NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The battle over COVID-19 misinformation is heating up. The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners is reviewing a September statement to physicians notifying them that COVID misinformation could lead to disciplinary actions.
Under the September notice, doctors who generate or spread COVID misinformation are risking suspension or revocation of their medical license.
The medical board said physicians, “have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health.”
“I think it’s very important that, as physicians, we’re held to a high standard, because what we do matters especially during a pandemic,” Dr. Katrina Green, a Nashville emergency physician said.
While some doctors agree with the stand against medical misinformation, leading Tennessee politicians do not. During October’s special session, GOP lawmakers led a ban against disciplining doctors who prescribe, recommend, or use treatments not approved for COVID.
“When you insert politics into science and medicine you are slowing down progress, and bureaucracy is a big machine that moves at a very slow pace,” Green said.
Special rules regarding COVID policies from the medical board must now be approved by the General Assembly.
Doctors say this issue comes down to trust.
“We need to be able to ensure that our profession is trusted and that the information that we are providing is accurate,” Green said.
Physicians are also asking the board to take their oath and the oath of doctors across the state,“to do no harm,” seriously.
“There are going to be outliers out there, there will be physicians who will say things that go against the grain,” Green said. “What I will tell people is when you have the majority the vast majority of doctors and scientist and public health officials telling you the vaccine are safe and effective and that ivermectin does not work to treat a virus, listen to the majority.”