Saying that Dr. Oz “has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops,” a group of physicians sent a letter to Columbia University this week saying the school should promptly dismiss him.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is famous thanks to his daytime talk show and his own magazine, and accomplished due to a career as a heart surgeon and his position as vice chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
But he ran afoul of science and Congress when he went on his show and recommended some questionable weight-loss products. He admitted during those Congressional hearings that the products he recommended weren’t exactly medically endorsed.
“Thus, Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both. Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz’s presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable,” the letter concludes, with the names of a list of doctors who feel the same.
Columbia University is standing by Dr. Oz and its “principle of academic freedom,” according to a statement made to Buzzfeed.
Ultimately, having Dr. Oz among its faculty isn’t really going to hurt the school. If it becomes a bigger problem, they will find a way to somehow move him out of his position of prominence.
But this is definitely a blow to Dr. Oz, whose credibility as a trusted medical voice was already thrown into question with that hearing. Now that other members of the medical community are expressing some huge reservations about his fitness as a professional, it opens the door to additional criticism and backlash. If this continues, it could be the destruction of Dr. Oz’s reputation one cut at a time.
A big part of Dr. Oz’s career is trust; trust from his viewing audience, from the faculty and students at Columbia, doctors at large and from his patients. It’s something that he should be working actively to earn anew. Without the support of his colleagues, he will quickly lose respect from other constituencies as well.