Dr. Daniel Neides, the medical director and COO of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, penned a fiercely anti-science and anti-vac opinion piece. There are, at least, two big problems with that. First, that he believes anything that he said and disseminated, without authorization from the hospital, the myths to the general public. The second, that Cleveland.com casually published the piece on Friday afternoon
, lending authority and a megaphone to the nonsense.
In the rambling piece, which reads like a chain letter or a sub-Reddit conspiracy screed, Neides tees off on a wide range of debunked theories, including a nod to the fear-mongering and disproven link between vaccines and autism and a half-dozen or so other generally misinformed opinions — again, from the mouth of a Cleveland Clinic doctor through the region's largest media outlet.
The post quickly spread over the weekend and attracted nearly universal scorn from the medical community. The Clinic issued a blunt statement in the aftermath:
“Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
Neides, for his part, apologized and retracted his statements, though they remain online in the original article.
A Plain Dealer article posted
on Cleveland.com (the website) about the behind-the-scenes action at Cleveland.com (the company/publication) attempted to clarify how it got published in the first place.
Neides has been blogging on Cleveland.com's South Euclid-Lyndhurst community blog for about two years on a variety of wellness-related topics.
His most recent column, posted on Friday afternoon, quickly sparked outrage when it was discovered by the medical and scientific community on social media sites. The column was removed briefly from the site Sunday afternoon, though it's not clear if Neides, who had privileges to log into and alter content on the community blog, or someone else removed it. It was restored shortly after.
Which isn't all that clear.
We've reached out to Cleveland.com for further information and will update you if/when they respond.