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Activist Seek Punishment for COVID-Skeptical Doctors Who Deny Leftist Dogma

'It’s a scam, and we protect Americans from scams...'

(Headline USA) They have decried the coronavirus pandemic as a hoax, promoted controversial treatments and pushed sensational stories about vaccine side-effects, including that the shots magnetize the human body.

Yet, the purveyors of these COVID conspiracy theories are not shadowy figures operating in the dark corners of the internet. They are a small but vocal group of doctors practicing medicine in communities around the country.

Now medical boards are under increasing political pressure from radical left-wing activists to tamp down on any professional dissent that could undermine the prevailing dogma.

Activists have called on them to take a harder line by disciplining the doctors, including potentially revoking their licenses.

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At least a dozen regulatory boards in states such as Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine and Texas recently issued sanctions against some doctors, but many of the most prolific promoters of COVID-19 skepticism still have unblemished medical licenses.

“Just because it is physicians, it is no different than if someone called you claiming to be the IRS trying to steal your money,” complained Brian Castrucci, president and chief executive officer of the de Beaumont Foundation. “It’s a scam, and we protect Americans from scams.”

De Beaumont, a leftist advocacy group, established by the founder of the Brookstone lifestyle chain, receives funding from at least three far-left charities.

It boasted among its recent board members John Auerbach—a former Northeastern University professor who was, coincidentally, tapped to be the director of Intergovernmental and Strategic Affairs at the deeply partisan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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De Beaumont also partnered recently with another leftist front group, No License For Disinformation on a report that sought to expose prominent skeptics in the medical field.

The report emerged a week after the Federation of State Medical Boards released a survey that found that 67% of the boards had seen an increase in complaints about COVID-19 misinformation—a telltale signal that the activist effort is being centrally coordinated.

But gaslighting health officials with the FSMB, a nonprofit advocacy group, insisted the opposite was true—that it signaled a growing public concern at the grassroots level.

It “is a sign of how widespread the issue has become,” claimed Humayun Chaudhry, president and CEO of the FSMB.

Activists claim there is widespread support for cracking down on such doctors, according to a national poll with a miniscule sample size that was conveniently conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation.

In the survey of 2,200 adults, 91% of respondents said doctors do not have the right to intentionally spread false information.

But policing doctors is no easy feat for boards that were created long before social media. Their investigations tend to move slowly, taking months or even years, and many of their proceedings are private.

Castrucci said it is time for them to “evolve,” but doing so is challenging.

This month, Tennessee’s medical licensing board removed from its website a recently adopted policy that purported to govern misinformation.

The board allegedly faced pressure from a GOP state lawmaker and a new law imposing sprawling virus-related restrictions.

Even individual board members have complained about being targeted for GOP harassment.

In California, the president of the state’s medical board, Kristina Lawson, said America’s Frontline Doctors, a group of anti-vaccine activists, stalked her at home and followed her to her office earlier this month.

The group’s leader, Dr. Simone Gold, who was arrested during the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, tweeted this month to her nearly 390,000 followers that “nurses know that Covid patients are dying from government subsidized hospital protocols (Remdesivir, intubation), NOT from Covid.”

Gold remains a licensed physician in California, although her emergency medicine certification lapsed last year. Complaints and investigations are not public in the state, so it is unclear whether she faces any.

In Idaho, the state’s medical association got so frustrated with pathologist Dr. Ryan Cole’s promotion of the widely available drug ivermectin that it filed a complaint with the state medical board.

Susie Keller, the association’s chief executive director, said she believed it was the first time the group sought action against one of its own.

The spreading skepticism has “actually caused our physicians and nurses to be subjected to verbal assaults” by patients, Keller complained.

Cole did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press, but his work voicemail said that he is “unable to prescribe medications or issue vaccine or mask exemption letters.”

The voicemail also directed callers to the website of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a group that champions ivermectin.

Under Idaho law, all investigations of physicians are conducted in private unless there is a formal hearing. The Washington state medical board, meanwhile, is investigating five complaints about Cole, spokeswoman Stephanie Mason said.

Investigating the doctor’s private counsel to his patients is “very challenging in that a lot of action isn’t documented,” she wrote in an email. Many examples “happen quietly in an office.”

In Ohio, the state’s medical board automatically renewed the license of Sherri Tenpenny in September after the Cleveland-based osteopathic doctor testified this summer before a state House Health Committee that COVID-19 vaccines cause magnetism.

Vaccine recipients “can put a key on their forehead; it sticks,” Tenpenny said.

(Note: Headline USA was unable to independently verify or dismiss the claim.)

Jerica Stewart, a spokesperson for the state’s medical board, said that a recent license renewal doesn’t prevent the board from taking action.

“Making a false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading statement” is grounds for discipline, Stewart said.

In Texas, Dr. Stella Immanuel appeared in a video that promoted the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. “You don’t need masks. There is a cure.”

In October, the Texas Medical Board ordered her to pay $500 and improve her consent procedures because it found she had prescribed hydroxychloroquine to a COVID-19 patient without adequate explanation of the potential health consequences, records show.

Immanuel did not respond to a Facebook message from the AP, and the medical practice where she works did not respond to an email.

Nick Sawyer, who heads No License For Disinformation, described the action against Immanuel as a “small slap on the wrist” and accused the nation’s medical boards of “not doing their job of protecting public health.”

Sawyer claimed he has seen the damage firsthand as he practices emergency medicine in Sacramento, California.

He said a diabetic patient in her 70s insisted just this month that she didn’t have COVID-19 despite testing positive, then demanded ivermectin and signed out against medical advice when the drug was denied.

“She said, ‘If I have COVID, you gave it to me,'” he recalled, blaming the woman’s resistance on misinformation-spreading doctors. “It is killing us.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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