When the Doctor recommends snake oil don’t drink it!

When a medical doctor recommends a particular course of treatment for a potentially deadly infection that not only contradicts the peer-reviewed advice of her profession, but poses a very serious threat to the safety of the general public and her patients, should that doctor be sanctioned, and could that doctor be held liable for any harm that results from following her advice? [0]

Health care professionals are bound by common law to do good, to act positively, and to do no harm. [1]

At common law, a person has a right to autonomy over their body and informed consent. Autonomy and informed consent are the fundamental ethical principles of health care. ‘Informed consent’ means a person must have (a) the capacity to consent, (b) *sufficient knowledge of the nature and extent of the potential and actual harm or risk involved in giving consent, (c) *an appreciation of that harm or risk, (d) voluntarily consent to assume and accept the risk or harm, and (e) give comprehensive consent to the transaction and its potential or actual consequences. [2]

It would be trite to argue that a person given incorrect medical advice on the nature and extent of the potential and actual harm or risk can have no true or accurate appreciation or understanding of that harm or risk, nor appreciate the potential or actual consequences of either tacit or explicit consent to following such advice.

By withholding from the general public accurate information concerning the nature and extent of the potential harm and risk posed by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), Houston physician Stella Grace Immanuel voluntarily chose to deny to her audience, who are all at great risk of contracting the virus, a right to make informed choices about their own bodily autonomy.

With accurate information at our disposal, we may choose to make wiser choices to avoid contracting COVID19 and in so doing preserve our own lives and those of our families, friends and acquaintances.

By disputing accurate peer-reviewed information about the virus, Dr Immanuel has failed to uphold her common law obligation to ‘do good, act positively, and do no harm’.

Deliberately misleading the public about a drug (Hydroxychloroquine) proven to have no effect against a lethal virus, and recommending that masks not be worn to prevent the spread of that virus is not only unethical, but criminally negligent. [3]

Immanuel’s unethical negligence is motivated by irrational beliefs that should have no quarter in dictating medical advice or treatment.


[0] The Wild Hunt Editorial Staff “The dangers of the ‘DemonSpermDoctor'”
(Date of access: 29 July 2020)

[1] McQuoid-Mason D “An introduction to aspects of health law: bioethical principles, human rights and the law” 2008 (1) South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 7–10.

[2] Castell v De Greef [1994] 4 All SA 63 (C)

[3] Kristen Panthagani “Fact-check: Dr. Stella Immanuel’s hydroxychloroquine cure”
(Date of access: 29 July 2020)