Should Misinformation Be Treated As Medical Malpractice?

The age of COVID has changed the world. Misinformation runs rampant, even in circles otherwise considered intelligent. Conspiracy theories range from wild to wild, with the latter even suggesting everyone who received a vaccine will be dead in three years. Although this kind of fake news is becoming so much more common, even trusted doctors and physicians have been known to share it. Should we hold them liable in civil court?

The issue isn’t that a majority of doctors are selling this misinformation. It’s that the minority doing so are very loud. Considering most Americans trust medical professionals, this is a big problem.

According to the Federation of State Medical Boards said, “Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards. Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not.”

Unfortunately only 17 percent of those boards are actually taking such action.

A report released jointly by the de Beaumont Foundation and No License for Disinformation describes what individuals might do to hold physicians accountable for the spread of misinformation.

Of course, even if state boards choose to look the other way when a doctor suggests that immunization is dangerous or unneeded, individuals can still build a lawsuit — especially if choices based on doctor’s advice resulted in dangerous COVID symptoms or the death of a loved one. 

Not sure if you have a case? Consult a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer for expert advice. In the meantime, be sure to collect all relevant bills and records. Do you suffer from Long COVID symptoms? These can persist for months or result in chronic symptoms that come and go. Be sure to write about these symptoms in a journal. How did you feel? What symptoms did you experience? Document your experiences for your lawyer.

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