Trump’s interview on Dr. Oz was everything I expected, an infomercial for Trump where Oz periodically reminded his audience of 4 million that he, Dr. Oz, is in fact a doctor who graduated medical school.
It could have been interesting. Oz could have mentioned that he is a Muslim and the child of Turkish immigrants. He could have addressed a myriad of health issues from gun violence to who Trump would pick as Surgeon General to what exactly is Trump’s health care plan? However, this was all about the ratings for both parties.
Here are my 14 biggest issues with the segment that showed why Oz practiced everything but medicine:
1. Oz sets the ground rules of no talking about Clinton then lets Trump break it. I counted four times.
I mean really. At one point Oz even allows the audience time to laugh so it can sink in.
2. He lets Trump get off claiming that waving his arms while speaking and golf are exercise
Yes, as a cardiothoracic surgeon Oz accepts hand waving and golf as exercise. I’m waiting breathlessly for Oz to introduce a segment next week, “Arm waving for belly fat.
3. He lets Trump avoid the “How much do you sleep a night” question. Twice.
Sleep is very important. Oz has dedicated many segments to it. If Oz actually cared he’d bring it up.
4. Oz mentions the low PSA, but there is no follow-up
Trump’s PSA is abnormally low for his age. The reason could be medication to prevent hair loss, prostatectomy, or a low testosterone. We know the testosterone answer, but a good doctor would have followed up and double checked about the other causes.
5. Trump mentions he went to his doctor last week for testing. Oz doesn’t ask why.
Trump already told us in December that he is the healthiest human on the planet. Why more testing? Were his labs not current? Had Bornstein not seen him for ages and just quickly wrote the letter with Trump thinking no one would actually follow-up? Why does a man who claims he’s perfectly healthy need to go back to the doctor in less than a year? Why doesn’t Oz ask?
6. Oz asks Trump to share his medical records. Trump shares a letter with barely more information than his last one.
Oz scans the pages and proclaims, “pretty comprehensive.”
Trump actually gives Oz two pages and one would assume that there are two pages of health information, but one page is Bornstein’s medical appointment letter to Lenox Hill (see below).
The medical letter isn’t comprehensive. It’s barely longer than his last one, but now Trump’s short letter appears as if it’s two pages and has the Dr. Oz seal of approval as “pretty comprehensive.”
Well played gentlemen.
7. Oz didn’t ask why Trump had an echocardiogram?
That’s an ultrasound of the heart. If Trump is as healthy as he claims it wasn’t needed. An echocardiogram is only ordered to work up symptoms or concerns about heart health. If it wasn’t needed Oz could have used this opportunity to speak about the burden of unnecessary testing.
8. Oz didn’t ask why Trump had his testosterone level tested?
Only ordered for symptoms, unless of course Trump or his doctor read my post wondering if his PSA was low due to low testosterone? Oz should have said, “What symptoms led you to have your testosterone tested?” And again this could have been a discussion about unnecessary testing if indeed Trump had no symptoms to prompt the testing.
9. He lets Trump advertise his supposedly wonderful temperament.
That’s right. A Muslim doctor who is the child of immigrants did not ask Trump about his attitude towards Muslims or immigrants. He let the racism go. The birtherism. All of these things speak to temperament. You can say commenting on temperament isn’t a doctor’s job, but normalization of racism and bigotry is offensive. I expect more of a doctor. Saying nothing is to me a seal of approval.
10. Oz calls women “the chief health officer of the family.”
Yes, we little women need a real sounding job around the house so we can feel important.
Oz often uses this line and it offends me greatly. It’s how he gets to act like he’s a responsible physician about the flu vaccine (I believe some of the episodes where he gets a flu shot are sponsored by Walgreens), but keeps his anti vaccine street cred because his wife “The chief medical officer” doesn’t want their children vaccinated. Apparently he’s Mr. Oz at home. So his kids are pure, you know? Brilliant strategy.
So yes, the cardiothoracic surgeon with at least 11 or 12 years of medical training let’s his non medical wife (reiki is magic, not medicine) make the health decisions in his family.
11. Oz asks Trump about birth control, he gets a word salad and lets it stand.
Trump: I think what we have in birth control is, you know, when you have to get a prescription, that’s a pretty tough something to climb. And I would say it should not be a prescription. It should not be done by prescription. You have women that just aren’t in a position to go get a prescription. And more and more people are coming out and saying that, but I am not in favor of prescription for birth control.
Trump means, I guess, that the birth control pill should be over the counter. I had to read it a few times to get that and I’m an OB/GYN. The “pretty tough something to climb” really threw me. No discussion about how OTC contraception could raise the price or the fact that IUDs, depoprovera, and Implanon – the most effective forms of contraception – are not OTC. One also cannot get a tubal ligation or a vasectomy at Walgreens. OTC birth control is fine safety wise and may help some women, but it’s not “the answer.” Maybe Oz doesn’t know there are other forms of birth control or maybe he just doesn’t care. He just needs to tick the box that he mentioned birth control.
12. Abortion gets two lines.
Speaking of ticking boxes!
Oz: What is your stand on abortion today?
Trump: I am pro-life.
I guess that’s all we need to know? Will women be punished for abortions? If a woman is dying from sepsis can she get one? If a fetus has holoprosencephaly and is a cylcops can a termination happen? Will there be tribunals? Or will he keep his pro life views to himself?
Abortion is of course not an important medical subject at all or pertinent to the election, so why discuss it further?
I bet those 7 words is the only time Oz has mentioned abortion on air and it will probably be the only time he ever mentions it. Yes, his viewership is largely women. Obviously, reproductive health care doesn’t matter to the “chief health officers” at home.
13. Zika isn’t mentioned.
Right. Clearly not a health crisis of any kind. Also, not related in any way to birth control or abortion. Check.
14. Oz doesn’t ask Trump how he plans to expand Medicaid
In response to Oz about people who can’t afford health plans under Obamacare Trump says, “We have to go and help them through the Medicaid system. We have to help them publicly. We’re going to have to do it. Nobody wants to see people — and it’s totally unfair — a lot of people said oh, gee that’s not the thing to say. I said, well you know what? If I can’t say that, I’m not running for office. There are people who say everybody should have a great, wonderful, private plan, and if you can’t afford that, and there is a percentage, a fairly large percentage that can’t afford it, then those people don’t get taken care of. That’s wrong. We’re going to take care of that through the Medicaid system.”
Ok, so how would this Medicaid expansion work? You have the mic, fill us in.
Nah, too much to ask.
So that’s it. Good advertising and not much medicine.
I guess that sums up just about any episode of Dr. Oz.