On October 6, a Saskatchewan university professor named Dr. Kyle Anderson caused a stir on Twitter after he announced that former People’s Party of Canada candidate Mark Friesen was in hospital with COVID-19.
This post quickly gained attention, resulting in multiple statements from Dr. Anderson trying to explain his actions, as well as drawing ire from the dean of the University of Saskatchewan's medicine department.
Friesen has been a staunch critic of several of the province’s COVID-19 policies, including mandatory masking, lockdowns, and now the proof-of-vaccination policy.
While Dr. Anderson claimed that he was just inquiring about a ‘friend’ in hospital, Friesen and Anderson's difference of opinion on COVID policy has caused some to question whether this post was done with less than honorable intentions.
While Anderson maintains that his intentions were good, a pivotal fact remains: he released private medical information on a public platform without permission of the person in question.
Reviews on social media were mixed. Several supporters of Dr. Anderson’s and members of the general public expressed glee that Mr. Friesen might be in hospital, or claiming he ‘deserved’ it.
Many others, however — even those who do support Anderson — were disgusted by this action, noting that despite disagreeing on vaccines and other COVID measures, outing a patient’s medical status was inappropriate and unethical.
One thing is clear: this short two-part tweet caused a hearty, feisty debate across multiple platforms, one which outlines not only the importance of medical ethics and privacy policies, but also demonstrates the intense divide between opposing beliefs when it comes to all things related to this pandemic.