The Oregon Medical Board has indefinitely revoked a doctor’s license after finding that he and his staff refused to wear face coverings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged patients visiting his clinic to remove theirs, concluding he is “a serious danger” to public health.
The panel voted on Thursday to issue an emergency suspension, determining that Dr. Steven LaTulippe “engaged in unprofessional conduct or dishonorable conduct.”
NBC News reports that the punishment comes weeks after LaTulippe spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally outside the State Capitol in Salem on November 7. A video uploaded to the Multnomah County Republicans’ YouTube account shows LaTulippe speaking over a microphone, downplaying coronavirus as a “common cold,” and condemning mitigation policies ordered by government officials. The doctor admitted he had not worn a face covering while treating people at his practice and told the crowd, “Do not let them put you into a state of fear.” He said he wanted to “expose corona mania.”
“The purpose was only to shut down the American people,” LaTulippe told attendees last month at the pro-Trump gathering. “This is a threat to your freedom, a threat to our Constitution. I petition all of you, please, take off the mask of shame. It is a mask that is just designed to control you and to shut you down.”
As NBC News reported:
According to the emergency suspension, LaTulippe in July allegedly told a patient who asked for guidance on when to get tested for the coronavirus that asymptomatic people should not be tested and that wearing a mask does not prevent transmission. LaTulippe directed the patient not to self-isolate because being around other people would provide immunity from Covid-19, according to the state board’s documents.
The medical board also found that LaTulippe and his staff refused to wear masks in the clinic and urged patients to remove their own masks. Medical board investigators who visited LaTulippe said there were no screening procedures upon entering the premises and no hand sanitizer was available in the waiting area.
As a result of these findings, the medical board ruled that LaTulippe “constitutes an immediate danger to the public, and presents a serious danger to the public health and safety.”
In an interview with the Salem Statesman Journal, LaTulippe said his office has strict coronavirus protocols in place. He has asked symptomatic patients to wear a mask to protect him during examinations, LaTulippe said. He called an executive order from Democratic Governor Kate Brown requiring health care professionals to wear face coverings “an illegal mandate.”
“She has no jurisdiction to be imposing shutdowns and to be telling any doctor how to practice medicine,” LaTulippe told the outlet. “I don’t think she knows as much as I do about microbiology, virology, epidemiology and infectious disease.”
He said he is an ordained minister and has been a physician in Dallas, Oregon, for more than twenty years. LaTulippe has treated approximately 75 cases of coronavirus, he said, adding that all of his patients recovered without requiring hospitalization. Describing covid as “a rapidly mutating virus,” LaTulippe believes “COVID-19 is no more” and has already mutated into multiple strains.
“I hate to tell you this – it might scare you, but I and my staff, none of us – once – wore a mask in my clinic,” LaTulippe said in the YouTube video. “We have been utterly duped, and I want you to know that this is insanity.”
LaTulippe’s advice conflicts with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which suggests wearing “well-fitting cloth face masks or facemasks to cover a person’s mouth and nose” to prevent the transmission of coronavirus. “Source control measures are recommended for everyone in a healthcare facility, even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19,” the CDC website says.
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