Over 200 years ago, the founding fathers of our country recognized freedom of speech as a guiding principle and a right of all U.S. citizens. Since the Bill of Rights was passed in 1791, people have protested wars, laws, and restrictions to freedom. It took over 100 years, but women and African-Americans were finally recognized as equal to white men based on these principles. Whether in print, on TV or radio, on the internet, or yelling on a street corner, the right to express an opinion should never be silenced.
But apparently, the American Medical Association feels differently. They would like to restrict medical doctors from participating in “quackery.” The MD’s have rallied against other healthcare providers for a hundred years. Targets have included DO’s, chiropractors, and homeopathic physicians. Competition for medical doctors arose because of toxic therapies, surgeries, and procedures. The founding father of osteopathic medicine wrote extensively on the body’s inherent ability to heal itself when you removed the offending agent. Traditional doctors are against alternative medicine and they will fight tooth and nail to protect their turf. We are talking about trillions of dollars after all.
The recent big fish was none other than Dr. Mehmet Oz. He was called before Congress to defend some of his recommendations as seen on his TV show and in print. To be candid, I disagree with plenty of Oz’s endorsements, while also recognizing his overall value. Dr. Oz is offering viewers a choice for their medical care and opening the eyes of millions to natural therapies. His colleagues in New York want his staff privileges to be stripped. Apparently, vitamins and nutrition are not popular in the doctor’s lounge.
As a board certified cardiologist who runs a holistic practice, the ability and right to help patients outside of the guidelines must be maintained. Should all cancer patients be coerced to undergo chemotherapy or radiation if it is against their will? Should statin drugs be mandatory? Do we really want to live in a country where there is only one medical opinion and that opinion is crafted by pharmaceutical companies and doctors on its payroll? It is clear that patients deserve a choice. A recent study found cardiologists only provide full informed consent 3% of the time. When patients were fully informed, most of the time they refused the procedure. Chemotherapy is rarely beneficial for most cancer patients. Do you think the oncologists are fully informing patients?
Recently, bioethicist Art Caplan urged that any doctor who questions the safety or necessity of the U.S. vaccine program should have their license revoked. Essentially, agree with 69 doses of 16 vaccines and however many more are coming down the pike. If you don’t agree, you will lose your license. These silencing tactics remind me of foreign totalitarian regimes circa 1940, not the good old Stars and Stripes. Caplan, a PhD ethicist who is also Jewish, should know better.
Is this the kind of country we would like to live in? What if doctors, researchers, and the public had not questioned the safety of smoking, leaded gas, or pesticides like DDT? The word doctor comes from the Latin root meaning “to teach.” As physicians, we need to provide full informed consent to patients along with the risk and benefits of all procedures and pharmaceuticals. Hundreds of healthcare providers are standing up for healthcare freedom of choice. When patients are not comfortable with conventional options, alternatives must be offered. Anything less would be un-American.
About the Author
Dr. Jack Wolfson is the director of Wolfson Integrative Cardiology  in Arizona. He is board certified in cardiology and a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC). He is author of the book:
THE PALEO CARDIOLOGIST : THE NATURAL WAY TO HEART HEALTH