In Oz We Trust?

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11:  Dr. Mehmet Oz arrives at  the Pinoy Relief Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 20
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Dr. Mehmet Oz arrives at the Pinoy Relief Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

The Hippocratic Oath (Greek: ὅρκος horkos) is an oath historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. It requires a new physician to swear, upon a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards.


Dear Dr. Oz,

You may remember me as I previously reached out to you with a group of national mental health advocates when your name was making headlines for television antics that offended your viewers. I asked for you to engage in a dialogue and to be our hero in shedding light on the use of language in the media around mental health issues. I was calling for your support and attention to our cause of educated awareness at The Flawless Foundation. That was almost two years ago, and here we are again.

Today, people are calling for your job.

It seems some of your viewers and colleagues have lost their trust in your name, your show and, above all else, your word. In recent headlines, medical professionals have sent a letter to Columbia University questioning the validity of your advice and product endorsements. They are wondering how you could maintain an academic position at such a prestigious institution.

As I read article after article, I can't help but think that perhaps your TV persona has clouded your judgment and compromised the Hippocratic Oath that is sacred and binding to those in the field of medicine. Have TV ratings replaced your promise to heal those who seek your help?

The Hippocratic Oath reads, "Warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug." When I watch your show -- and especially the episode that I wrote about deeming patients with mental health challenges "Normal or Nuts" -- the oath becomes the last thing that comes to mind.

There is a lack of trust when people hear your name. I understand that your have two roles to satisfy, a celebrity figure and a medical professional, which I imagine can be difficult to juggle. You, however, are also sworn to two more covenants: heal with good intention and do no harm. And as I put simply in this video reflection, shouldn't we all just try to live with integrity and do no harm?

I wonder what you would think if you just watched your show strictly as a medical professional who has sworn to the Hippocratic Oath. Do you think you are honoring your lifelong promise? We all struggle with issues of right and wrong. But maybe it is time to look at the challenges of balancing the sacred profession of practicing medicine with media and fame.

You often talk about people being their best and healthiest selves. The offer I wrote to you two years ago still stands. Let's talk, let's heal, and let's go viral with a message of pure intention to be our best selves.

Will you be the hero and doctor you swore to be?