Healthcare workers being threatened by extremist groups
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Extremist groups are a growing threat around the country.
Now, they’ve picked their latest target: the healthcare industry.
“It’s just really unacceptable and inappropriate to make those kinds of threats,” says Rae Bond, Executive Director of the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Medical Society.
This week, an intel notice from the Department of Homeland Security warned that extremist groups are likely to threaten violence or plot against healthcare personnel, facilities, and public officials in response to expanding COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Bond says these threats are nothing new.
“Physicians who testified at a school board meeting about the efficacy of masks to slow down the spread of COVID, being chased in parking lots and all kinds of threats being issued,” she says.
Bond attributes it to the prevalence of online misinformation.
“Too much time on the internet is probably not a good thing.”
In Tennessee, healthcare workers have started cracking down.
The state Board of Medical Examiners ruled in their most recent meeting that Tennessee physicians who create or spread COVID-19 misinformation are at risk of losing their medical licenses.
“It is following the recommendations that I think were very well thought out by the federation of state medical boards,” explains Bond.
Bond says that while some may argue that certain medical claims are false, the truth of the matter is that the science around COVID continues to evolve.
“I look at the scientific process as one that is going to evolve as we get more knowledge and as more research is done. I think some people see any kind of a change as – that that itself is misinformation.”