Social media users livid over ER doctor's PSA: 'Time to shame patients'

An emergency room doctor is facing backlash after sharing a "PSA" that some people believe constituted patient shaming.

Dr. Erin Boyd, an emergency medicine physician in Tallahassee, Fla., who goes by the handle @er.doc.mom on both TikTok and Instagram, shared the video before making both of her accounts private.

In the mock public service announcement, which was captured and shared on Twitter by medical school student Tricia Rae Pendergrast before it was deleted, Dr. Boyd dances and lip-syncs to Doja Cat's "Say So" as she acts out a scene between herself and a patient. 

"Hello, I'm an ER doc," the on-text reads. "Why did you come to thr [sic] emergency room today?"

"Patient in the ER: 'well, I don’t have a primary doc. Can you just give me a check up?'" the on-screen text continues. 

"Me: ‘ummm, NO. I am a specialist in life threatening emergencies," it ends. "Everyone needs a primary care doc for general care. Leave the emergencies for the ER!!"

Pendergrast, who studies at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, clearly took offense to the TikTok, writing, "Ah yes it’s time to shame patients for seeking care o clock on the Tiktok I see."

After the video racked up more than 2.5 million views on Twitter alone, members of the medical community began chiming in on the video, with Dr. Ken Milne, Chief of Staff at South Huron Hospital Association in Ontario, Canada, advising Dr. Boyd to "stop blaming patients."

"As an emergency medicine specialist she should know that we are the light in the house of medicine that is always on for anyone, anytime for ANYthing," he wrote. "The patient decides."

"The emergency department is the safe place for patient to come for help," he said in a follow-up tweet. "Societies safety net. It’s a privilege to work in the ED."

Dr. Boyd is one of many working in health care to offend with their social media activity lately.

Just last week, a woman known as "Nurse Holly" to her 1.7 million followers on TikTok shared a video about the "best way" to prevent sexually transmitted diseases — abstinence, in her words.

Many took issue with the seemingly condescending advice, adding that it should not be a nurse or doctor's place to judge their patients.

"So tired of nurses acting a fool on their large platforms," one Twitter user wrote. "Promoting irresponsible and biased rhetoric regarding public health in an effort to go viral is so low and so so dangerous. Abstinence teaching does not equate to safe sex."

Nurse Holly, who has not publically shared her last name, later deleted the video and explained to BuzzFeed News that she initially created it so younger girls who follow her understand "that there can be benefits of saving sexuality for one partner."

"I understand that my voice will not be accepted by many as it’s an unpopular view," she told the outlet. "This video was simply created with the intention of helping little girls see that saving sex for one partner may have certain benefits."

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