Every week there`s a new scheme to try and “impeach foatee five” (as Maxine Waters would say). The newest one is trotting out pseudo psychiatrists to diagnosis President Trump as being mentally unfit for office in order to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Last month Brandy Lee, a psychiatry professor from Yale met with more than a dozen member of congress for 2 days of talks on their opinions of Trump`s mental state for this purpose. Her status as a consultant was undoubtedly chosen because she edited together a book collection of anti Trump essays from people who had never met with President Trump yet felt confident in making armchair diagnoses about his mental state.
With all of these diagnoses coming out recently the American Psychiatric Association has issued a statement calling for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined as it is unacceptable and unethical. The statement posted on their site here partly states
Today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reiterates its continued and unwavering commitment to the ethical principle known as “The Goldwater Rule.” We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media. Armchair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical.
The ethical principle, in place since 1973, guides physician members of the APA to refrain from publicly issuing professional medical opinions about individuals that they have not personally evaluated in a professional setting or context. Doing otherwise undermines the credibility and integrity of the profession and the physician-patient relationship. Although APA’s ethical guidelines can only be enforced against APA members, we urge all psychiatrists, regardless of membership, to abide by this guidance in respect of our patients and our profession.
A proper psychiatric evaluation requires more than a review of television appearances, tweets, and public comments. Psychiatrists are medical doctors; evaluating mental illness is no less thorough than diagnosing diabetes or heart disease. The standards in our profession require review of medical and psychiatric history and records and a complete examination of mental status. Often collateral information from family members or individuals who know the person well is included, with permission from the patient.
“The Goldwater Rule embodies these concepts and makes it unethical for a psychiatrist to render a professional opinion to the media about a public figure unless the psychiatrist has examined the person and has proper authorization to provide the statement,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “APA stands behind this rule.”