September 28, 2021
Washington State Medical Association Calls on Health Professions to Condemn COVID-19 Misinformation
SEATTLE (Sept. 27, 2021) - The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) is endorsing the Washington Medical Commission's recently adopted COVID-19 misinformation position statement and calls on all health care professions to condemn the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation that erode public trust in the medical profession and endanger patients.
"Any health care provider, whether a physician, dentist, naturopath, or nurse, whose treatment for their patients, whether for COVID-19 or another condition, is based on misinformation or disinformation are putting the public at risk," said Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, president-elect of the WSMA. "It is unethical, unprofessional, and dangerous.
"The public puts its trust in our opinions as health care professionals. As physicians, our patients put their lives in our hands. We cannot compromise this trust by touting treatment options that are scientifically unproven or shown to be ineffective and dangerous.
"The WSMA supports the stance on COVID-19 misinformation taken by the Washington Medical Commission, which oversees the licenses of MDs and physician assistants. Specifically, as the statement reads, 'treatment and recommendations regarding this disease that fall below the standard of care as established by medical experts, federal authorities, and legitimate medical research are potentially subject to disciplinary action.'
"We know that not all patients seek their care from a physician and that we are not their sole source of care or medical information. Therefore, we urge all health professions in Washington state and their licensing boards to adopt a similar statement and commit to disciplining their members who spread inaccurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine, or any vaccine, that has been scientifically proven to protect our patients and our communities from the spread of deadly disease.
"The WSMA supports evidence-based medicine, and we have strong policy around principles of medical ethics. Physicians and physician assistants are combatting COVID-19 misinformation every day. They are urging their patients to take appropriate measures to protect themselves and loved ones from illness by getting vaccinated and masking in public, and they strongly recommend against taking treatments for which there is no evidence or that could be harmful if used inappropriately."
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About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students across all specialties and practice types in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.