Experts want Dr. Oz fired from teaching post

A group of physicians has a prescription for Dr. Oz: Get out of the classroom, stat.

Ten doctors last week sent a letter to the dean of the medical school at Columbia University, where Harvard-educated surgeon Mehmet Oz — better-known as "Dr. Oz," the name of his syndicated health show — serves on the faculty.

These colleagues say Dr. Oz — whose path to TV stardom was blazed through frequent guest spots on Oprah Winfrey's show — has no business teaching medicine.

"[H]e has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain," the letter states. The doctors called his employment at Columbia "unacceptable." 

The critics slam Dr. Oz for "outrageous conflicts of interest" and "flawed judgments" and suggest his shortcomings are because of his own "pathology," without specifying what that pathology might be.

Dr. Oz has decided to use his program to respond to the critics. Thursday's show will be titled "Dr. Oz Fights Back" and will feature his "exclusive" reaction to naysayers. 

Columbia, in a terse statement addressing the doctors who wrote the letter, responded that it upheld the "academic freedom" of Dr. Oz to make statements as part of a public discusson.

This is not the first time Dr. Oz has attracted criticism for his approach to medicine. In June  he testified before a Senate panel where he was criticized for misleading consumers about the efficacy of weight-loss products such as "green coffee," which he told viewers produced "magic" results. Oz replied that he saw such products only as short-term solutions and in any case had not formally endorsed the diet aids in ads or received money from the companies.

The new round of criticism came after a March show in which Dr. Oz raised concerns about a genetically modified "Arctic apple" that did not brown after being cut or bitten like a typical apple. The program implied that such genetically engineered fruit was not safe, which a Slate article described as "unwarranted" fear-mongering.

Dr. Henry I. Miller, who teaches at Stanford, cowrote the Slate piece and was the first signer of the letter to Columbia slamming Dr. Oz.

What do you think of Dr. Oz and his approach to health care?

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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