How Becoming A Partisan Weapon Will Destroy Medicine
In the past year, it seems politics will leave no rock unturned. Every aspect of our lives is becoming politicized. The NBA. The NFL. Nike. Thanksgiving. Now medicine.
This is even more dangerous than it first appears. Recently, an online video by ER doctors Daniel Erickson and Artin Massihi went viral. They expressed views that differed from the presiding media narrative on COVID-19.
Swiftly, the video was censored by YouTube, and their own professional organizations, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), released a bizarrely aggressive statement accusing the doctors of financial conflicts of interest without any supporting evidence.
I saw truth in both sides’ scientific positions, but this statement was very strange from a medical professional organization, especially the personal accusation. I’m not aware of any time in modern medical history this has happened.
As a legislator, it smelled of politics. As a physician, it didn’t seem right for a professional society to accuse board-certified physicians of expressing their opinion for financial gain without any evidence whatsoever.
If ACEP and AAEM would have left things within the scientific realm, I wouldn’t have thought much of it. But they went further. Why? ACEP and AAEM were trying to personally discredit these physicians. And they did so by conjecture.
Our country is in trouble. Mutually exclusive worldviews now hinder the quest for scientific truth. The accelerated politicization of medicine has me more concerned than ever.
Political takeovers have already occurred in other medical societies. Not surprisingly, the first big split was within the OB-GYN specialty over abortion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) first moved to the left by openly supporting abortion, and in 1973 the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs (AAPLOG) was born. Because of ACOG’s increasingly aggressive support of abortion, many pro-life physicians have left the organization. ACOG and AAPLOG cut ties in 2013.
The pediatric medical organizations have undergone a similar split, with transgenderism at the center of debate. The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has been the target of many attacks from the left due to their position statements on sexuality and transgenderism. The ACP has been labeled an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2017, as the politics continued rile the medical world, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) suddenly flipped on their position on parental notification for abortion. The AAP is now an LGBTQ lifestyle advocacy group.
My local medical society succumbed to the same political polarization in early 2019 when they voted to endorse a radical pro-abortion bill. As I sat at the table during the debate, a few of us argued that the medical society should stay away from this legislation, and that we should preserve our uniqueness to contribute to society purely from a medical perspective, not a political one.
The council ignored this warning, and voted for the endorsement. After this, I knew I could not continue paying dues to a society that endorsed abortion, so I publicly renounced membership.
Among the many things I love about practicing medicine is that all my patients have the same condition: the human condition. My patients aren’t Republicans or Democrats. They’re just people needing help.
Our medical societies used to be fairly politically neutral, and stuck to pure medicine. Now as partisan groups, they’ve put medical credibility into a state of crisis: a crisis of legitimacy. If doctors want to use their medical knowledge to further propagate their worldview, they should just go work on a political campaign.
My greatest fear as I observe the leftist takeover of medicine is dehumanization. Leftist ethicists are advocating for human genetic engineering without restrictions all in the name of “progress.” This technology is flirting with the field of eugenics, leading us deeper down the road to dehumanization of the human person.
Remember the controversial 2016 Super Bowl ad that “humanized” the fetus? Just a few months prior, the Scientific American published an article entitled, “The Truth About Fetal Tissue Research.” The article was fraught with subtle politicized language, labelling groups “anti-abortion” instead of their “pro-life” identity as well as falsely claiming abortion constitutes only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services.
It also mentioned a researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill who tried to humanize a mouse for fetal tissue research, stating “Using fetal tissue is not an easy choice, but so far there is no better choice.” No better choice than to use humans who were purposefully killed in the name of “science.” Let that sink in.
Medicine is unraveling, and the crisis of legitimacy in the field has begun. American doctors are not immune to this phenomenon, as political worldview clearly now trumps science. Somehow leftist scientists believe they own the realm of scientific fact. They intend to advance their worldview, and their science has devolved into scientism. After all, the scientific method is about coming to a conclusion, not starting with one.
Many doctors and scientists simply capitulate. Those who don’t? Well, we just saw what happened to Drs. Erickson and Massihi. When you speak truth to power in a time of unmitigated tyranny, power will silence and slander you.
This isn’t the first time, either. Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist, was recently removed from the program of a transgender conference due to threats of violence and outrage posturing from the other speakers. Open debate is the enemy of dogma.
It’s hard to say which is the greater risk to the practice of medicine: doctors’ influence over policy, or over their patients. Doctors with a leftist ideology have been known to readily recommend sex-change hormones to young children. I know physicians who have seen some of these children whose parents are seeking a third or even fourth opinion. When they are seen by a doctor with a conservative worldview, they receive a different diagnosis and are presented with alternatives to pre-pubescent hormone treatment.
Political wars are won with the battle over education. The left took over journalism schools decades ago, and we can all plainly see the media’s bias today. They have successfully infected medical schools as well.
I took the Hippocratic Oath as a medical student. In its original form, this oath explicitly forbids the practices of abortion and euthanasia. Most medical schools now utilize the ever-changing Geneva Convention instead.
We have a crisis of legitimacy in modern medicine. Doctors’ opinions now come with a large dose of worldview. Our nation’s leaders would do well to understand that. Our civilization depends on it.
Gregg Schmedes, MD, serves in the New Mexico House of Representatives, representing District 22. He resides in Tijeras, New Mexico with his wife and six children.