The ABC has cautioned Dr Norman Swan over his ‘disrespectful’ comments linking the heart-attack deaths of Shane Warne and Kimberley Kitching to the Covid.
The tax-payer funded broadcaster said he breached its editorial standards on Wednesday after he issued an apology on ABC News Breakfast.
Dr Swan had told Daily Mail Australia it was ‘too much of a coincidence’ that the Senator and the cricket legend had died of ‘sudden cardiac arrests’ in their 50s after contracting the virus.
He copped a backlash when it was revealed Ms Kitching had not contracted the virus before her death.
The ABC said in a statement: ‘Dr Swan has had discussions with ABC management about the comments. He understands the comments did not meet the ABC’s editorial standards.’
Warne’s former manager James Erskine place some of the blame with the ABC, saying the ‘totally disrespectful’ and ‘asinine’ comments should never have even made it to air.
The ABC has cautioned Dr Norman Swan (pictured) over his ‘disrespectful’ comments linking the heart-attack deaths of Shane Warne and Kimberley Kitching to the Covid
The tax-payer funded broadcaster said he breached its editorial standards on Wednesday after he issued an apology on ABC News Breakfast
‘Why would anyone take any notice of what this guy has to say? What on earth would he know about Shane’s health?,’ Mr Erskine told The Australian.
‘Maybe he (Dr Swan) could tell us who really killed JFK.’
Warne died aged just 52 of a sudden heart attack on March 4 while on holiday in Thailand a few weeks after a mild case of Covid.
Senator Kitching also succumbed to a suspected heart attack six days later, at the same age, but had not contracted Covid before her death or tested positive previously.
2GB radio host Ben Fordham launched a fiery attack on the former physician and broadcaster on Wednesday, claiming Dr Swan should be ‘ashamed of himself’.
He accused Dr Swan of ‘speculating like a gossip columnist’ and called on the ABC to de-platform the health expert, calling him ‘no better than the anti-vaxxers who claim that every famous person who’s died in the last two years and died of the jab’.
‘He hasn’t practiced medicine since the 1980s for starters – that’s how long it’s been since he’s been in the doctor’s room treating a patient,’ Fordham claimed.
‘Because of coronavirus he was in the right place at the right time and he became a bit of a superstar at the ABC.
‘We’ve been calling out his doomsday scenarios, trying to scare the life out of people when it comes to coronavirus, always giving the worst case scenario… (but) he has overstepped the mark in a major way.’
Warne died aged just 52 of a sudden heart attack on March 4 while on holiday in Thailand a few weeks after a mild case of Covid
Dr Swan had said it was ‘too much of a coincidence’ that Kitching and Warne had died through ‘sudden cardiac arrests’ after having contracted Covid-19
It wasn’t the first time Dr Swam had made comment about the leg spinner’s death.
Back in March he said that Warne’s ‘nutty’ liquid diet could have been a risk factor in his heart attack.
The cricketer had just finished an extreme 14-day liquid diet before he flew to Thailand where he died.
‘Who knows what happened with Shane Warne but regardless it doesn’t sound like he was on a balanced diet in terms of losing weight,’ Dr Swan said.
‘These ‘800-calorie diets’ have got to be done with medical advice and it’s got to be nutritious.’
‘Some people suggest meal replacement shakes because the reputable ones will give you a balanced set of nutrients, rather than going on a nutty diet with just fluids only.’
‘You cannot just go and drink stuff, no matter how green it is, for a month’.
Dr Norman Swan has warned against extreme liquid diets. Shane Warne (pictured in 2002) had just completed a 14-day liquid diet before he died in Thailand
Dr Swan has since issued a grovelling apology for ‘speculating’ about the two high-profile deaths.
‘I’ve personally apologised to Andrew her husband,’ Dr Swan told news.com.au.
‘I’ve clearly made an error which I deeply regret. I do recall such reports and have checked with others who did too but that doesn’t excuse my having upset the family.’
He added that he wouldn’t have aired his theories on the deaths on live TV if he had thought it would have hurt the families involved.
‘I think it helps to have an explanation and this might be one, and it’s a message to other people that you have to be careful and not blasé about catching this,’ he said.
Former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth (pictured) publicly criticised Dr Swan saying: ‘You can’t go wrong if you just avoid making assumptions and speculating about causes of death, particularly when they were both so tragic’
Dr Nick Coatsworth, remembered as the face of Australia’s vaccine rollout, told the radio host on Wednesday: ‘I think Norman would be the first to agree that it wasn’t his best moment in the pandemic.’
‘You can’t go wrong if you just avoid making assumptions and speculating about causes of death, particularly when they were both so tragic,’ he continued.
The former deputy chief medial officer said speculation had no place in the current Covid discourse and questioned Dr Swan’s motivations.
‘Why would Dr Swan at this point in the pandemic be bringing up a study that talks about increased clots in the arteries that could potentially be linked to a heart attack that was conducted in 2020,’ he asked.
‘This was pre vaccine, pre the omicron wave and pre the amount of hybrid immunity that we’ve got in the community. It’s creating this concern with a study that was conducted in a different era of the pandemic.’