What responsibility do celebrity doctors such as Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil have to the well-being of their viewing public? The recent news that a lawsuit was filed against Dr. Oz for giving advice on his show that caused 3rd degree burns of a viewer, bring the spotlight once again on the questionable direction these doctors lead their viewers.
With many Americans suffer with a lack of medical coverage, the ratings of popular shows like Dr. Oz’s are soaring, and the data seem to suggest people are much more inclined to follow advice given on these programs vs. their own doctor’s advice.
A licensed physician takes an oath to “do no harm” when treating their patients, but that goes hand in hand with a relationship with the patient. Some legal experts believe that in the case with Dr. Oz, the fact he had no relationship with the “patient” relieves him of any liability in the case.
The popularity of self-help and natural or organic methods of treating different medical conditions causes many readers and viewers of this advice to become overwhelmed with information. When a patient does not have medical coverage, they are more likely to turn to natural methods that may allow them to treat themselves, even though they have may not actually have the condition or disease.
Along with advice given in your doctor’s office or a prescription comes a litany of precautions and directions on proper use or application. Unfortunately, those precautions rarely are specified or in detail with celebrity doctor advice.
In the case of the man who is suing Dr. Oz, he suffers with diabetic neuropathy and was not aware the advice given was not advisable to use with his condition.
However, the case is still ongoing and the outcome is not clear on the legal liability celebrity doctors will face in given what amounts to unsolicited advice.