If his Twitter feed is any indication, Dr. Cleavon Gilman (“Cleavon MD“) has totally discarded the Hippocratic Oath. The Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences talks about the history of the Oath and contends,
“The classical Hippocratic Oath was the foundation of modern medicine, promoting the practice of integrative care and codifying ethical behavior for medical professionals. Significantly, the oath – and all modern versions that are in wide use – also underline the importance of respect between practitioners and patients.” [emphasis mine]
There is great question about the ethics of Dr. Gilman’s online behavior, and even greater question about whether he would respect his patients, particularly ones that disagree with his personal philosophies.
This is the problem with activists who pose as authority figures, of whom Dr. Anthony Fauci is the poster child. Using “expertise” to influence, and game a certain outcome, rather than arriving at the best outcome for all involved. If you say you’re an activist upfront, I have no problem with that. However, if you try to pretend you are merely trying to save lives and do good work, but your expertise is always weighted toward a certain agenda, I have a problem with that, and you deserve to be called out.
I am calling Dr. Gilman out as an activist in doctor’s clothing.
Two of the sections of the revised Hippocratic Oath say, “Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death,” and “Above all, I must not play at God“. From his ravings on Twitter, it’s apparent that Dr. Gilman has cast these aside like a used N-95 mask.
According to his bio, Dr. Gilman has been on the front lines of COVID-19 in New York City since March, and decided to document his experiences in a “Covid Diary“.
Dr. Gilman presents himself as a concerned physician who wants to educate and inform. His site is filled with the diaries, as well as procedure videos and podcasts. Also interesting is the number of articles and interviews for which this recent, young resident has been tapped. Elemental on Medium names him one of the 50 Experts To Trust In A Pandemic. He has been featured in Men’s Health, Business Insider India, Yahoo News, Al Jazeera, PBS NewsHour Extra, and many more legacy media publications. He even did an Instagram Live with failed Texas senatorial candidate, and Biden cabinet Gun Czar, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. I know, curb your enthusiasm.
So, either he is a highly accomplished ER physician who has caught the attention of legacy media for that reason, or he is a highly groomed, and positioned activist used to trumpet the typical line of thought since this pandemic began.
Dr. Gilman’s established COVID talking points are:
- Debunking “deadly” misinformation: e.g., hydroxychlorine, therapeutics are BAD.
- Ways to mitigate COVID spread: social distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, isolation and lockdowns are GOOD.
- Lives lost to COVID: It’s Gulag theater, especially focused on children and young adults who have died. He even has pictures; but, no mention of lives he has SAVED.
- School openings: He is against schools reopening, because school is indoors and so many children have died. Uh huh. No mention that children contracting/carrying COVID is 000.1 percent, and more children die from the flu. But, science!
- 1918 influenza pandemic: Most of his posts talk about how much COVID is like the 1918 Spanish Flu. I thought COVID was “novel” and couldn’t be compared to the flu? I’m confused.
So are many of his followers. Some assume they are being educated and need correction, others see through the puffery and smoke screens, and rightly challenge Dr. Gilman’s surface and presumptive conclusions.
What are the long term effects from Influenza which hospitalized more children? H1N1 hospitalized 451 per 100,000. "Covid", or instead the correct term that should be used SARS-CoV-2, has hospitalized 137 per 100,000
What do YOU really know? Other than how to spread fear pic.twitter.com/uZVrMUk0I7
— gary (@gporter812) August 15, 2020
But for now, let’s take a deeper dive into his background.
From some searches on the Internet, Dr. Gilman’s first documented bit of activism was on September 19, 2008, before he went to medical school, and he was just a student at University of California Berkeley. Gilman spoke as an Iraq War veteran for the “1968 Great Rehearsal teach-in on the Iraq War”, and the blogger at “Steph’s Blog” wrote movingly of the speech.
“The most moving speaker of the day was an Iraq veteran of the medical unit and current UCB student, Cleavon Gilman. This man must not have been much older than 25, very muscular and daunting, and sat in a comfortable position with his legs spread and hunched over. It was Gilman’s first time speaking out against the war and when he opened his mouth to begin his speech, nothing came out for a good seven seconds. He said he had a speech impediment and was obviously very nervous speaking. He said he dreamed of killing people in Iraq and that he was excited to see some action. He described a typical day of being in the medical unit, becoming somber when he spoke of a troop dying. ‘Something that’s not on TV is that when a soldier died we had to check for personal belongings which are usually in the helmet and was a picture of a child, mom, brother, dad or ultrasound. We would take out body bags and put the bodies in and zip them up and bring them to the freezer. Then we’d have to clean the blood on the stretcher and blood on the floor he spilled for his country and he can’t even go home.’ With this he shook his head and became silent as if holding back tears. And with this tears filled up my eyes and I felt a pain in my heart for this man. Although looking tough and masculine, this war broke him. He ended his speech saying the ‘terrorists’ he met ‘seemed pretty peaceful’ and that ‘troops have cameras and will hurt this country.’ Such ‘trophy pictures’ as he called them were of burned children and hands blown off.”
Upon reading A Historians Against War blog, Gilman was tapped by Roberto Hernandez, a UC student organizer to share these experiences. Another blog titled “Happening Here” documented the same “teach-in” speech in this manner:
“Cleavon Gilman joined the Army in 1999. It was peacetime and he needed a job. They made him a corpsman. In Iraq, he saw soldiers he knew blown to pieces. He worked for a time at a prisoner processing facility where Iraqis were held on suspicion of being terrorists. The U.S. troops guarding them mostly saw “hajiis” and “niggers.” He said “these ‘terrorists’ looked pretty peaceful to me.” Pretty soon he figured out there was a pattern. A U.S. unit would search a town; their base would get attacked. “There was a kind of cause and effect thing happening over there.” He left the military and now is student at UCB.” [emphasis mine]
Dr. Gilman’s biography on his Covid Diary gives a slightly different narrative on his military background:
“Dr. Cleavon Gilman is an Emergency Medicine physician in Arizona. His path to medicine included service in the United States Navy, where he was a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman deployed with the Marines to Iraq. After the military he attended Southwestern Community College then transferred to UC Berkeley. He completed medical school at UC San Francisco and residency in Emergency Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell and Columbia in Manhattan, where he also served as chief resident.”
I have a friend who enlisted in one branch of the service, finished his tour (2-3 years), then enlisted in another branch, so that could be the case of a blogger and Dr. Gilman himself reporting different branches in his Iraq service. Our Managing Editor streiff is a veteran, and confirmed that Navy corpsmen are embedded with the Marines, so that part of Dr. Gilman’s background squares up.
The cross-pollination of military service could also be an error on the part of the anti-war bloggers, who could not care less about distinguishing branches of service. Suffice to say that from my perspective, going from the Army in 1999, to the U.S. Navy in the Iraq War in 2001, to being embedded with the Marines seems like a bit of a stretch, but as a non-military person, what do I know? Perhaps my military and veteran readers can help square that circle for me.
In any event, I thank Dr. Gilman for his service, and it seems as though he has further distinguished himself in his chosen profession of medicine. Good for him! According to his bio, because of his speech impediment (he stutters), as a second-year resident he began rhyming about physician wellness, health policy, and evidence-based medicine, thereby sharing his medical knowledge through music. Again, a commendable and creative accomplishment.
However, his perceived education and instruction has not so surprisingly veered into activism.
In a May 4 U.K. Daily Mail article, he was quoted:
“Sixteen-thousand New Yorkers dead in eight weeks! This is a SLAP in the face to healthcare providers nationwide risking their lives and dying on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m in Central Park right now and it’s business as usual.”
As has been witnessed in many of our supposed “health experts”, Dr. Gilman appears to have no problem with the spread of COVID while participating in protests. Here was his tweet about a New York George Floyd protest:
As you can see this is a PEACEFUL #GeorgeFlyod protest at 3rd Ave and 50th Street in NYC at 5pm. The MEDIA does not perpetuate this beauty. They only show the 1% of destruction that's instigated by rouge outside agitators and police.
We grow larger and LARGER each day!❤️✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/3av0j4T58n
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) June 3, 2020
“The media does not perpetrate this beauty”? What beauty? I thought social distancing and masks were being promoted as beautiful and safe So at the beginning of May, people unmasked and not distancing in Central Park is a slap in the face to frontline workers, but at the end of May, it’s a thing of beauty if the same people unmasked and not socially distancing march in “peaceful protest” down 3rd Avenue and 50th Street?
Dr. Gilman gets even heavier into his activism with a change in geography. According to his Diary, Dr. Gilman moved West to continue his residency in Arizona. Now his hot takes are as scorching as the Phoenix desert.
Another portion of the revised Hippocratic Oath reads,
“If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.”
When Dr. Gilman decided to do a long thread addressed to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, he tossed aside these tenets of the Oath. Dr. Gilman ranted about the lack of available COVID ICU Beds, and about Governor Ducey’s handling of the COVID pandemic in general. Dr. Gilman is not alone in his complaints; Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who I suspect is ramping up for a 2022 gubernatorial run, pops onto Twitter in order to harangue Governor Ducey about what a horrible job he is doing.
Sound like anyone we know?
🧵NO ICU BEDS! When our rural Arizona hospital ICU is full, we medevac patients to different hospitals across the state, BUT NOT TONIGHT, because there were NO ACCEPTING HOSPITALS, so for an entire 12 hour shift we managed ICU patients, while treating other emergencies. 1/13
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) November 23, 2020
Here’s the problem with this meltdown: 1) Arizona has plenty of ICU beds for COVID and non-COVID patients, and the website distinguishes this without confusion; 2) The website Dr. Gilman accessed is dedicated to COVID information, from numbers tested, to numbers infected, to number of deaths, to AVAILABLE ICU BEDS. Anyone from your average Joe to an ER doctor can access the website to see what beds are available or if they are reaching critical mass; 3) It should be the discretion of the medical decision makers on the ground where those beds are available; the public does not necessarily need to know this.
Had Dr. Gilman been looking at the November 22 numbers of ICU beds available for COVID dedicated patients, he would have seen that only 27 percent of the COVID-designated ICU beds were in use. This brings into question not only the Arizona ABC 15 reporter’s questions that Dr. Gilman is referencing, but why Dr. Gilman felt the need to go off on Governor Ducey publicly.
One commentator brings these points home.
You are a doctor at a AZ hospital and you don't know what hospitals have ICU beds? Don't you know doctors at other hospitals? Your tweets indicate you really don't know what is going on in AZ…are you sure you are an actual doctor? How do you have enough time to tweet all day
— CraigMartin (@CraigMa08781754) November 23, 2020
These are questions worthy of an answer. Dr. Gilman’s lack of professionalism is not only a violation of the Oath, but an embarrassment to the medical profession. If he is not careful, he may well subject whatever hospital he is affiliated with to a lawsuit.
Dr. Gilman’s November 21 Twitter thread was quite epic in its gaslighting. He seemed to delight in trampling these last parts of the Oath under his feet:
“I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
“I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not,’ nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.”
From Dr. Gilman’s thread,
Just as active alcoholics with terminal liver disease are REFUSED liver transplants…
People who don't follow preventative public health measures against COVID19 should be the LAST to get hospital beds.
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) November 22, 2020
Two commentators delivered perfect and timely responses:
Are you saying you would deny Gov. Newsom a hospital bed?
— Spectrum Video&Film (@SVF_LTD) November 23, 2020
Would this apply to California’s Gov Newsom? pic.twitter.com/NhS6M9HrDQ
— R0Y (@xrptlrsem) November 23, 2020
Boom! For that matter we can include D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, New Jersey Governor Phil Mills, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, or our favorite Chicago Mayor Lori “I Need a Haircut” Lightfoot:
— Lori Lightfoot (@LoriLightfoot) November 8, 2020
By Dr. Gilman’s standards, these elected betters, who frankly, probably share his views, would be at the back of the line.
But I doubt that would happen in Dr. Gilman’s world.
Dr. Gilman continues his rant thread with a picture:
Is this you in this picture? Sorry, we have limited oxygen tanks, bipap machines and ICU beds. Please wait in the WAITING room and we'll notify you when treatment for selfish people is available. pic.twitter.com/UHBZO14uJ6
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) November 22, 2020
Once again Dr. Gilman recklessly disregards the Oath he claims is dear to him on his Diary website. He apparently enjoys capriciously tossing the Oath aside when it’s convenient, but then using it as a cloak when virtue-signaling. This is not lost on one commentator:
Does this feel like an appropriate thing to say for an MD who took an oath? Shameful.
— RachelInTheDesert (@RachelLArizona) November 23, 2020
Another investigative tweeter found Dr. Gilman’s George Floyd post from May, where he didn’t seem to have any issue with large crowds without mask who were not socially distanced. But as we all know, COVID magically disappears during “peaceful protests”. Because, science.
While another tweeter called out the legitimacy of the airport photo he posted:
Look at his picture again
Baggage Claim. Ground Transportation
— John (@VinylRecordsGuy) November 23, 2020
Like a bipolar person off their meds, Dr. Gilman decided to shift his anger to North Dakota (why?) to continue the bizarre thread:
What state are you from? North Dakota.. you were suppose to #StayHome. Sorry, we have limited oxygen tanks, bipap machines and ICU beds. Please wait in the WAITING room and we'll notify you when treatment for selfish people is available. pic.twitter.com/RM8wgxh1ps
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) November 22, 2020
Thanks to more smart investigation by the Twittersphere, it was found that the picture he posted was from a 2016 article in RV Life; FOUR YEARS OLD. Dr. Gilman apparently took a screen grab and tried to pawn it off as a 2020 shot of a trailer park in North Dakota.
The Cleavon MD account has over 700,000 followers. While I don’t necessarily follow (or am followed) by those I wholeheartedly agree with, one of his followers is concerning: The Good Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is in a runoff in Georgia for the U.S. Senate. If this is what the Good Reverend considers credible medical information and policy, any Georgian supporting him needs to reconsider their vote.
You can be a full-on partisan; this is part of what keeps Twitter interesting. However, when you pretend your superior knowledge, expertise, and perspective are an excuse for activism, and that your partisan bias gives you license to encourage harm to others, it’s time to hang it up.
Always good to see assumed political preferences driving medical decisions.
Because everyone from North Dakota is on non-essential travel, and a Republican.
So much for Do No Harm.
— Bocephus (@lordthx1139) November 22, 2020
And there you have made it.
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