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Dr Oz Defended, and Attacked Again


There has appeared, in the New York Times, an opinion piece by Bill Gifford, titled “Dr Oz is no Wizard, but no Quack, Either.”  I didn’t know who Bill Gifford was, but since he has written a book (or maybe several) and gets published in the NYT,  I assume he’s more important than me.  As another “voice crying out in the wilderness” however, I have to disagree with Bill.  He does make short work of the recent British Medical Journal article about Dr Oz; it’s impossible to evaluate the article’s claims without reading specifically which eighty health claims or statements were “randomly” chosen for analysis.  As Bill says, “only nine” of the eighty claims were specifically disproven; the rest were just open to question.

Here are my three big issues with Dr Oz:

First, there is the issue of Dr Oz’s promotion of, for example, homeopathy and reiki.  We know, from scientific study, that both these therapies are worthless.  Dr Oz is lucky that they are harmless as well, because Heaven only knows how many people are assiduously attempting to use these therapies to better their health on the basis of his recommendations.

Second, there is the issue of his “partnerships”– or are these endorsement deals, a particularly odious way for a man who trades on his charisma, rather than his sports talent, to make a living?  Surely, if he is promoting “alternative” medicines or treatments by attaching his name to them, and is getting something out of the arrangement, he is committing health care fraud.

Third, there is the odd specter of a cardiovascular surgeon who spends most of his time in front of a TV camera talking.  Does he really think that he is better qualified than the other 10,000 family practicioners, internal medicine specialists, public health experts, nutritionists, and professors of sociology to give general health advice to random patients?  Would he allow any of these various and sundry other individuals who are trained in public health to practice cardiovascular surgery to make up for the time he doesn’t spend in the operating room or the laboratory?

After all, if he is so talented at providing health advice of a general nature to TV audiences, perhaps he should abandon his surgical practice and go full time on TV.  That’s all I’m suggesting.  While he’s at it, he should resign his position as assistant head of surgery and stop making skeptical patients wonder just how good of a surgeon (and supervisor of surgeons) he really is.  His continuing in this faculty position makes it look as if the average assistant chief of surgery can just phone it in and continue to collect his salary.

This is my basic objection to the way Dr Oz makes his living: he continues to hold down a supposedly serious job at an institution where people are trying to do serious work, while at the same time making money as an entertainer with no serious controls as to what he promotes on a supposedly serious topic.  He brings down shame on the institution that continues to carry him on its books as a supposedly serious-minded person.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 2015-07-28 16:53

    Sir i dont really care about dr oz but i applaud your article. I am desperately trying to get in contact with you because theres something i need to share with . I hope to get a respnse from you my home town is the S town .if that helps .

    Thank waiting to hear from you


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