Medical professionals and frontline doctors play a critical role in informing the public about the pandemic reality or pointing out the leadership's missteps in pandemic response. They hold the highest ethical standards and have obligations to speak out the truth. However, their candid statements may harm the leadership's image or hinder their efforts to suppress the unwanted reality. Whistleblowing doctors have faced retaliation that ranges from job loss and career backlash to arbitrary detention and death, and the pandemic has put their tragedy into spotlights.
We are all familiar with Dr. Li Wenliang's story. The Chinese ophthalmologist faced punishment from the state for spreading "false rumors" that linked the growing virus infections in hospitals to prior Sars outbreak. The physical detention and the mental distress had inflicted wound on the fact-telling doctor who eventually succumbed to the virus that has grown into a widespread pandemic. Li's tragic death has painted a dark picture of Chinese leadership that resorted to force to silence the image-hurting honesty and truth.
But vanity and brutality aren't limited to a dictator regime. The dark traits emerged in the former US presidency that disdained science and evidence and that was poised to crush anything clashing with its economic agenda. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a US infectious disease chief, confronted Trump's hoax and anecdote rhetoric and made an evidence-based statement linking the surging pandemic to the economy's rush opening. The defiant doctor had annoyed the president and became the bully's target by Trump and his allies. He faced accusations of inventing the virus and attempting to profit from vaccines, and he and his families were under harassments and death threats.
这种对直言不讳的医生进行迫害和报复行为在我们身边也会发生。安省重症监护医生Brooks Fallis指控说他因直言批评安省抗疫措施不当而失去了在奥斯勒医院的领导职务。Brooks Fallis称福特省长曾致电该院首席高管表示对Fallis医生在推特上发表的批评言论极为不满。据Fallis医生表示，奥斯勒医院因迫于安省政府的压力而下令禁止他发表任何媒体言论，并撤销了他所担任的重症监护病房的领导职务。虽然福特办公室否认省长打过电话，但Fallis医生的指控可信，有其详细的谈话记录为佐证，以及受到其广为尊敬的同僚们的支持。
Unfortunately, our home turf appears not immune to doctors facing reprisals for speaking out. Dr. Brooks Fallis, an Ontario critical care doctor, has allegedly lost his leadership position at William Osler Health System after he criticized the province's pandemic response. Fallis alleged that Premier Doug Ford made an angry phone call to the hospital CEO, expressing unhappiness over Fallis's disparaging remarks on Twitter. According to Dr. Fallis, under a perceived funding pressure from the government, the hospital instructed him to stop all media activity and removed him from his role directing the intensive care unit. While Premier Ford's office has denied making the phone call, Dr. Fallis's allegations seem credible, backed by his meticulous notes of the encounters and bolstered by his widely respected reputation.
医学界与政治权威的冲突在历史上屡见不鲜，有史以来，许多批评当局政策的医生都遭到打击报复甚至被迫害致死的厄运。远在18世纪，德国医生Rudolf Virchow 因其对政府无视贫困群体进行抨击的言论而引火上身。而近在60年代英国医生Judith Mackay由于反对吸烟遭到烟草行业和当局的诬陷迫害，其研究结果被否认和诋毁。尽管科学研究近年来取得飞快进步和发展，但不愿趋炎附势，敢于直言进谏的医生的命运却未得到显著改善。当科学和政权发生冲入，政治还会压倒科学，倡导真理的医生还不断遭到政权势力的迫害和打压。
The medical community has repeatedly clashed with political power throughout history. Many doctors speaking up against authorities have suffered mistreatments – from the backlash to death. Rudolf Virchow, a German physician in the 1800s who criticized the government for ignoring poverty, found himself in line of fire. In more recent times, Dr. Judith Mackay, a British physician who spoke out against tobacco companies and smoking in the 1960s, faced threats and smear campaigns to discredit her research. Despite the dramatic advances of medical science over time, doctors haven't seen their fate remarkably improving when they push the government too far. When tension arises between science and politics, politics continue to trump science, and authority voices intend to drown out the truth-advocating physicians.
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