Letter to the editor: Practicing medicine without a license

Frank Gutmann

As a physician with a master’s in public health, I can say with authority that one of the most important aspects of the practice of medicine is the prevention of disease rather than just trying to cure or mitigate disease.

It strikes me that when attorneys and nonphysician lawmakers take it upon themselves to make decisions that impact the prevention of disease they are clearly out of bounds and practicing medicine without a license. We need to reserve medical conclusions and decisions, derived from the scientific examination of the facts, to the finest medical experts we can identify, such as Anthony Fauci. We need to look to experts who know that facts and truths are processes and not entities and who optimize evidence over eminence.

Moreover, as pointed out by Paul Krugman in a recent New York Times editorial titled “‘Freedom,’ Florida and the Delta Variant Disaster,” freedom is easily confused with privilege, as is the case with those interfering with mandates requiring masks, social distancing and vaccinations to optimally prevent the spread of disease. These are some of the individual rights we need to concede for the benefits of living in a democratic society. The common good needs to take precedence over individual rights, concerns and selfishness when public health comes into play. Freedom of speech does not include falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, and such behavior is not a constitutional right.

Let’s get real and leave the practice of medicine to those specially trained, educated and qualified to prevent disease to make the best possible decisions and policies for the moment.

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