Adam Pike was one of the lawyers involved in the successful defense of the charge against Prof. Tim Noakes for replying to a lady on Twitter about the best way to wean a baby. Since then Adam has presented a talk on ethical behaviour of medical professionals on social media for the Nutrition Network, which is a spin-off from the Noakes Foundation. I had a fascinating chat with him about what constitutes ethical behaviour on social media and we discover how the behaviour of Prof. Noakes did not constitute unethical behaviour (which is why he was exonerated) whereas the behaviour of Claire Julsing-Strydom, who was instrumental in bringing the charge against him, and the ADSA did in fact behave unethically in a number of ways in the aftermath of that fateful tweet and yet no charge was ever brought against them.
We then went on to talk about how protected a practitioner might be if they are to disseminate advice on therapeutic carbohydrate restriction and the LCHF lifestyle. We are working really hard to establish an alternative Standard of Care (SoC) for this. Part of that effort is to establish a non-profit called the Society of Metabolic Health Practitioners (The SMHP) which is due to launch shortly. You can learn more here. But until that happens, how protected is a doctor who advises their patient in this way. What Adam said was really interesting. If a doctor provides care that goes against the accepted SoC but they can show that they based their decision on solid evidence then they would still be able defend themselves in court if it ever came to it. Patient autonomy (or informed consent) is also critical here. As long as the patient is fully informed of all the options available with all the supporting evidence and they then make a decision on their course of treatment, no harm can be done and the doctor is protected. That is just critical knowledge that all doctors should have.
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