In addition to being the host of a TV show on which he routinely promotes all manner of fraudulent quackery, Dr. Oz is also the vice chairman of the surgery department at Columbia University Medical School. A group of doctors has written to Columbia demanding that he be removed from that position. Here’s the text of that letter:
Lee Goldman, M.D.
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine
Dear Dr. Goldman:
I am writing to you on behalf of myself and the undersigned colleagues below, all of whom are distinguished physicians.
We are surprised and dismayed that Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons would permit Dr. Mehmet Oz to occupy a faculty appointment, let alone a senior administrative position in the Department of Surgery.
As described here and here, as well as in other publications, Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops. Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.
Thus, Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgments [sic] about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both. Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz’s presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable.
On Friday, Oz defended himself.
“I bring the public information that will help them on their path to be their best selves,” Oz said in a statement, according to USA Today. The newspaper reported that the statement was released by a “Dr. Oz Show” representative. “We provide multiple points of view, including mine, which is offered without conflict of interest,” the statement continued. “That doesn’t sit well with certain agendas which distort the facts.”
You promote outright frauds like miracle weight-loss cures. You lie to people about treatments that have been proven to be ineffective. The school’s response is equally absurd:
Columbia University Medical Center spokesman Doug Levy wrote in a response to Miller and the others: “As I am sure you understand and appreciate, Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”
Miller responded to Levy that “freedoms end where patient safety begins, and Oz’s promotion of worthless products that might have side effects and that delay patients’ seeking safe and effective therapies threatens public safety.”
Exactly right. This has nothing to do with academic freedom. What he’s doing is a clear violation of the Hippocratic oath and is completely unethical. He should be removed from that position immediately.