September 14, 2021 | The Philadelphia Inquirer
Pa. doctor offering free mask-exemption letter for parents faces possible discipline
From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
As school districts around the state decide how closely to follow Gov. Wolf’s mask mandate, a Pennsylvania doctor has distributed a free mask-exemption letter for parents — an act that medical experts described as an abuse of the doctor’s authority.
Citing “a dramatic increase in the dissemination of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disinformation by physicians,” the Federation of State Medical Boards warned in July that physicians who do so risk disciplinary action, including losing their licenses.
But it would be unusual for a physician to lose a license for distributing such an exemption form, as well as misinformation, said Dominic Sisti, director of Penn’s Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care.
Licensing bodies don’t usually take action against doctors who use their authority to spread misinformation or encourage people to flout government orders, he said.
“Pseudoscientific quacks have been with us from time immemorial,” he said.
But these boards should take action, he said.
“Having a physician in particular out there doing this is really damaging,” Sisti said. “Using their authority as a physician, using their title to go out and not only spread misinformation but enable people to do things that are against the public health, is really problematic.”