Bucks Montgomery Physician Fall 2020 - 12
15. I am not advocating for or against the use of HCQ in
Covid. My main point is that:
16. PHYSICIANS, NOT POLITICIANS, NOT THE
MEDIA, SHOULD BE THE ONES MAKING
DECISIONS AS TO WHETHER TO USE
THIS MEDICATION IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL
The second issue to raise is censorship. The video of
the recent AFD summit was removed by Twitter and
other social media.
17. I strongly disagree with the statements made by
America's Frontline Doctors (AFD) which promote
the use of HCQ as a cure for Covid, with the idea that
masks are no longer needed. I think these statements
are dangerous to the general public, for a variety of
They create an unrealistic expectation that reality is not
likely to meet.
They may cause people to abandon other precautions
such as wearing masks and social distancing. This puts
all of us at increased risk.
They may make it harder for people using the drug for
autoimmune diseases to obtain it, due to the need for
prior authorizations. I have a patient with Sjogren's
whose insurer just denied it because it is not FDA
approved for Sjogren's, even though she has been on
the drug for 7 years already with good results.
Although HCQ has a good safety profile, the risks of
adverse effects are not zero.
18. The question is then raised as to whether these
statements should have been removed from social
media, i.e. censored.
19. I think that people should have the freedom to say
what they want, even if it is an unpopular opinion.
10 BUCKS/MONTGOMERY PHYSICIAN
20. I also think that people should not be allowed to make
public statements that are dangerous or untrue, or
that promote violence or hatred. Admittedly, people
will have different opinions on what constitutes a
dangerous, untrue, violent, or hateful statement.
21. Statements 19 and 20 are admittedly contradictory. As
soon as we put a limit on what people can say, we are
allowing for censorship in some form.
22. Censorship itself is dangerous and should not be
taken lightly in a free society. In terms of censorship,
we must weigh the risks of people being allowed
to state their opinions vs the risk of harm to the
general public because of those opinions. Where we
draw the line on this and who gets to decide are very
23. Freedom of speech through the First Amendment
applies to government not restricting speech. It does
not apply to private organizations such as Twitter, etc.
People must recognize that what they say may have
consequences in the private sector.
24. There is a dichotomy in that allowing for unlimited
free speech where people can say whatever they want,
is dangerous (the classic example is yelling "fire" in a
crowded movie theater) and yet limiting free speech
is also dangerous. There need to be some restrictions,
but this is a very slippery slope.
25. I do not have the answer to the censorship issue. It
must be determined on a case by case basis. In this
particular case, although I strongly disagree with the
statements made by AFD, I think the censorship
here is worse. I think the public would have been
better served had Twitter, etc. not removed the
video, and instead attached a separate disclaimer to
it, so that people could judge for themselves. This
would have allowed others to comment on the video
and offer dissenting opinions on what was said.
Some of you will agree and some will disagree
with my thoughts. These issues are very difficult
and are only resolvable through dialogue, common
sense and compromise. I have grave concerns
about our ability to reconcile these differences
given the polarized political environment that exists
today. Hopefully, I am wrong in that regard.
Bucks Montgomery Physician Fall 2020
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