This year has been extremely challenging as we continue to learn about COVID-19 and observe firsthand its devastating consequences. With new information emerging daily about the best ways to combat this virus, it’s essential physicians use a science-based approach in the advice provided to patients. Contradictory advice can be confusing and potentially dangerous for patients, and as healthcare providers, we all have a responsibility to provide sound, evidence-based advice.
CPSA fully supports the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Dr. Deena Hinshaw. The advice provided by her office on reducing your cohorts, mask use, appropriate isolation periods and more are vital in our battle against COVID-19. Please ensure the advice you provide your patients is in alignment with the CMOH’s recommendations and helps protect not only your healthy patients, but also the most vulnerable patients.
CPSA is not alone in this approach. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) Code of Ethics & Professionalism provides guidance to physicians on this topic. It states:
Provide opinions consistent with the current and widely accepted views of the profession when interpreting scientific knowledge to the public; clearly indicate when you present an opinion that is contrary to the accepted views of the profession.
CPSA would also like to send our sincere thanks and appreciation to the physicians on the front-line of the COVID-19 response. Many of you are masked for 12+ hours per day, diligently washing your hands and practising social distancing—often from your own families—all to support Albertans. Some recent media reports voicing opinions against masking and COVID-19 precautions may have appeared to undermine your efforts. Please know, your level of selflessness is truly commendable and has not gone unnoticed, despite the unfounded media reports.
If you need more information on the CMOH’s recommendations, please visit Alberta Health’s website. Every physician in Alberta has a role to play by recommending precautionary actions to support their patients and all the health of all Albertans.
Dr. Scott McLeod