Especially in a pandemic.

 

By Physician’s Weekly blogger, Skeptical Scalpel

The Oregon Medical Board suspended the license of family practitioner Steven Latulippe for what it called “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct.” The board said his behavior was “an immediate danger to the public.”

His transgressions included the following: he told a patient that wearing a mask did not prevent transmission; he told a patient “not to self isolate because being around other people would provide immunity” from the virus; his staff did not wear masks; his patients were encouraged to remove their masks; he said in a video that Covid-19 was like a common cold.

Since when did a common cold cause 300,000 deaths?

Although Latulippe did not wear a mask when seeing patients, he required patients who thought they might have the virus or had virus-like symptoms to wear masks. He saw these patients at the end of the day in a special room that was disinfected before and after the encounter. Those are strange protocols for an illness that is supposedly like a common cold.

In a December 11 New York Times op-ed, psychiatrist Richard Friedman said we are not doing enough to stop dangerous doctors and likened their spreading misinformation to “something akin to malpractice.”

He called out Scott Atlas, a radiologist and Trump’s former special coronavirus advisor, for claiming masks did not work and supporting herd immunity and two other physicians, mask and social distance denier Ramin Oskoui and Jane Orient, a vaccine skeptic and hydroxychloroquine advocate. Friedman supported the Latulippe’s license suspension saying, “Doctors who provide outrageous advice that is far outside the bounds of accepted standards should be investigated by their state board and subject to sanctions, including revocation of their medical license.”

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He acknowledged there can be different ways to treat certain illnesses but said “no doctor should get away with pushing bad advice, especially during a pandemic.”

Kudos to the Oregon Medical Board for also suspending the license of pediatrician Paul Thomas who discourages parents from vaccinating their children. One of his patients, a 9-year-old boy, had never received any vaccinations. After suffering a scalp laceration on his family’s farm, he developed tetanus leading to a two-month ICU stay requiring intubation, tracheostomy, and tube feeding.

After the child was discharged from a rehabilitation center, the icing on the cake was that instead of immunizing him against tetanus, Thomas referred him to a homeopath who recommended fish oil supplements and “phosphatidyl seine.” The latter is a typo from the medical board’s Order of Emergency Suspension which should have read “phosphatidylserine.” A phospholipid found in the brain, it has been touted (without proof) as an Alzheimer’s treatment and a “brain supplement.” I found no evidence that it has any effect on post-tetanus symptoms.

Let’s hope this is the start of a movement. We need more physicians and medical boards to speak up and sanction physicians who have lost their way.

 

Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chair and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last 9 years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,700,000 page views, and he has over 21,000 followers on Twitter.