Shaw: Discipline Dr. Rick Becker
"In a state hit hard by COVID-19, Dr. Rick Becker’s spreading of misinformation violates Board of Medicine rules," writes InForum columnist Jim Shaw.
Dr. Rick Becker of Bismarck needs to be disciplined by the North Dakota Board of Medicine for repeatedly spreading bogus information about COVID-19. That’s not just my opinion. That’s the opinion of many doctors in the state. Due to space limitations, I only have room to quote three of them.
“Dr. Becker needs to be reprimanded by the Board for his continued spreading of misinformation,” said Dr. Grant Syverson of Fargo. “If he doesn’t stop it, then he should lose his license.”
“There should be disciplinary action against Dr. Becker,” said Dr. Kathy Anderson of Bismarck, president of the North Dakota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Most of what he is saying is nonsense.”
“It is not okay for a physician to provide false information about COVID-19,” said Dr. Joan Connell of Bismarck, the state’s former field medical officer. “It’s a violation of the state boards. His comments should be investigated.”
What bothers the doctors is that Becker constantly downplays the effectiveness of masks and vaccines, while pushing people to take the unproven drug, ivermectin. On his television show, Becker said of ivermectin, “I don’t know why you wouldn’t take it…Absolutely safe drug. Apparently if I take it, it’s going to work prophylactically that I don’t get COVID or that I don’t get hospitalized.”
That’s absurd. There are no legitimate studies that show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19. The FDA says taking large doses of it can be dangerous. “Ivermectin is not effective, and sending a message that ivermectin could help against COVID is dangerous,” Connell said.
“His comments about masks, vaccines and ivermectin are willful ignorance, if not malpractice," Syverson said. “By knowingly spreading false information, he’s violating his ethical responsibility as a doctor.”
All this matters because as a state legislator, television talk show host and newspaper columnist, Dr. Becker has an enormous platform to spread his garbage about a deadly virus.
“His unintelligent comments go against being a medical provider and a legislator,” Anderson said. “It’s incredibly unprofessional, uninformed and distasteful.”
“The issue is people trust him,” Syverson said. “We’re supposed to put ourselves to a higher standard and a greater good. Medicine should not be a game. He’s put himself out there to try to get political gain.”
In a state hit hard by COVID-19, Becker’s spreading of misinformation violates Board of Medicine rules.
“I don’t know how he can look in the mirror as a physician and believe it’s the truth,” Syverson said. “You can’t call yourself a healer.”
“My father died of COVID. I have lots of patients who have lost family members from this pandemic, “Anderson said. “His comments are unintelligent, unfounded and emotionally tone deaf.”
“His whole strategy is to cast doubt about everything COVID related that promotes public health,“ Connell said. “Vaccinations, mask wearing, social distancing. That makes people question it. And now we have 2,000 people dead in this state.”
Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.