RICHLAND —A Richland doctor has been charged with unprofessional conduct by the Washington state Medical Commission for what it says was improper prescribing of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.
One of Dr. Michael Kwame Turner’s patients died of COVID-19 after he prescribed the medication, according to a Washington state Department of Health document.
Now the Silent Majority Foundation based in Pasco has joined with Turner and three other doctors to file a lawsuit in Benton County Superior Court.
The doctors are asking a judge to halt Washington Medical Commission proceedings against doctors who have been investigated after prescribing ivermectin or for sharing false or misleading information on COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or ivermectin.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved ivermecitin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in people and has cautioned against potential risks.
Turner is accused of not meeting standards of care when he prescribed ivermectin to five patients, several of whom filled out an online form requesting the medication.
In September 2021, a 74-year-old man who Turner had not treated before filled out the form, saying that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been coughing for several days.
Turner spoke with him by telephone and prescribed ivermectin plus two other medications.
Turner failed to discuss alternate treatments with the patient, including treatment with monoclonal antibodies, even though the patient was at high risk of serious illness from the coronavirus due to his age, obesity, being unvaccinated and having post traumatic stress disorder, according to a state document.
A high risk patient who is within 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 should be offered monoclonal antibodies, according to a state document.
Breathing became increasingly difficult for the man, and he was taken to a hospital by ambulance six days after Turner prescribed ivermectin.
Not only is there insufficient evidence that ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID-19, but it can elevate liver enzymes, according to the state document.
Because the patient had elevated liver enzymes when he arrived at the hospital, he could not be treated with remdesivir, an FDA approved treatment for COVID-19, according to a state document.
The patient died of respiratory failure 10 days after being admitted to the hospital.
In two of Turner’s other cases cited by the Washington Medical Commission, patients in September and October 2021 filled out the form requesting ivermectin and said they had been taking ivermectin paste that was sold as a dewormer for horses.
Turner prescribed ivermectin pills, which are approved for treating conditions cased by parasitic worms in humans, to both of they without seeing them in person.
He had not previously treated either of them. One was 85 and the other was 76.
Both indicated on the form that they had liver disease.
Ivermectin can cause liver damage, according to the state document. One also was taking a prescription medicine that increases the affect of ivermectin.
Turner also failed to address their use of ivermectin formulated for horses or to discuss vaccination to prevent COVID-19, according to the state document.
The state investigation has harmed Turner’s reputation and he has been unable to get medical licenses in other states, according to the Silent Majority Foundation lawsuit.
It says the Washington Medical Commission, the state agency that investigates physicians and physician assistants for unprofessional conduct, has overreached its authority.
The commission should have provided notice and taken public comment before it adopted a position statement on COVID-19 misinformation in September 2021, according to the lawsuit.
The position statement says that the commission relies on the FDA approval of medications for COVID-19 treatment as the standard of care and notes that ivermectin is not FDA approved for treating or preventing COVID-19.
“Treatments and recommendations regarding this disease that fall below standard of care as established by medical experts, federal authorities and legitimate medical research are potentially subject to disciplinary action,” the position statement says.
It also said that physicians or physician assistants who spread misinformation about COVID-19 erode the public trust in the medical profession and endanger patients.
The Silent Majority Foundation lawsuit says that violates the right of medical professionals to speak freely on medical treatments.
The three other doctors who filed the lawsuit include:
Dr. Richard Wilkinson, the owner of Wilkinson Wellness Clinic in Yakima, is charged with unprofessional conduct for allegedly making false and misleading statements on his website about the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines and public health officials, according to a Washington Medical Commission document.
Statements included that the pandemic was a scam, that masks are useless to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that the FDA, Washington state Department of Health and the Yakima Health Department should not be trusted, according to a state document.
He compared the push for COVID-19 vaccination with the murder of Jewish people in Hitler’s Germany, according to a state document.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and that million of people in the United States have received the vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
His statements are dangerous to individual patients and generate mistrust in the medical profession, according to the Washington Medical Commission.
Wilkinson also is accused by the commission of providing negligent care to seven patients to prevent or treat COVID-19 infections in 2021.
He prescribed ivermectin to them, including to two patients, both 84, without getting their consent or seeing them after their daughter called and said they had fevers for three days, according to a state document.
In another case a 65-year-old COVID-19 patient who had been taken by ambulance to a hospital emergency room left the hospital against medical advice. He saw Wilkinson later that day, obtaining an ivermectin prescription that the hospital doctors had refused him, according to a state document.
Several days later the patient returned to the hospital, where he died due to COVID-19.
Another patient, age 91, had been taking ivermectin paste meant for horses, had been exposed to COVID-19 and had a fever when Wilkinson saw him for the first time in a virtual visit.
Wilkinson prescribed ivermectin and did not ask if the patient was vaccinated.
A week later the patient was taken to the hospital by ambulance and was admitted. By then he had COVID-19 too long to be treated with remdesivir and the family refused another COVID-19 treatment, baricitinib. The patient died a week after arriving at the hospital.
Wilkinson’s reputation has been harmed by the Washington Medical Commission’s investigation, according to the lawsuit.
Dr. Renata Moon, who was a Spokane pediatrician, relinquished her Washington state medical license under duress after seeing investigations against other doctors who spread what the commission considers misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a court document.
She was told by her employer, Washington State University, that based on her public comments she would be reported to the Washington Medical Commission. This summer WSU told her that her contract would not be renewed, according to a court document.
The Washington Medical Commission lists her license as expired with no current enforcement action.
Dr. Ryan Cole, a Garden City, Idaho, pathologist, who represents Ada County on Idaho’s Central District Health Board, maintains a Washington state medical license because he does laboratory review of skin biopsies sent from Washington, according to a court document.
The Washington Medical Commission has charged him with unprofessional conduct for what it says were numerous false and misleading statements during public presentation, including misinformation on wearing masks, COVID-19 vaccines and ivermectin.
That included statements that a Boise area surgeon died due to the COVID-19 vaccine, despite the fact hat the surgeon died of a heart attack six months after being vaccinated, according to a state commission document.
He also is accused of prescribing ivermectin to four patients after exchanging information through instant message chats.
He did not document justification for the treatment, did not take a medical history and did not obtain informed consent, according to the Washington Medical Commission.
He also did not provide adequate opportunity for follow-up care, treated patients beyond his competency level and did not advise patients about standard treatment guidelines and preventive measures, according to the commission.
As the result of the commission’s investigation, Cole lost health insurance contracts and revenue, according to the lawsuit filed in Benton County.
He also has lost his status as a fellow of the College of American Pathologists, according to a court document.