U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams celebrated Independence Day by trumpeting a study which concluded that Tylenol worked as well as morphine for controlling the pain from a broken rib. But the study was complete nonsense. ACSH caught him and now he's backpedaling like the woman in the bicycle scene from The Wizard of Oz (played backward of course).
Fireworks can be an awful lot of fun on July 4th, but not so much if they blow up in your face. Unfortunately for Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, his face was in the wrong place on Independence Day because of a ridiculous paper in a ridiculous journal called Emergency (Tehran).
"Comparison of the Analgesic Effect of Intravenous Acetaminophen and Morphine Sulfate in Rib Fracture; a Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial" concludes that IV Tylenol works better (or as well) as morphine for patients who go to emergency departments for broken ribs - a notoriously painful injury.
Here are Dr. Adams' Tweets from July 3rd and 4th. Pay special attention to the one from July 4th on the right. Dr. Adams tells us that he unquestioningly believes the study results and offers no doubt about its accuracy.
It appears that Dr. Adams didn't bother to read the paper from which this conclusion was drawn. So I did. And it was a colossal mess, something I explained on July 8th (See Need General Surgery? Ignore The Surgeon General). The study was so bad that it was impossible to tell whether Tylenol worked better than morphine, morphine worked better than Tylenol, or either drug worked at all.
A few days later ACSH friend, Dr. Aric Hausknect, a New York neurologist and pain management expert, who has both written for and been interviewed by us) must have read the paper as well because his July 12th letter made what I had to say seem rather tame by comparison (See Dr. Aric Hausknecht Responds To SG Jerome Adams' Tylenol Recommendation).
Apparently, we hit the mark because in subsequent Tweets Dr. Adams was backpedaling like the bicycle scene from The Wizard of Oz played backward. Here are a few from July 13th...
Finally, there's this...
What Dr. Adams did is no different than what PROP, certain members of the CDC, politicians, academic zealots, and various other self-serving individuals and groups have been doing for almost a decade - making up a story and backing it up with faulty (or non-existent) research to "prove" a point.
We just happened to catch him.