Are We Comfortable With This Physician in the White House?

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD


April 27, 2018

Casting Doubt on a Physician's Viability

We know that Ronny Jackson, MD, a board-certified, highly decorated emergency medicine physician, will not be taking charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But the remaining questions are whether he ought to stay on as the White House physician or even retain his license to practice.


The charges leveled against Jackson concerning his creating a toxic work environment, which were presented in an Inspector General's report,[1] were serious enough to knock him out of contention to helm the VA. But a slew of other allegations quickly surfaced that rightly cast doubt on his viability in the sensitive role of doctor to the President and someone often in charge of caring for key staff members at the highest level of our government.

Many will say that the furor over Dr Jackson is just political. But too many people have come forward with too many concerns to ignore.

The malpractice that Dr Jackson is charged with by numerous individuals and coworkers, many of whom have no reason to go after him politically, include handing out prescription drugs such as Ambien and Provigil "like candy" without any examination or monitoring of the recipients; self-prescribing narcotic drugs; being impaired by alcohol while on duty; writing prescriptions for people that were intended to be used by others; failure to track supplies of prescription drugs, including narcotics; and giving prescription drugs to parents for their children whom he had never seen or examined.

These are patterns of behavior that, if they are true, put people at risk for dependency, impairment, overdosing, and dangerous drug interactions. They appear to be the product of a doctor who has grown far too cozy with his powerful patients and too eager to please and indulge them.

That type of damage goes further. It's the duty of every physician to care for the health of patients, particularly a physician in one of the top positions in the nation.


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