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If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made all too painfully undeniable, it’s that there are a lot of healthcare professionals out who are very awful people, with very awful, unscientific beliefs about the pandemic, pushing awful unproven treatments, unscientific treatments, or even just plain quackery (often based on conspiracy theories) to prevent or treat COVID-19, while denying the efficacy of public health interventions such as masking and social distancing, using bad science to deny the severity of the pandemic, and even participating in the ongoing disinformation war against COVID-19 vaccines being waged by antivaxxers. Sadly, more than a few of these disinformation spreaders are physicians, with some of the usual antivax physician suspects jumping on the COVID-19 denial grift train so effortlessly. Sadly, physicians behaving badly is nothing new, as there are antivaccine pediatricians(!) like Dr. Bob Sears and Larry Palevsky, and many have been the times that I’ve bemoaned the seeming inability of state medical boards to act to take away the licenses of quacks like Stanislaw Burzynski (who’s managed to keep practicing in Texas since the late 1970s despite peddling nonsense) and antivaxxers who endanger their patients—or even of just run of the mill utterly incompetent surgeons.

That’s why I was so elated over the weekend to see a medical board doing what medical boards should do. I’m referring, of course, to the Oregon Medical Board, which recently decided to act against the licenses of two doctors spreading disinformation about medicine and thereby endangering their patients and the public, Dr. Steven LaTulippe and Dr. Paul Thomas, the latter of whom will be the main topic of this post, for reasons that will become apparent as you continue to read. I will, however, mention first why the Oregon Medical Board suspended Dr. LaTulippe’s license first:

From a local news story:

The Oregon Medical Board suspended the license of an Oregon doctor who said he refuses to wear a mask in his clinic while also encouraging others to not wear masks.

Dr. Steven LaTulippe told a pro-Trump rally in November that neither he nor his staff wears a mask while working in their Dallas, Ore. clinic. That violates a state order requiring health care workers to wear a face-covering in health care settings.

Members of the medical board voted Thursday evening to suspend LaTulippe’s license immediately. According to a statement on the Oregon Medical Board website, the suspension was issued “due to the board’s concern for the safety and welfare of licensee’s current and future patients.”

The indefinite suspension prevents LaTulippe from practicing medicine anywhere in the state. LaTuilippe ran a family practice clinic called South View Medical Arts in Dallas, Ore.

I found it particularly amusing that it was the Oregon Republican Party that posted the video that led to the spotlight being shone on Dr. LaTulippe’s crank beliefs and ultimately to his license being suspended:

Nice job, Oregon Republicans! More videos like this, please, so that we can identify other COVID-19 denying quacks for the Oregon Medical Board to examine! There’s so much disinformation in just Dr. LaTulippe’s brief remarks, including his claims that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is rapidly mutating and has already mutated into something else (not true), meaning that COVID-19 is “over” (whatever that means). Someone like him should not be let anywhere near COVID-19 patients, and not just because he believes so much nonsense but because his failure to adhere to infection control protocols (like facemasks) will facilitate the spread of the virus, possibly to his other patients.

The Oregon Medical Board suspends the medical license of antivaccine pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas

I’m more interested in the story of Dr. Paul Thomas, than that of Dr. LaTulippe. The reason is that Dr. Thomas is an antivaccine pediatrician whom I’ve been covering for nearly three years at my not-so-secret other blog but who, for whatever reason, has only been briefly mentioned in passing here on SBM. He is, like Dr. Bob Sears, a pediatrician. Like Dr. Sears, he has also made a name for himself promoting antivaccine pseudoscience, propaganda, and disinformation, even writing a book, like the one written by Dr. Sears, that promotes an “alternative” vaccine schedule not based in science. Unlike Dr. Sears, he has claimed to do “science” to support his assertions that unvaccinated children are healthier than vaccinated children. (More on that later.) From my perspective, it appears that Dr. Thomas is much more into “integrative pediatrics” woo than Dr. Sears, which puts him on a similar level with another antivaccine pediatrician, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, who showed up in the news a year and a half ago during all the measles outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland County, NY spreading antivaccine pseudoscience to Orthodox Jews.

The suspension of Dr. Thomas’ license last week by the Oregon Medical Board provides me with the perfect pretext to discuss him, as he’s been a rising star in the antivaccine movement since around 2017 or 2018 and recently made waves with a really awful “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study that claimed to find that unvaccinated children are healthier. More importantly, it provides me with the opportunity to discuss my belief that antivaccine physicians should lose their medical licenses because, by definition, they are practicing so far below the standard of care that they endanger their patients.

Here’s a PDF of the Oregon Medical Board’s order, issued on December 3. Let’s take a look at some key passages. First, however, note how the order points out that Oregon law allows its medical board to temporarily suspend the license of a physician without a hearing when the “Board has evidence that indicates that Licensee’s continued practice constitutes an immediate danger to the public” or finds that “that Licensee’s continued practice of medicine by a physician presents a serious danger to the public health or safety”. This is important in that I don’t recall any previous cases in which a quack or antivaxxer had their license suspended because their state medical board viewed them as such a threat to patients or public health.

Let’s get to the meat of the findings, shall we?

The Board finds that Licensee’s conduct has breached the standard of care and has placed the health and safety of many of his patients at serious risk of harm. It is therefore necessary to emergently suspend Licensee’s license to practice medicine. The acts and conduct that support this Order for Emergency Suspension follow:

3.1 Licensee has published an alternative vaccination schedule that decreases the frequency of many recommended vaccines and omits others, including rotavirus. Licensee promotes his unique, “Dr. Paul approved” schedule as providing superior results to any other option, namely improved health on many measures, and fraudulently asserts that following his vaccine schedule will prevent or decrease the incidence of autism and other developmental disorders. Licensee uses this claim to solicit parental “refusal” of full vaccination for their children, thereby exposing them to multiple potentially debilitating and life-threatening illnesses, including tetanus, hepatitis, pertussis (whooping cough), rotavirus, measles, mumps, and rubella.

Licensee’s promotion of this alternative vaccination schedule exposes patients to the risk of harm in violation of ORS 677.190(1)(a), as defined by ORS 677.188(4)(a).

This, of course, is nothing new. Dr. Thomas published his book (co-authoring it with another rising star in the antivaccine movement, Jennifer Margulis), The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health- from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years, nearly five years ago. That, of course, brings up the question of why the Oregon Medical Board considered it necessary to suspend Dr. Thomas’s license on an emergent basis, before a full hearing. The most serious (to me) of Dr. Thomas’ “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct which exposed his patients to the risk of harm, as well as gross or repeated acts of negligence in violation of ORS 677.190(13)” listed by the Board in its order of emergency suspension was this one:

3.3.3 Patient D, a now 9-year-old male, was completely non-immunized. Patient D sustained a large, deep scalp laceration at home in a farm setting on August 8, 2017, and was treated with colloidal silver and with his parents suturing the wound independently. Patient D subsequently developed acute tetanus requiring intubation, tracheotomy, feeding tube placement and an almost two- month ICU stay at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Patient D was then transferred to Legacy Rehabilitation. Licensee saw Patient D for follow-up in clinic on November 17, 2017. Licensee’s notes documented a referral to a homeopath, recommendation of fish oil supplements, and “phosphatidyl seine.” He did not document an informed consent discussion about the risk/benefit of immunization for a child who had just sustained and still had sequelae of, and remained vulnerable despite prior infection, to tetanus, a life-threatening and disabling disease that is preventable by proper vaccination. Licensee’s care placed Patient D at serious risk of harm and constitutes gross negligence.

The standard of care, of course, after a laceration resulting in what must have been a grossly contaminated wound in a child (or adult) who has either not had a tetanus vaccination or whose tetanus vaccination status is unclear or in doubt is to recommend a tetanus booster plus tetanus immune globulin (TIG). Colloidal silver won’t cut it, being quackery. Homeopathy certainly won’t cut it, being The One Quackery To Rule Them All. (I note that Dr. Thomas’ practice is an “integrative pediatrics” practice, which of course goes along with his general antivaccine bent.) Basically, if the facts of this case are as stated by the suspension order, this is gross malpractice of the most negligent kind, in my not-so-humble opinion. It’s even worse than that, because he did it twice! Not only did he not recommend tetanus vaccination (and, apparently, TIG) once when the child first presented with his laceration, but he did it a second time, not recommending it during a followup visit after the child’s hospital discharge! Tetanus infection doesn’t make you immune to a second infection, because it’s a toxin produced by Clostridium tetani, the bacteria tetanus that causes tetanus, that is dangerous. The child was still susceptible to tetanus when Dr. Thomas saw him after discharge.

That’s not all when it comes to preventable disease due to Dr. Thomas’ medical negligence, though. For instance, there were children who were hospitalized with rotavirus infections, including a ten year old girl and twins born at 35 weeks gestation, who developed rotavirus gastroenteritis at ten months of age and required hospitalization for five days. For these latter patients, the Board does note this:

Licensee’s clinic chart contains documentation of parental refusal of vaccines, but they are inconsistent regarding specific vaccines and their timing. In addition, Patient G and Patient H’s mother stated during hospitalization that she thought her children had received rotavirus vaccine. Failure to adequately document specific parental refusal and lack of providing parental clarity constitute acts of negligence.

Correct. These cases demonstrate extreme medical negligence, and there is no excuse. Similarly, so is placing the fake diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease on a girl and then not following the standard of care to work up her symptoms:

3.3.5 Patient F is a 7-year-old female who Licensee followed in clinic for constipation, food allergies, mold allergies and possible “chronic Lyme disease. Review of her chart from Licensee’s clinic reveals that she was nonimmunized. Licensee ordered repeated IgE allergy panels and recommended elimination diets, vitamin supplements and provided antibiotics for acute infections. Licensee failed to provide an appropriate referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist to exclude a diagnosis of malabsorption or celiac disease, a referral to pediatric allergy/immunology or to pediatric nutrition. Licensee’s neglect to seek consultative support and oversight, and his failure to address Patient F’s lack of immunizations, placed the health of this patient at serious risk and was grossly negligent.

Not doing a proper, science-based medical workup to rule out potential medical and physiological causes of a patient’s symptoms and instead treating them for fake diagnoses constitute malpractice in my book.

There are also cases described in which Dr. Thomas measured antibody titers for measles, mumps, and rubella, using those levels to decide not to give the additional doses of the vaccine recommended. Never mind that, as the Board put it, except for “rare cases of suspected immune deficiency, there is no clinical indication for assessment of antibody titers” and regardless “of antibody titers, the standard of care requires a second dose of the recommended MMR vaccination”.

Then, as one might expect for an antivaccine pediatrician, there were cases in which the child developed a vaccine-preventable disease, such as an 11-year-old boy who was on Dr. Thomas’ delayed schedule and developed pertussis. One case like this involved not just failure to vaccinate, but gross patient mismanagement:

3.3.2 Patient C is a now 7-year-old male. He was admitted to Randall Children’s Hospital in August 2013 at approximately 10 weeks of life with fever and a diagnosis of Kawasaki’s disease. Licensee saw Patient C in clinic for three days in clinic with fever. Though Dr. Thomas reevaluated Patient C daily and sent repeated labs, he made a clinical decision to treat a febrile child a less than 3 months old with intramuscular ceftriaxone on the basis of a “bagged” and not catharized urine sample and in the absence of blood cultures. Any child of this age is at higher risk for serious bacterial infection (late onset group B strep, pneumococcal bacteremia, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, meningitis) as well as inflammatory illnesses such as Kawasaki’s disease. Licensee breached the standard of care by failing to refer Patient C to the Emergency Room or hospital for definitive lab testing (guided bladder tap, blood cultures done with bedside ultrasound, possible lumbar puncture) and observation. Licensee’s management of Patient C’s illness in clinic breached the standard of care. Patient C remained non immunized for pertussis and subsequently contracted pertussis when his older brother, Patient C, became ill with pertussis on September 24, 2018.

Even I know that you have to take a persistent fever in an infant under three months old a lot more seriously than Dr. Thomas did, and I’m not even a pediatrician or internist.

Here’s a particularly interesting finding by the Board. I’ll preface this finding by noting that “integrative doctors” like Dr. Thomas almost always tout their supposedly superior ability to “listen to patient concerns” and to “work with patients”. They tout their “respect” for their patients’ wishes, negatively contrasting it with, apparently, the cold, unfeeling, dismissive behavior of science-based physicians. It turns out though, that if the following allegations recounted in the Board’s order are true, Dr. Thomas is not so respectful of parents who are pro-vaccine and want the standard vaccine schedule:

3.2 Licensee is insistent and direct in his communication with parents and guardians that they should accept his alternative vaccine schedule.

What does the Board mean by that? It provides two examples:

3.2.1 A patient’s mother sought subsequent treatment by Provider X after having been “reduced to tears” by Licensee’s “bullying” her into his personal vaccine schedule against her express wishes for full vaccination for her child.

3.2.2 Patient A’s mother requested polio and rotavirus vaccinations for Patient A according to CDC Recommendations, but Licensee did not have those vaccines in the clinic, and Patient A would therefore not be able to get them. Patient A’s mother reported that the Licensee questioned why she wanted Patient A to get the polio vaccine and asked whether they were traveling to Africa. During the appointment, Licensee continually connected vaccines (not specific) with autism. Licensee asked her how awful she would feel if Patient A got autism and she could have prevented it.

So Dr. Thomas reduced one mother to tears because she wanted to follow the standard, science-based CDC-recommended vaccine schedule for her child, as he tried to bully her into accepting his unproven “alternative vaccine schedule.” (Funny, but doesn’t this sound like a common description by antivax mothers of pediatricians and nurses trying to persuade them to accept the CDC vaccine schedule, that of bullies.) He also tried to guilt another mother into not giving her child recommended vaccines using a false claim that vaccines cause autism, an antivaccine claim that has been tested time and time and time again through numerous studies, none of which has produced any scientifically convincing evidence that vaccines cause or even are associated with an increased risk of autism. I guess that Dr. Thomas is understanding, empathetic, and willing to work with parents, as long as the parents do what he wants them to do, rather like the caricature of science-based physicians recommending the standard CDC-recommended vaccine schedule. The word “projection” comes to mind here.

And I do love what the Board wrote here:

3.1 Licensee has published an alternative vaccination schedule that decreases the frequency of many recommended vaccines and omits others, including rotavirus. Licensee promotes his unique, “Dr. Paul approved” schedule as providing superior results to any other option, namely improved health on many measures, and fraudulently asserts that following his vaccine schedule will prevent or decrease the incidence of autism and other developmental disorders. Licensee uses this claim to solicit parental “refusal” of full vaccination for their children, thereby exposing them to multiple potentially debilitating and life-threatening illnesses, including tetanus, hepatitis, pertussis (whooping cough), rotavirus, measles, mumps, and rubella.

And here:

Licensee’s false claims regarding the safety of the CDC Recommendations, his failure in following these Recommendations absent unsolicited parental refusal of vaccines, his failure to document any such refusal, and his failure to adequately vaccinate children is grossly negligent in violation of ORS 677.190(13) and exposed his patients to the risk of harm in violation of ORS 677.190(1)(a), as defined in ORS 677.188(4)(a).

Because making demonstrably false claims about vaccines in order to dissuade patients from vaccinating or parents from vaccinating their children is fraud and malpractice, as far as I’m concerned, and should be grounds to suspend or even permanently revoke a physician’s license. Dr. Thomas’s antivaccine grift has real health consequences for children, and his popularity in the Portland area has real public health risks. Indeed, he was peddling his message during a measles outbreak nearly two years ago.

Dr. Thomas: A rising star in the antivaccine movement

As I said near the beginning of this post, Dr. Thomas has been a rising star in the antivaccine movement ever since he first published his book touting his “alternative vaccine schedule”. Unsurprisingly, in his promotion of his book, one can easily find all sorts of red flags for antivaccine pseudoscience, including favorite quack tropes about “blindly following your doctor’s recommendations” or “counting on some government agency to have your best interests first,” coupled with a sales pitch for his book, his videos, and, above all, his nutritional supplements. Supplements, did I say? Oh, yes. Dr. Thomas sells lots and lots of supplements, in particular “Dr. Paul Approved Nutraceuticals” (vitamins, minerals, herbs and more) that are “selected to maintain optimal cellular function and to restore optimal cellular function for those individuals with unique dietary requirements and sensitivities”.

Because of course he does.

Unsurprisingly, Dr. Thomas has, like Dr. Palevsky, jumped on the COVID-19 denial grift train with his new book, COVID-19: Life-Saving Strategies The News Media Will Never Tell You. Here’s a rule of thumb. Whenever you see a book title about how “They” don’t want you to know something, like Kevin Trudeau, run. It’s almost certainly a scam or, at best, misinformation. I can tell just from the blurb:

Are you worried that you or a loved one might die from COVID-19? It is your healthy immune system that protects you and keeps you alive. In COVID-19: Life-Saving Strategies the News Media Will Never Tell You, Paul Thomas, M.D. provides possible solutions backed by sound science and his experience in his own clinical practice. In this book, you will discover:

  • The best type of immune-boosting diet.
  • Why a ventilator should only be used as a last resort.
  • 6 essential dietary supplements that support immunity and lung health (Hint: It’s not just about vitamin C).
  • 1 possible way to get a conventional doctor to administer vitamin C while you’re in the hospital.
  • Many other easy-to-implement key action steps to strengthen your immune system.

This book provides a way to take your destiny into your own hands and dramatically increase your chances of staying healthy. The many scientific references included in the book also make it an ideal resource for health care providers.

Hard pass.

But how did Dr. Thomas get to where he is now? Certainly, he has followed the same sort of path that Dr. Sears did, publishing a book with an “alternative vaccination schedule” that delays and omits certain vaccines based on fear-mongering antivax pseudoscience claiming that vaccines cause autism, autoimmune disease, and all sorts of other problems, but that’s not all. He’s also been good about getting favorable press coverage from local and national media figures who are prone to “false balance” when it comes to vaccine stories, as he did with Genevieve Reaume, a reporter for KATU, the Portland, OR ABC affiliate, a year and a half ago. Her story went beyond false balance and, in the midst of an MMR outbreak in Portland and Washington, basically lionized Thomas as a “brave maverick doctor” being “persecuted” by The Man for his views. The basis of the story was Dr. Thomas’ claim that he is doing “studies” of the 15,000 patients in his practice and that then those studies “showed” that unvaccinated children are rarely diagnosed with autism. Unsurprisingly, it used poor study design and incorrect statistical analyses.

As I pointed out at the time, there are issues where there are not two sides to the story. Whether the MMR vaccine causes autism is one. Worse, when it comes to conspiracy theory-based movements like the antivax movement, facts don’t matter, and presenting antivaccine pseudoscience side-by-side with science does falsely elevate the pseudoscience, no matter how much refutation to antivax pseudoscience is included. Dr. Thomas was engaging in information warfare, and it’s asymmetric warfare. He continues to do so. What do I mean?

First, Dr. Thomas has teamed up with James Lyons-Weiler, whom you might recall attacking a study that found that autism is primarily genetic and using risibly incompetent science to try to demonstrate early in the pandemic that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (which at the time was still called 2019-nCoV) was not natural and had been engineered. A while back, Dr. Thomas teamed up with Lyons-Weiler to do antivaccine “science”. One of the early fruits of that collaboration (if you can call such a rancid piece of rotten science a “fruit”) was an incompetent study, published as the COVID-19 pandemic was getting started in China, that demonized aluminum adjuvants using some really incompetent pharmacokinetic modeling. It was a wonder to behold in its awfulness. The other “collaboration” between these antivaccine cranks involved a “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study.

What is a “vaxxed/unvaxxed” or “vaccinated/unvaccinated” study? I’ll remind those who might be unfamiliar with the concept or don’t remember it. It’s any study that compares health outcomes between a vaccinated cohort of children and those of an unvaccinated cohort. In its purist form, it is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing “vaxxed” to “unvaxxed.” Of course, such a study would be highly unethical because, by its very design, it would require that a group of children be intentionally placed in a control group that would be left vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases because the control group would only receive placebo vaccines. Antivaxxers don’t like it when that simple fact is pointed out to them, of course, because they really and truly believe that vaccines do more harm than good. Of course, it never occurs to them that their belief would make such a randomized, controlled clinical trial unethical as well, because they would be intentionally placing children into a group who would be—to them—being exposed to something they view as a grave threat to their health, vaccines. (After all, they believe that vaccines are toxins-laden interventions that cause autism, autoimmune diseases, obesity, alter DNA, render females infertile, and have created the “sickest generation” of children—and in some cases even kill.) True, their belief is erroneous, but intent matters. It all comes down to clinical equipoise, which is the genuine uncertainty over whether an intervention is on balance beneficial, harmful, or without detectable effect. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) of “vaxxed/unvaxxed” children violates clinical equipoise.

As a result, some of the savvier antivaxxers, who know that a “vaxxed/unvaxxed” RCT would be highly unethical (or who are at least willing to concede that the overwhelming view of physicians and scientists who do clinical trials is that a “vaxxed/unvaxxed” RCT would be highly unethical) have retreated back to suggesting observational “vaxxed/unvaxxed” studies, such as retrospective and epidemiological studies. The whole idea is that vaccines cause autism, the obesity epidemic, and in general the “sickest generation” of children, even though there is no evidence that they do. Of course, doing such a study is a hell of a lot more difficult than antivaxxers think, given how difficult it is to account for confounders and how many subjects are needed to provide sufficient power to detect differences in a condition whose prevalence is in the low single digit percentage range. Still, none of this has stopped antivaccine “scientists” and physicians from trying to do such studies. Unsurprisingly, the results are always dismal in that the studies are inevitably positive (i.e., claim to find that unvaccinated children are healthier than vaccinated children) but so poorly designed and executed that they are singularly uninformative and their conclusions are not supported by their data and design. Examples abound, unfortunately, such as risibly incompetent “vaxxed/unvaxxed” studies by Brian Hooker and Neil Z. Miller, studies by Anthony Mawson that were retracted and republished and retracted, Internet surveys by quacks about vaccinations, and a number of others that I could reference.

The even more rancid “fruit” of that collaboration, Thomas and Lyons-Weiler’s “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study, was published right before Thanksgiving. I’m not going to go into detail over why it was so bad, which you can just read here for the gory details. I will give you the Cliffs Notes version, which is that the study, apparently unable to find a statistically significant difference in health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children in Thomas’ practice using standard methods, Thomas and Lyons-Weiler invented a metric, the Relative Incidence of Office Visit (RIOV) and then did what sure looks to me like a lot of p-hacking to find statistically significant differences in the numbers of office visits for various diagnoses between the two groups as determined by billing records over 20 years. RIOV appears to have been designed to crank up sensitivity over specificity, thereby finding “differences” that might or might not mean anything (or even be real).

Worse, Thomas and Lyons-Weiler promise a “follow-up” study soon. I do wonder, though, how feasible that study will be given that Dr. Thomas can no longer treat patients, at least until there is a hearing before the Oregon Medical Board and possibly forever. (Obviously, I’m rooting for the latter possibility.) There will probably no effect, given that this has been a retrospective study. In any event, you can see how Thomas has teamed up with other antivaccine grifters to produce “science” to demonize vaccines.

Cry persecution!

Unsurprisingly, the reaction of antivaxxers to this news was to cry, “Persecution!” and “Freedom!” with a touch of “Fight forced vaccination!” conspiracy mongering. Indeed, on his website, Dr. Thomas posted this:

Dr. Paul now faces attacks on three fronts:

  1. Providence Health Plans, the largest local insurance company terminated all contracts.
  2. The State of Oregon terminated all contracts.
  3. BREAKING NEWS, the same week his data is published and CHD Defender posts about it comes:

“By order of the Oregon Medical Board, the license of Paul Norman Thomas, MD to practice medicine is hereby suspended, effective December 3, 2020, at 5:15 p.m. Pacific Time. As of this date and time, Licensee must stop practicing medicine until further order of the Board.”

Integrative Pediatrics and our providers are fighting to preserve your right to direct your child’s medical care with Providence Health Plan (PHP) and with those covered by OHP (Oregon Health Plan). PHP and the Oregon Health Authority (OHP) intend to terminate our provider contracts in an effort to restrict your provider choices and force you and your children into compliance with CDC vaccine “recommendations.”

In an unprecedented move the Oregon Medical board suspended my license without a hearing potentially endangering countless patients.

Dr. Paul and Integrative Pediatrics have secured a team for legal action, civil lawsuits, and a class-action lawsuit against patients’ wrongful abandonment by PHP and OHA / OHP and the Oregon Medical Board.

Of course, the part about patients being “abandoned” or “endangered” is nonsense. After all, as this news story notes, Dr. Thomas has eight doctors and nurse practitioners who work for him. Surely his partner or the docs who work for him can see his patients while his license is suspended. Unsurprisingly, although his practice does very well and he is anything but poor, Dr. Thomas has started a legal defense fund, the better to milk his antivaccine fans for cold hard cash. Meanwhile, antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was also rallying the antivaccine troops before this order was published:

In recent years, the Oregon Health Authority has targeted Dr. Thomas by removing his access to the CDC’s Vaccines For Children program, which pays for vaccines for low income families. Providence Health Plan and the Oregon Health Authority’s Oregon Health Plans, which are major health plans, have threatened to drop Dr. Thomas’ insurance coverage, claiming that the practice’s low vaccination rate signifies inferior care. These maneuvers could trigger a domino effect, closing down Dr. Thomas’ practice and leaving thousands of families with no pediatric care.

My response to this is that the closing of Dr. Thomas’ pediatrics practice would not be a bad thing. Quite the contrary. As for the Oregon Health Authority having removed his access to CDC’s Vaccines for Children program, I can’t help but wonder why Dr. Thomas cares, given how little enthusiasm he has for vaccinating according to the CDC schedule.

Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas’ “collaborator” took to video on Facebook:

Unsurprisingly, he starts his rant with COVID-19 disinformation, such as the “casedemic” before pivoting to ranting about the Oregon Medical Board’s action, bragging about their awful aluminum study and RIOV study. Even less surprisingly, he portrays the Board’s action as “a clear retaliation for daring to do science in the United States”. I must admit, I laughed out loud when he said that, given how utterly awful Dr. Thomas’ and his “science” was, but, hey, conspiracy mongerers gonna conspiracy monger. The Medical Board didn’t even mention the studies in its order, and state medical boards generally don’t take action regarding physician licenses based on their publications to peer-reviewed literature, no matter how awful or unethical the study. That’s not their charge, unless something in how the study was done could be proven to be a danger to patients or the public. Lyons-Weiler also pulls the “other patient” gambit because Dr. Thomas also practices—believe it or not!—addiction medicine, a truly frightening thought to me, given that he is an “integrative pediatrics” quack who is antivaccine.

Lyons-Weiler also portrays the suspension of Dr. Thomas’ license as a threat to their trial, to which I was tempted to say, “Good! It’s a scientifically crappy trial designed to generate propaganda and disinformation for the antivaccine movement”. What I’ll say instead is: How? It’s a retrospective study. The data are already there and just need to be analyzed in the manner the investigators stated that they would do. Given that there are 20 years’ worth of data, stopping now is unlikely to make any difference in the number of subjects in the study. Of course, likely Lyons-Weiler knows that, but realizes that his audience does not. He needs a threat, and he needs a hook to ask for money.

You get the idea.

State medical boards: More please!

What the Oregon Medical Board has done with Dr. Thomas (and Dr. LaTulippe) is a very rare occurrence. All too often, after being obtained for the first time medical licenses end up in practice being more like a right rather than a privilege, and it often takes incredible effort on the part of state medical boards to suspend or revoke a physician’s medical license, even quacks like Stanislaw Burzynski, who still has a Texas medical license after 40 years of Texas Medical Board efforts to stop his quackery. Look at Dr. Bob Sears, who did have his license restricted with the condition that he practice under the supervision of the Medical Board of California for three years. The list goes on.

Basically, it’s very difficult in most states (some more than others) for the state medical board to suspend or revoke a physician’s license, which is why many medical boards, by and large, tend to go after mainly the easiest, most obvious cases. That’s why the physician behaviors most likely to result in strong action against a medical license include running a prescription mill, sexual improprieties with patients, or practicing while impaired due to addiction to alcohol or illicit substances. It’s a matter of resource allocation and prioritization. State medical boards tend to react primarily to what they perceive to be the most immediately and obviously dangerous behaviors; most importantly, though, behaviors that can be definitively proven. It’s worse than that, though. In some states, Quacks like Dr. Rashid Buttar still practice and even have enough political influence among legislators to get state laws rewritten to be more favorable to quacks.

That’s why, seeing what the Oregon Medical Board did last week, suspending the licenses of two dangerous doctors in rapid succession, I can only say: More, please.

“Please, sir, I want some more.”

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Posted by David Gorski

Dr. Gorski's full information can be found here, along with information for patients. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. If you are a potential patient and found this page through a Google search, please check out Dr. Gorski's biographical information, disclaimers regarding his writings, and notice to patients here.