Posted August 25, 2021
At the end of July, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) warned physicians and other healthcare professionals that spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on social media, online, and in the media could result in the loss of their medical licenses.
“Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not,” FSMB said. “They also 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.”
The FSMB is a nonprofit that represents all U.S. state medical boards.
As of yet, the FSMB has not made a formal declaration of what is “misinformation” or “disinformation” in its policy. As the ethics committee of the organization works to come up with these hard definitions, the organization is viewing misinformation as “sharing or distributing verifiably false information,” and disinformation as “sharing or distributing information that the distributor knows is false.”
Until a formal definition has been established, state and territorial medical boards may use various terms, including “professional misconduct” or “ethics violation”.
FSMB has said that any clinicians who create or spread vaccine misinformation or disinformation risk disciplinary action by state medical boards. This includes suspension or revocation of their medical license.
However, because of the lack of clarity on what is or is not misinformation, some doctors are continuing to raise their concerns about how the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CSC) are handling the situation.
For example, Dr. Dan Stock, MD was recorded at the Mt. Vernon School Board Meeting, where he discussed some of the false pretenses being distributed via the media on what the COVID-19 vaccine does and does not do.
This now viral video has spurred debates on what is and is not misinformation and if he should lose his license for seemingly diminishing faith in the CDC. Others are asking, if he’s speaking up, maybe he is not afraid to lose his license because there is truth to his argument.
For now, both media consumers and medical professionals alike must remain vigilant and cautious over their spreading of coronavirus-related information and what it consumes as truth.
If you are a medical professional who is at risk of losing your medical license after being accused of spreading misinformation, contact us. We will review the terms of your case.
Posted in COVID-19.