Good afternoon. My name is William Dougherty.
In October, a doctor, licensed by this board, testified to the Anchorage Assembly that the risk of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of Covid far outweighs the benefits of wearing one.
That was a doctor actively engaged in undermining public health.
Earlier this month, a different doctor told a large public gathering that Covid vaccinations do not prevent infection.
That also was a doctor engaged in undermining public health.
I’m here to ask the medical board to do a simple thing: Stop a handful of irresponsible Alaska doctors from spreading dangerous misinformation in the guise of medical fact during a pandemic that has killed more than 800 Alaskans.
You could stop this misconduct overnight. Just issue a statement that says:
Doctors who disseminate false, misleading or dangerous medical information to the public will be sanctioned.
Of course, you have to mean it.
If you choose silence, the disinformation will only get worse. The public, which you are here to protect, won’t know whether vaccines are effective or dangerous, whether masks and social distancing are helpful or pointless, whether best standard-of-care treatments are effective or acts of malpractice.
I wonder if you appreciate the damage already done to the public’s trust in doctors, hospitals and medical expertise? Just this morning the director of the National Institutes of Health warned that we have an epidemic of misinformation fueling a dangerous distrust of science.
I agree. This is an unprecedented crisis.
Would you allow a doctor to give a patient a drug that will hurt them? If not, why would you allow a doctor to give the public information that increases their risk of illness, even death? Why would you let a few doctors discredit, and discourage patients from seeking, the best standard of care and the doctors who provide it?
This is not an issue of free speech. Would you have nothing to say to a doctor who told a group of teenagers that an overdose of ------ is an effective way to commit suicide? Would you do nothing until a survivor filed a formal complaint against the doctor?
You have a responsibility to try to prevent harm to the public, not to wait until the dead and maimed can be counted.
You have the authority to address this. Will you use that authority to protect the public health?
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