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Doctors, Voicing Concerns, And Fear Of Retaliation

Shouldn’t it be possible to voice a concern about a medical treatment, procedure, or claim without the fear of retaliation? If the claims are backed by science, then simply addressing my concerns would be enough.

Fear of retaliation silences discussion. Fear of retaliation makes it difficult to do the “right thing” when the public or an individual patient is at risk.

This incidence involves a British plastic surgeon threatened with libel action by the ‘Boob Job’ cream’s manufacturer after she voiced concerns/doubts of its effectiveness. Sense About Science has a great summary of the entire affair: ”Plastic surgeon threatened for comment on ‘Boob Job’ cream.”

An excerpt:

Dr. Dalia Nield of The London Clinic was quoted in an article in the Daily Mail on 1st October 2010 saying that it was “highly unlikely” the “Boob Job” cream would increase a woman’s breast size. The manufacturer, Rodial Limited had claimed that the cream, reported to be a favourite of Scarlett Johansson, can increase breast size by 2.5 cm. Dr. Nield said the company had not provided a full analysis of tests on the cream and that if its claims that fat cells moved around the body were true it could be potentially dangerous. Rodial Limited has threatened Dr. Nield with libel action.

Dr. Nield stands by her comments:

Dr. Dalia Nield said: “As a surgeon I am well aware of the necessity for claims on medical products to be based upon rigorous scientific testing, as well as the possible dangers which can result from treatments. It is my duty to speak out when products making these claims are not backed up by evidence. The safety and health of people could be at risk if I cannot do this.”

Good for you, Dr. Nield! I agree with you and love this comment:

“I want scientific proof. Apply to only one boob, then a side-by-side comparison after 56 days.”   – steve, usa, 1/10/2010 0:36

I was alerted to this issue by a couple of tweets:

@mariawolters: @rlbates please blog this if you can RT @DrEvanHarris: Libel threat to Doc w/ concerns abt  “Boob job” cream! http://bit.ly/a4bM5U

@baapsmedia: @beachbumbeauty @cosmetic_candy @rlbates Pls RT 2help defend medical scrutiny on unsubstantiated claims: http://tinyurl.com/37u6wal

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*


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