5 Legitimately Insane Things Dr. Oz Actually Believes In
I'm not one to take pleasure in the downfall of others. Unless, of course, the person in question is a soulless sellout who has made millions of dollars by abusing his status and title while duping the public with a bunch of anti-science bullshit and snake oil. In that case, fuck that guy. And that guy is Mehmet Oz.
It seems like there is finally (hopefully) some type of karmic retribution coming his way, because the AMA (medicine, not Reddit) has decided to act on the countless pleas of med students and current doctors alike by creating ethical guidelines for physicians in the media, complete with disciplinary actions if the guidelines are violated. If this happens, Oz is going down faster than a Hunts Point hooker for $20 because of some of the unfounded bullshit he's promoted at every turn. Let's revisit a few of his most insane and inaccurate beliefs.
He Recommends Things No Ethical Surgeon Would
Most people probably had never even heard of green coffee extract until Dr. Oz started promoting it as a "magic" weight-loss supplement. That endorsement earned him a VIP invitation to a Senate hearing for deceptive advertising and more or less shitting all over the whole "first, do no harm" part of the Hippocratic Oath.
For anyone in the comments arguing it's not a big deal that Oz -- widely considered a top cardiothoracic surgeon -- promotes dishonest weight-loss miracles ...
He's correct in that it would be miraculous if this nonsense worked.
... or that his bad diet advice doesn't negate his ability as a heart surgeon, here's why you're wrong: Diet and exercise play an enormous role in heart surgery, both pre- and post-op, as well as the overall health and function of your heart. Heart doctors like Oz know this and typically recommend very specific dietary and exercise guidelines for their patients to follow. That being said, if one of the top cardio docs in the country is recommending diet advice in the form of a pill (which he loves to do), then even some smart people are bound to follow said advice solely based on the giver's credentials, no matter how bogus the science is behind it.
I think we need some quotes around the word "science" here.
But Dr. Oz doesn't let little things like science or facts stop him. He has a show to put on! Always the entertainer, he could hardly contain his excitement when he had a naturopathic "doctor" named Lindsey Duncan (who's since been sued for lying, go figure) on his show to help explain this "landmark scientific breakthrough." To an educated and logical person, the words "naturopathic" and "scientific" would be the first red flag, since the former has jack-shit to do with the latter. But educated people aren't The Dr. Oz Show's target demographic.
According to Pew research, 54 percent of people tuning in to daytime shows like his have high school diplomas or less education, and 51 percent of those tuning in make less than $30,000 a year. Therein lies the key to what makes Dr. Oz far more despicable than you thought; he knowingly participates in a show that markets itself to an under-educated audience that barely makes minimum wage, yet feels no moral or ethical responsibility to thoroughly fact-check the advice he preaches or the guests whom he helps shill worthless supplements. And since we're on the subject, let's talk about ...
He Endorses Naturopathic Medicine
Maybe you're asking yourself why an actual MD would take the advice of a naturopathic doctor, let alone have one on his show. Well, it's because Oz is a big supporter of naturopathy. So much so, in fact, that he even received an honorary doctorate from Bastyr University for embracing the six principles of naturopathic medicine. Oz, who happens to be a professor at the Department Of Surgery at Columbia University, acted like this was the greatest thing to happen since sliced gluten-free bread.
"You get a cure that doesn't work! And YOU get a cure that doesn't work! And ..."
On the surface, naturopathy sounds innocent enough. They believe in finding and treating the underlying causes of illness and disease. But those treatments usually involve a bunch of pseudo-science that sound more like part of a Scientology audit than a legitimate medical practice. Take, for example, chelation therapy, which naturopathic doctors use to remove metals from the bloodstream to treat cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autism, despite there being no evidence whatsoever that it does any of those things. It can, however, kill you. Technically, if you're dead you don't have any of that shit anymore, so it works in that respect.
Please don't do this.
There's a whole lot of anti-science behind the madness of naturopathy. Many naturopaths are staunch anti-vaxxers and believe in energy healing and massage therapy to treat and cure the body. They're also not super keen on surgery, so it makes total sense to honor someone who's currently the vice chair of a department of surgery as one of your own.
He Thinks Your Water Has Memories
Recently, a number of doctors wrote a scathing letter to Columbia University's dean of medicine demanding Oz be removed from his faculty position for promoting blatant bullshit that doesn't work, like homeopathy.
Homeopaths believe in using extremely diluted active ingredients to treat everything. They attribute the healing powers of their potions to something called "water memory," which sounds like the kind of shit someone's brain farts up after tripping on acid for a week at Burning Man.
Oh! I get it!
In reality, the "active ingredients" aren't super active at all. Take arnica, the miracle herb Oz recommends for pain management. Though no trial has ever produced evidence that this stuff works, Oz swears it does, which is exactly the kind of shit a snake-oil salesman would say.
Oz proudly admits his family frequently uses homeopathic remedies for all sorts of shit, even boasting that it definitely works despite what the science and evidence suggests, because clearly those two things are irrelevant when it comes to medicine. The doctor's stance on homeopathy is such that even renowned psychic debunker and all-around bullshit detector James "The Amazing" Randi decided to weigh in.
Columbia University is standing by their man. To be fair, Oz has a good history as a surgeon. Then again, it's probably not the best idea to have your chief cardio guy preaching the benefits of hawthorn berry to treat congestive heart disease. Unless, of course, that guy used to be the potions master at Hogwarts. Which, by the way, is every bit as likely as curing heart disease with a trip to Walgreens.
He Will Prescribe Endive To Cure Your Cancer
Oz loves magic and miracles, despite those not really being two words you want to hear out of a doctor's mouth if you expect to continue living. It's not just pills and potions that are magical miracles; sometimes, it's food. And Oz being the great and powerful wizard he is found a way to reduce ovarian cancer by up to 75 percent thanks to this special diet.
Big Roughage has this guy right in their pocket.
Back in September of 2011, Oz had Dr. Andrew Li of the Angiogenesis Foundation on his show to share a revolutionary diet that will greatly decrease the odds of ever getting ovarian cancer. If you're like me, you may be wondering what angiogenesis is and why it has its own foundation. And if you're really like me, you will go ahead and Google that shit, because this isn't a science class and I'm not a teacher.
Teaching is what YouTube is for, among other things.
The diet in question was researched by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's Science And Medical Advisory Board and found to be lacking significant evidence backing its claims. You can go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor, because I'm positive that news just shocked you.
At the end of the day, there's no sure-fire way to guarantee someone will or won't get cancer. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that a healthy diet and eating more veggies is basic common sense if you want to increase your odds of living a longer, disease-free life.
He Uses Reiki In The Operating Room
Dr Oz's wife is apparently some sort of Reiki master, so he's been big-time into it since forever. What is Reiki? According to Reiki.org, it's a technique for stress reduction that's administered by "laying on hands." It's supposed to tap into an unseen life energy that flows through all of us. You know the one.
Reiki has about as much of an impact on curing or healing diseases as reading this sentence does. But either Oz is super pussy-whipped, which leads to him making really bad medical decisions, or his wife really is a witch and he's under some crazy enchanted spell, because he has been incorporating Reiki into open-heart surgeries since long before he was on TV.
It's one thing if you believe in Reiki, black magic, or whatever voodoo you're into and practice it in your personal life because you find some kind of positive benefit from it. But I'm not sure the operating room is the place for seances and Ouija boards, unless it's an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Next thing you know, he'll be canceling surgeries because Mercury's in retrograde or his fourth chakra is clogged.
Nevertheless, because he is an actual medical doctor, an endorsement from Mehmet Oz can make pretty much anything seem credible to the untrained eye, which isn't at all lost on the people who practice this stuff. Name a crackpot diet fad or medical treatment, and you're almost sure to find a page like this to go along with it:
Don't worry if you can't read the text, it's all nonsense.
A paragraph full of the legitimate medical accomplishments of Dr. Oz followed by 17 more about some made up bullshit he's somehow found reason to endorse. The best Dr. Oz moment in that article, however, comes in the form of this quote:
His promotion of mysticism on what's supposed to be a medical show is an obvious matter of contention, and it's not just his use of Reiki. The Dr. Oz Show gives a platform to other magical beings, such as psychics and faith healers. One guest, Dr. Issam Nemeh, a former anesthesiologist turned faith healer, claimed to have used magic and acupuncture to cure a lung tumor and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
And to think all Yoda ever did with The Force was get Luke's X-Wing out of the swamp. Slacker.
For more from Cher, follow her on Twitter @thecherness.