How woke broke medicine: public support for doctors has plunged by double digits


Public support for doctors and nurses has tanked in recent years, especially among conservatives, as the sector has been bashed for wokery in everything from masking to doling out puberty blockers to kids.

The share of Americans who rate doctors’ ethical standards highly has dropped from 77 percent at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to 62 percent at the end of 2022 — an unusually steep 15-point fall over two years, says Gallup.

Nurses — and even pharmacists — have also seen their approval ratings nosedive. They’re all still far ahead of other professions, such as lawyers, bankers, and accountants, but the decline is stark and worrying.

Discontent is especially acute among Republicans, and comes as ever-more parts of society are sucked into the culture wars that are making America a more divided and perhaps even less stable nation.

Public support for doctors and nurses has nosedived, as the sector has been bashed for everything from excessive masking to doling out puberty blockers to kids

Physicians are still far ahead of other professions, such as lawyers, bankers, and accountants, but the decline is stark and worrying

Physicians are still far ahead of other professions, such as lawyers, bankers, and accountants, but the decline is stark and worrying

Medicine has not been spared, with rows erupting over transgender care for children, the introduction of ‘woke’ oaths at medical schools, and masking, vaccines and other public health moves during the pandemic.

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis leads the charge against wokery in schools, but has also attacked mask mandates and vowed to probe ‘wrongdoing’ by the National Institutes of Health and other national health bodies.

Dr Stanley Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, said ‘inconsistencies’ in public health messaging in the pandemic and parents’ fury over trans care had roiled the sector.

‘These have combined to make the public less confident about the recommendations by medical experts,’ Dr Goldfarb told DailyMail.com.

‘Healthcare is in a crisis, driven by political ideology. The solution is an evidence-based approach and reliance on strong scientific principles in order to clarify what care serves patients best.’

For many, there were too many, overly strict COVID rules that were kept in place too long — particularly for schoolkids. Still, others complained when the Centers for Disease Control in 2021 said vaccinated people could take their masks off.

A large anti-vaccine protest in New York City over innoculation and mask mandates in October 2021

A large anti-vaccine protest in New York City over innoculation and mask mandates in October 2021

Poll

Has the medical profession bent too far to progressives?

  • Yes 165 votes
  • No 7 votes
  • Not sure 1 votes

The American Medical Association removed a bust of its founder Dr Nathan Davis over racism

The American Medical Association removed a bust of its founder Dr Nathan Davis over racism

Anthony Fauci, the White House’s former Chief Medical Advisor, became a bogeyman for conservatives, who questioned his handling of the pandemic and accused him of undermining then-president Donald Trump.

Offering surgery, puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors who identify as transgender, which has risen markedly this past decade, has also left some people angry with the medical profession, said Dr Goldfarb.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups say ‘gender-affirming care,’ as it is known, can spare trans kids from misery and even suicide. 

But some experts and parents warn of an ideologically-driven fad that leaves youngsters hurt, regretful and even mutilated.

Republicans across the country have sought to restrict procedures, especially among youngsters.

The DeSantis administration this week requested a trove of information on students who receive trans treatments at Florida universities, advancing its policy of questioning or scaling back treatment for trans people.

‘The approach by many medical societies has also created distress, particularly among parents who have seen their children exposed to the potential for drugs, and even surgical procedures that can do irreversible harm,’ said Dr Goldfarb.

Critics also slam the ‘woke’ oaths being rolled out at medical schools, including the new University of Minnesota mantra that sees freshmen pledge to tackle white supremacy and embrace indigenous medicine.

The drop in approval of nurses and doctors is especially acute among Republican voters

The drop in approval of nurses and doctors is especially acute among Republican voters 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis increasingly bashes wokery in medecine

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis increasingly bashes wokery in medecine

Others point to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) decision in February 2021 to remove the statue displayed at its Chicago headquarters of its founder Dr Nathan Davis, who promoted racist policies in the 19th Century.

Physicians have described shifts in health policies and attitudes amid a wave of progressive activism during COVID and after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minnesota in May 2020.

They also bemoan stress, long hours and other problems at work. A survey by Qualtrics, a tech firm, this week found that nearly two fifths of healthcare workers said they were at risk of burnout and considering quitting.  

Dr Suneel Dhand, a physician and life coach who works in the US and Britain and has a large online following, aired his concerns on social media this week.  

‘I could have never imagined in a million yrs when I was a Med Student, that telling a biological man they don’t need a pregnancy test, or telling an obese person that their body fat makes them very unhealthy — would be extremely controversial one day,’ posted Dr Dhand.

‘God bless American ‘progress’.’

DailyMail.com reached out to the AMA, as well as the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Board of Medical Specialties, for comment. 

They either declined or did not respond.

Gallup, which has tracked the honesty and ethics of professions since 1976, says the public rallied behind doctors and nurses and the very start of the pandemic, when they were frontline workers battling a surge of deaths.

 But that changed fast.

‘Pharmacists … now register their lowest ethics rating in four decades of measurement (58 percent) by one point,’ researchers said.

‘Medical doctors’ rating is at its lowest point since 1999 and nurses’ since 2004.’

At the same time, Americans increasingly bemoan their standards of medical care.

For the first time since Gallup began asking the question two decades ago, a majority — 52 percent — of Americans rated healthcare in the US as subpar, with 31 percent calling it ‘only fair’ and 21 percent rating it ‘poor’.

For the first time since Gallup began asking the question two decades ago, a majority — 52 percent — of Americans rated healthcare in the US as subpar

For the first time since Gallup began asking the question two decades ago, a majority — 52 percent — of Americans rated healthcare in the US as subpar

Doctors, nurses — and even pharmacists — are all still far ahead of other professions, such as lawyers, bankers, and accountants, but the decline in support is stark and worrying

Doctors, nurses — and even pharmacists — are all still far ahead of other professions, such as lawyers, bankers, and accountants, but the decline in support is stark and worrying

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk