Stop using that word!
Not surprisingly, there are a few letters to the press on the recent announcement on aesthetic 'medicine'. What angry doc does find surprising, however, is this letter from the SMA:
SMA lauds ministry's clarification, criticises ST
I REFER to the spate of articles on aesthetic medicine that has been published in The Straits Times since March 19.
The Singapore Medical Association (SMA) welcomes the clarification made by the Minister for Health last Sunday on the position of the Government on this matter, in particular, the emphasis on self-regulation of aesthetic practices by professional bodies.
We are also heartened by the circular issued by the Director of Medical Services to all medical practitioners last Monday which spelt out the principles of safeguarding medical standards in Singapore as well as the press release, 'MOH clarifies position on aesthetic medicine', dated the same day.
The vast majority of doctors in Singapore, including those that provide aesthetic services, are ethical professionals who earn an honest day's living by caring for their patients. Even if some of the mentioned aesthetic practices are not grounded in the most robust body of scientific evidence, the use of the term 'snake oil' is insensitive to many in the medical profession.
Repeated use of this term by The Straits Times, notwithstanding that it was, as we understand it, uttered on a single occasion by a person of authority, is hurtful to doctors and regrettable. It does little to raise the standard of discussions on this difficult issue of regulating aesthetic practices.
Doctors understand that with great powers and trust vested in them by the public, come greater responsibility and accountability. Likewise, we hope that the local media will exercise better discretion going forward so that readers are better served with more constructive reporting.
Dr Raymond Chua
48th SMA Council
EDITOR'S NOTE: We reported accurately the quote in question and used it whenever it was relevant to the stories we ran. We fail to see how being factual in our reporting can lower the level of discussion on this issue. That must depend on the quality of the arguments used by doctors, which is entirely in the hands of the profession.
Dr Chua calls it "aesthetic practices [that] are not grounded in the most robust body of scientific evidence", angry doc calls it unproven therapy. To angry doc's mind, and no doubt to those of many of his readers, unproven therapy that is touted to be able to deliver more than what it can do *is* 'snake oil'.
More importantly, Dr Chua does not challenge the "person of authority" who "uttered [the term] on a single occasion", nor does he provide any justification for why he thinks that the term had been wrongly applied, but expects the press to stop using that term simply because it is "hurtful".
angry doc thinks it's laughable that Dr Chua expects the press to be 'sensitive' to doctors. angry doc thinks that the press doesn't owe it to us to be 'sensitive', but to be honest. angry doc thinks that doctors owe it to their patients to be honest too.
Unless the press had lied about the facts presented in their report, and unless he can provide evidence that that is the case, angry doc thinks it is disingenuous on that part of Dr Chua to try to blame the recent fiasco facing doctors on unconstructive reporting on the part of the press: if you want them to shut up, prove that what you are selling is not snake oil, or just stop selling it.