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Ontario doctor Kulvinder Kaur Gill faces backlash from college of physicians over unprofessional social media posts

Darpan News Desk Darpan, 05 Mar, 2021
  • Ontario doctor Kulvinder Kaur Gill faces backlash from college of physicians over unprofessional social media posts

A doctor in Ontario is facing a lot of heated criticism after her tweets about the COVID-19 pandemic were deemed to be "inappropriate" and "unprofessional."

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) organized a hearing in February to investigate numerous complaints made against Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill about her social media posts last summer.

There was concern that Dr.Gill appeared to be "willfully spreading false and misleading information regarding COVID-19 that goes directly against the advice and recommendations of local, provincial, and federal medical/science and public health authorities."

Some of the tweets that drew attention stated, "COVID-19 is not a serious health issue" and, "There is absolutely no medical or scientific reason for prolonged, harmful and illogical lockdown."

The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee posted their findings  Gill's page on the CPSO website.

While it is acceptable to question whether lockdowns are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to the panel Dr. Gill tweeted  without any concrete evidence to back up her claims. The panel further stated that her statement is "inaccurate" and is not in line with public health guidance.

To refute her false claims the panel referred to lockdowns in China and South Korea and the success rate that the two nations have achieved in order to stop the further transmission of the disease. 

The panel also took note that Dr.Gill also didn't back up her  tweet alleging a vaccine is unnecessary. Her statement is a "potential risk to public health," especially in the middle of the pandemic, the panel said.

"It would be expected and understandable if a certain proportion of the general public who read this statement decided to decline the vaccine with the assurance that they are acting on the guidance of a physician."

The panel further found it concerning that Dr. Gill retweeted, "Contact tracing, testing and isolation … is ineffective, naïve and counter-productive against COVID-19 …and by definition, against any pandemic."

While Dr. Gill has said she did not write it, the panel stated that posting an original tweet and retweeting "both indicate an endorsement of the information."

The panel highlighted it is one thing to questions whether contract tracing, testing, and isolation are efficient in fighting the pandemic but it is "indefensible" that Gill "declared without evidence that these measures are counterproductive."

As a rebuttal to the complaints Dr.Gill said her tweets were taken out of context, to which the panel said tweets "by their very nature have minimal context."

Dr.Gill also claimed that she tweeted from a personal account that has nothing to do with her practice. The panel didn't accept that as a legitimate statement and instead said Dr.Gill's Twitter biography "makes it clear that she is a physician and also identifies her as the leader of a group of physicians, Concerned Ontario Doctors."

Dr. Gill has over 56,000 followers on Twitter.

The panel further added "The respondent's tweets are accessible by the public. Moreover, members of the public who are not healthcare professionals are likely to attribute significant weight and authority to the respondent's tweets, given her profession."Non-medically trained members of the public would likely have difficulty determining the scientific and medical validity of the respondent's tweets". 

As a result, Dr. Gill was warned by the panel due to a "lack of professionalism and failure to exercise caution in her posts on social media."

Photo courtesy of Twitter-@dockaurG

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