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ABS Statement on Misinformation About COVID-19

Feb. 7, 2022 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

The American Board of Surgery supports public health measures that mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and is committed to protecting patients and the public from harm. The spread of misinformation about COVID-19 and the treatment of infection by diplomates of the ABS is especially harmful, as it undermines public trust in our profession.

Board certification by the ABS carries an obligation of ethical behavior and professionalism in all conduct as set forth in our Ethics and Professionalism Policy. The ABS as a certifying body has a duty to protect the public from those who spread medical misinformation or engage in illegal practices related to patient care. Any determination as to whether an individual has violated this policy by promulgating inaccurate information that is contrary to the interests of patients and that adversely impacts public safety would be made following our administrative due process protocols and procedures, as outlined in our Reconsideration and Appeals Policy.

As a healthcare organization with the mission to protect the public, we support the application of evidence-based scientific knowledge and technology, and we endorse the statements of the American Board of Medical Specialties and the Federation of State Medical Boards; that physicians, "have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health." We also agree that, "Spreading inaccurate COVID-19 vaccine information contradicts that responsibility, threatens to erode public trust in the medical profession, and puts all patients at risk."

The ABS serves the public and the specialty of surgery by providing leadership in surgical education and practice, by promoting excellence through rigorous evaluation and examination, and by promoting the highest standards for professionalism, lifelong learning, and the continuous certification of surgeons in practice.