Physicians nationwide will continue to tackle COVID-19’s unique and unforeseen challenges, but politics and misinformation should never again be allowed to undermine doctors’ critical, life-saving work.
That was the message American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, MD, delivered in opening remarks to the American Medical Association House of Delegates as the November Special Meeting kicked off Friday evening. The Special Meeting was called in lieu of the usual Interim Meeting, which was suspended because of the pandemic.
In a speech entitled Reimagining the Future of Medicine in a Post-COVID World, Dr. Bailey praised the hard work and dedication of physicians throughout the nation.
“In the face of this pandemic – perhaps the greatest threat to public health in our lifetimes – physicians have heroically answered the call,” said Dr. Bailey, an allergist who practices in Fort Worth. “Time and again – through surges and plateaus – working under intense pressure and at great personal risk, our physician community has risen to the challenge of this moment. We have done this with courage and with selflessness because of our singular dedication to our patients’ health.”
But Dr. Bailey warned of the dangers of politicizing medicine and the spread of misinformation that has cast a shadow over the public perception of physicians and science in general.
“When lives are at stake, never again should physicians have to fight a war on two fronts – caring for severely ill patients in a raging pandemic, while at the same time battling a public relations war that questions the legitimacy of our work and our motives,” she said. “This is unacceptable … and we will not go back.”
Throughout the five-day meeting, more than 100 Texas physicians, residents, and medical students representing the Texas Medical Association, various sections, and national specialty societies have worked to shape AMA policy on issues related to medical practice, medical education, public health, science and technology, legislation, and more.
The full House will deliberate and vote on those issues today and Tuesday. Look for full coverage of those issues this week in Texas Medicine Today and in January’s edition of Texas Medicine magazine.