Wenstrup: COVID-19 Pandemic Eroded the Doctor-Patient Relationship, Severely Harmed America’s Healthcare System
Washington, September 14, 2023
Washington, D.C. - Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) opened today’s hearing titled “Oh Doctor, Where Art Thou? Pandemic Erosion of the Doctor-Patient Relationship” by concentrating on the federal government’s decision to sideline physicians in favor of broad mandates and coercive protocols that eroded trust in the medical community and wreaked havoc on the American healthcare system. Patients who receive individualized treatment from a doctor who understands the nuances of personal medical history ultimately receive higher quality care. Chairman Wenstrup explains how vaccine mandates were not only ineffective at stopping the spread of COVID-19, but also fostered distrust between patients and their providers, as well as the broader public health authorities. Physicians were strong-armed into following medical guidance tainted with political considerations, regardless of whether the advice or protocol was best for the needs of the individual patient. Further, Chairman Wenstrup explains how off-label drugs that had the potential to treat COVID-19 were systemically and unjustly demonized by the federal government. Today’s hearing seeks to emphasize why Americans must resist attempts by the federal government to take more decision-making power away doctors and patients should a future medical crisis arise.
Below are Select Subcommittee Chairman Wenstrup’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Good morning and thank you all for coming here today to discuss the importance of the Doctor-Patient Relationship in truly caring for patients. Every patient is unique and one-size-fits-all solutions do not work well in medicine.
From early on in the pandemic, I recommended to the Administration that Americans need to hear from the doctors that are treating COVID-19 patients.
And that sidelining doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic was a massive mistake.
Your doctor, who knows you, should have been the primary partner on health and medical decisions.
Instead, politicians with no medical background, imposed mandates to follow or be fired.
To be clear, this important decision – whether to get vaccinated and boosted – is the exact choice that should be between each American and their doctor.
Why should individuals be strong-armed into getting a vaccine that may have little or no marginal benefit or potentially create risk for themselves?
Ms. Dingell was afraid, understandably, but she talked to her doctor and made her decision. Yet, so many Americans were not given that option.
This sacred relationship is directly connected with personal health outcomes.
Numerous studies have found that a physician’s knowledge of a patient’s ailments and emotional state is positively associated with the resolution of those ailments.
The doctor-patient relationship, as well as the autonomy of physicians, has been eroded in recent decades.
Government interference in medicine has continually crept in--and taken advantage of in times of crisis.
Bureaucratic red-tape and administrative burden forces physicians to spend less time treating patients.
Consolidation in the health care market has also brought physicians further under an umbrella of central control.
More and more physicians are employees rather than employers.
The pandemic rapidly accelerated these trends.
As we continue to innovate and prioritize efficiency in our health care system, we must also preserve the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship.
With “do no harm in mind,” we must ensure that physicians have the autonomy to treat patients without undue interference.
This is one of the great tragedies of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We allowed the government to censor and bully doctors to try to get them to comply with the agreed-upon narratives pushed by unelected bureaucrats and politicians who never treated a single COVID patient—let alone studied medicine.
Doctors came under immense pressure to promote COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, regardless of whether they felt it was warranted or medically appropriate.
Video of Dr. Fauci in 2004: Flu vaccine – you don’t need it if you’ve had the flu, if this was different, did he tell us why?
Doctors who had prescribed off-label medications for years were suddenly vilified for doing the same for COVID-19.
Today you will hear from one such doctor, Doctor Jerry Williams, who treated thousands of patients at his urgent care clinics who felt the positive effects of his cure, and the negative effects of medical censorship.
A federal court of appeals recently determined that the Biden Administration violated the First Amendment by colluding with social media companies to stifle dissent about COVID-19 online.
A federal court also recently revived a lawsuit against the FDA for interfering in the practice of medicine by embarking on a politically motivated campaign against the FDA-approved drug, Ivermectin.
Most medicines for animals are human medicines also, but the doses are different.
This anti-science, anti-doctor, and government mandated approach during the pandemic failed miserably, and it makes us less prepared to address a future pandemic.
We need to set this straight if we are to be successful in public health.
The Majority was in contact with a possible witness who is deeply passionate about these issues.
That physician wanted to testify…but was too afraid that their career would be destroyed for speaking out any more than they already had.
It is appalling that we have built a world which forces experts to choose between the government’s treatment plan and the truth. Or even be allowed to express their opinion.
Rather than listen to doctors, the government censored them.
The very government officials that took an oath to uphold the Constitution that protects free speech.
Rather than encourage Americans to seek out the advice of a doctor, they kept doctors’ offices closed and deemed your treatment unnecessary even if there were no cases anywhere near. They imposed vaccine mandates, and vilified any dissenters.
We can’t let these failures be repeated. We must learn from the past to succeed in the future.
For many, this reality has been obvious for some time, but it appears that others have still not learned anything over the past several years.
Just this week the CDC decided to recommend an updated COVID-19 booster for all Americans over the age of six-months.
I suspect that some of the conversation today will be focused on this decision.
My hope is that today’s discussion will emphasize the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and why we must resist attempts by government or industry to take more decision-making power away from individuals, both doctors and patients, and put into the hands of bureaucrats.
I look forward to an on-topic, respectful discussion today. Thank you.