Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Dr. Mehmet Oz continues to defend himself against the naysayers trying to bring him down. Although he will be addressing his critics directly on his TV show, he also is speaking out in a Time magazine op-ed piece.
The physician and on-air personality starts by describing his show as a place where his audience can turn to should they need advice "on how to find a good life." It's not, he writes, a place "to practice medicine on air."
"This means celebrating them wherever they are in their search for health, and offering tools to nudge them along in the right direction," he writes.
But his critics take issue with his "tools," claiming Dr. Oz wants to participate in activities that will help him gain financially. In his op-ed, however, the cardiothoracic surgeon insists that's not true and explains that his "unconventional approaches" are meant to help, not harm.
"Because in some instances, I believe unconventional approaches appear to work in some people's lives," he writes. "They are often based on long-standing traditions from different cultures that visualize the healing process in very different ways from our Western traditions."
He continues, "They are aimed at chronic conditions...which are frequently overlooked or under-treated by conventional practitioners. They are also often inexpensive. With limited profit motive, companies understandably do not wish to invest significant resources into proving benefit, so these unconventional remedies do not undergo rigorous clinical studies."
The Columbia University surgeon insists that his attention to those types of practitioners is strictly out of interest, not promotional value.
"So we have practitioners recommend therapies that they find effective in their own practices. When I interview an unusual or interesting person on my show, often it's expository or out of fascination—not to tell my audience they should see a psychic instead of their primary care physician," he explains.
He further drives his point home when he explains that his fascination with "alternative medicine" was never meant to be a replacement for "conventional medicine." Instead, he wanted it to serve as an "additive."
"In fact, many institutions like mine use the names 'complementary' or 'integrative' medicine, which is also appropriate," he adds.
Dr. Oz also addresses the weight loss supplements he promoted a few years ago that landed him in a Senate hearing. "So I have traveled off the beaten path in search of tools and tips that might help heal. These explorations are fraught with their own unique peril. For example, my voyage into the land of weight loss supplements left me in a very unsavory place. I wish I could take back enthusiastic words I used to support these products years ago. And I understand the criticism I've received as a result," he writes.
He ends his piece with a call for freedom of speech, something the dean of Columbia University supported in his defense of Dr. Oz's position on staff.
"I know I have irritated some potential allies," he writes. "No matter our disagreements, freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans. We will not be silenced. We're not going anywhere."