Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

A Collision of Medical and Journalistic Ethics

This blog is written to bring transparency to all things medical. So it’s nice when endeavors undertaken in the academic realm translate to the ‘real’ world, and vice versa.Blog1

A recent essay I wrote for an online medical ethics journal provides a good example of the confluence.

The journal’s editor created a scenario (fictional) that was like catnip to me:

A doctor/blogger had branched out into occasional radio commentary. When a school shooting occurred in her town, one of her patients was a victim (she’s a pediatrician). She became obsessed with the tragedy, seeking answers to the unexplainable. When invited to opine about the motives of the shooter on local radio, it seemed appropriate. Who better to serve as an ‘expert’ on the situation? She was professionally and personally affected.

She was surprised, then, when reaction to her radio appearance was quite mixed. Many of course welcomed her comments, but others expressed skepticism that she could be fair-minded in her appraisal of the accused. Moreover, her professional station and media platform could easily sway public opinion.vmlogo2

Was it right for her to broadcast her opinions? Should she have speculated on the motives of the alleged shooter or waited for him to have a fair trial?

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Special thanks to editor Laura Blinkhorn, MD.

2 Comments

  1. Ginger Wilson

    I agree that the public trusts the words of a physician and holds them in great value. So physicians as well as everyone else should weigh carefully what they say to someone that is outside of their realm of expertise, especially if you are in a position that could sway the public’s thinking. Use the old adage think before you speak.

  2. Joe Marlin

    I concur with your comments. I think Dr. Garcia was not able to set a boundary between her reaction to one of her patients being shot and her wishing to suggest ways to prevent a repeated event. Being overwrought contributed to impairing her judgment in offering comments. Her wanting to help is commendable; her efforts to do so left much to be desired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2020 GlassHospital

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑