Medical licensing boards face pushback for enforcing CDC vaccine recommendations, gender ideology

Pediatrician files $35 million lawsuit against regulator for investigations related to alternative vaccine schedule.

Published: July 5, 2022 5:20pm

Updated: July 5, 2022 11:23pm

Medical professionals are pushing back against licensing investigations based on their statements challenging both longstanding and recent medical orthodoxies.

A 30-year veteran of pediatric medicine filed a $35 million lawsuit against Oregon regulators for enforcing CDC vaccine recommendations, while British Columbia authorities dropped a "medically inaccurate" charge against a nurse for defending sex-based rights against gender ideology.

Investigations have proliferated in the COVID era. The highest-profile target is Minnesota Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen, now several months into his fifth investigation for allegedly promoting "civil disobedience" against President Biden's employer vaccine mandate, which the Supreme Court later blocked.

Referring to the state Board of Medical Practice, the family physician recently vowed, "This juggernaut will be dealt with," if he's elected.

A new survey suggests the medical profession, like Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, wants to escalate the purge.

A plurality (37%) of physicians in MedPage Today's reader poll, which included medical students, favored license revocation for spreading "COVID-19 misinformation" such as "masks do not protect the individual" and advising against "livesaving vaccine[s]." Managing Editor Ian Ingram told Just the News it had 366 respondents.

Portland-area pediatrician Paul Thomas is suing current and former members of the Oregon Medical Board (OMB), one of whom unsuccessfully ran for a Democratic congressional nomination this year, for "destroying [his] medical practice, his marriage, and his peace of mind." 

OMB objected to Thomas giving parents information on health outcomes for children who received "the full CDC recommended vaccine schedule" versus those who didn't, and publishing a different schedule in his 2016 book "The Vaccine-Friendly Plan," he claims. 

State regulators believe physicians must "strong-arm" resistant parents, leading many pediatricians in the Beaver State to refuse to treat their children, according to the Dartmouth Medical School graduate who grew up in rural Zimbabwe. 

OMB issued an emergency suspension of his license in December 2020 for a schedule "that decreases the frequency of many recommended vaccines and omits others, including rotavirus," but didn't give Thomas a "Complaint and Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action" until April 2021, according to his license page.

The suit claims this violated Oregon law, which requires "simultaneously" commencing proceedings, and would let OMB indefinitely deny doctors their "right to obtain and review the Board's investigatory file" for their defense.

CDC vaccine recommendations "are just that — recommendations," the suit says. OMB's "insistence on absolute fealty to the CDC recommendations is anti-science."

While the June 30 lawsuit doesn't mention COVID, whose vaccines received emergency use authorization (EUA) months after his suspension, Thomas says OMB has continued "scour[ing] the earth for material to charge" the pediatrician since his conditional reinstatement a year ago. He has received "one investigatory letter after another."

The board required him to stop discussing vaccination with parents, limit his practice to acute care, and exclude patients from his research under a June 2021 interim stipulated order. Months later, it issued an amended complaint and proposed discipline. Thomas still has his license as of July 5.

A gag order prevents Thomas from "discussing current investigations by the Board," including by sharing investigatory letters, his lawyer Stephen Joncus told Just the News.

A day before filing suit, on his "Against the Wind" show, Thomas discussed the CDC's promotion of "shots for tots" after the FDA issued EUAs for COVID vaccines starting at six months old. "Now more than ever it is up to us to protect our children!" he said.

OMB started a campaign to "harass and burden" Thomas in 2018 "under the guise" of investigating a complaint regarding a child he never treated, the suit says. He turned over hundreds of patient names but is not aware of any resulting disciplinary proceeding.

It came back in 2020 with a new complaint about unethical "human medical research" for a study on "the effects of variable vaccination on outcomes" among his anonymized patients, even though the Seattle-area Western Institutional Review Board signed off in 2015 and OMB had asked for data showing his schedule was better than the CDC's in 2019. 

Published days before the investigative committee suspended Thomas' license, the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health study found zero unvaccinated patients had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and their autism spectrum disorder rate was half the national average. 

"Our results give agency to calls for research conducted by individuals who are independent of any funding sources related to the vaccine industry," the study said.

The suit alleges First and Fourteenth Amendment violations, negligence for making knowingly false claims about Thomas based on "second-hand information," and defamation for the investigative report, among other claims.

OMB declined to comment to the Portland Business Journal.

The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) opened an investigation of nurse Amy Hamm last year after she put up a billboard that reads, "I (Heart) J.K. Rowling," referring to the "Harry Potter" author's support for rights based on sex, not gender identity.

BCCNM revised the charge against Hamm in a June 28 notice of her disciplinary hearing this fall, according to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which arranged for Hamm's defense. It no longer accuses her of sharing "medically inaccurate information," just "discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people."

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JCCF said the Vancouver Lesbian Collective started a "postcard campaign" against BCCNM weeks before the revised charge, asking why it was punishing Hamm for explaining why "sex matters in health care." 

BCCNM Director of Communications Alison Amratlal declined to explain the change because the proceeding is ongoing, again pointing Just the News to its professional conduct review process.

Hamm's lawyer, Lisa Bildy, told Just the News the removal of the "medically inaccurate" allegation "does not necessarily have a bearing on penalty," which BCCNM hasn't suggested yet. 

The live issue is "where the line should be drawn in the regulation of the off-duty speech of professionals," a growing target of activists, Bildy said. Hamm's is the only case she knows of involving "gender-critical regulatory complaints," in contrast to multiple investigations of healthcare providers for COVID-related speech.

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