some people might be underestimating the harms he’s doing. Many physicians and certainly much of the public often ask, ‘What’s the harm in an herbal pill or new diet?’ The indirect harms can be great.
“Organized medicine has an interest in protecting physicians as a profession. They want to maintain the prestige, trust, and income that physicians have historically received in the US. In order to protect the profession as a whole, organized medicine sometimes has to protect individual doctors, even if they are not acting in the best interest of patients. The AMA may fear that undermining Dr. Oz could undermine overall trust in doctors.”
[Image via The Trent]