Doctors Behaving Badly

In response to an article in the NY Times, May 2, 2006
For Science's Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap

It is no wonder M.D./Ph.D. researchers find themselves in a credibility gap. We have put them on a pedestal for far too long, creating an elitist class which considers themselves entitled to special entitlements and protection from ethical constraints.

For far too long, the American public has been worshipping at the feet of those who practice science and medicine, naively assuming men and women who gravitate toward the healing arts are somehow exempt from human flaws that tempt them to cut corners or exploit others for profit, career advancement and fame. It has been a costly mistake to allow scientists and doctors to police themselves because we have based our entire health care system on a collective trust they are always telling the truth.

Transparency, accountability and justice are three values which will help keep the scientific research process and those who operate it truthful. The public should have full access to all scientific data and analysis used to proclaim a medical intervention is safe and effective for human use. Those who accept responsibility for proclaiming a medical intervention safe and effective should be held accountable if they are not truthful. And those who are harmed by a medical intervention which has been falsely proclaimed to be safe and effective should be able to access the civil court system to seek justice.

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