Ellsworth doctor faces license suspension over COVID misinformation allegations/ Maine Public Radio and Bangor Daily News

Ellsworth doctor faces license suspension over COVID misinformation allegations

https://bangordailynews.com/2022/01/11/news/hancock/ellsworth-doctor-faces-license-suspension-over-covid-misinformation-allegations/

In this March 2, 2021, file photo, pharmacy technician Hollie Maloney loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A state medical board moved Tuesday to temporarily suspend the license of a doctor accused of spreading misinformation related to COVID-19. The doctor, who recently participated in a briefing with state lawmakers on COVID, will also have to undergo a psychological examination at the request of the licensing board.

During a virtual meeting, Maine’s Board of Licensure in Medicine voted unanimously to conduct a further investigation into Dr. Meryl Nass of Ellsworth in response to at least two complaints that she was spreading misinformation about COVID-19. The board also voted to subpoena additional records from Nass and approved suspending her license for 30 days during the investigation, although it also gave the doctor another option.

“We are putting into place an emergency 30-day suspension with the option of the licensee transitioning to inactive status if they would like to do that,” board member Dr. Renee Fay-Leblanc said while outlining the proposed board actions prior to the vote. The board gave her 24 hours to decide whether to drop her active to inactive status – meaning she cannot actively see patients – or the 30-day suspension will kick in.

The board never mentioned Nass by name and conducted much of its discussions in executive session because the confidentiality of both physicians and complainants are protected during initial investigations.

But the board also ordered a psychological evaluation of Nass – which is allowed under state law as part of the licensure process – and the text of that 5-page order addressed to Nass was made public.

“In the interests of public health and safety, the Board may compel a physician to submit to a mental or physical examination upon a complaint or allegation that the physician is or may be unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of a mental illness, alcohol intemperance, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, or as a result of a mental or physical condition interfering with the competent practice of medicine,” reads the order. “By practicing medicine in this State, every physician licensed is deemed to have given consent to a mental or physical examination when directed in writing by the Board.”

Nass could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. She has practiced medicine for more than 40 years. But she wrote in a blog post over the weekend that her attorney predicted she was likely to lose her license during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Nass also has not been shy about broadcasting her criticism of the state and federal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She is affiliated with a prominent national anti-vaccination group and often suggests COVID vaccines are not only ineffective but harmful. She called the U.S. CDC a “criminal agency” and had accused federal health officials of conspiring to suppress the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat COVID in order to push newer, more expensive treatments.

Last month, she admitted both to Maine’s medical licensing board and to state lawmakers that she lied to a pharmacist in order to help a COVID patient secure one of those drugs.

“And so I lied and said the patient had Lyme disease, which is another legitimate reason to get this drug,” Nass said during a briefing for lawmakers that featured several doctors critical of Maine’s vaccination mandate for health care workers. “And so the pharmacist dispensed the medication only because I lied. If I had said the patient was getting it for COVID, they would not have received the drug.”

It was unclear if that disclosure was among the multiple issues the board plans to investigate. But a list of 25 questions that the board plans to send to Nass includes one asking for data to support her claim that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are “effective treatments” against COVID.

The board also asked for medical data to support her statement in a September blog post that COVID vaccines are quote “associated with high rates of miscarriages.”

In another question, the board asked if she offers vaccinations to patients in her office and what information she gives to patients regarding COVID vaccines. During an interview last month with Maine Public, Nass said she did not recommend or discourage vaccination but lays out the benefits and risks as she knows them.

But Nass is a vocal critic of the vaccination campaign in her blog posts. And she identifies herself as a consultant to Children’s Health Defense, a group led by Bobby Kennedy Jr. that the Associated Press has labeled as an “anti-vaccine juggernaut.”

Nass suggested during that interview with Maine Public that she welcomed the scrutiny.

“And I am very happy to discuss in any forum, in front of any board, in front of the board of licensure in Medicine how to treat a COVID patient,” she said. “I have plenty of experience.”

Nass is at least the second physician in Maine to face professional repercussions over allegedly spreading COVID misinformation. Dr. Paul Gosselin of Waterville had his license temporarily suspended by the Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure in December after receiving complaints about misinformation. The board is also reviewing vaccine exemption letters signed by Gosselin.

That board is expected to hold a hearing on Gosselin’s case later this month. The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine has not yet set dates for hearings on Nass but gave the doctor 30 days to respond to their lengthy list of questions.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ron Goes
Ron Goes
6 months ago

How very Soviet of them. In the old Soviet Union, dissident scientists and other were deemed 'crazy' and were sent to mental hospitals. In this case you should take your lawyer to monitor the session. A Delta Captain was directed to after safety complaints and was told to do the same thing. She was fired but won her case. This is a standard trick.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

So sorry bout the whole sh*t show happening to you. Gaslighting, shaming, threatening, and now punishing you.

You are a strong person.

John
John
6 months ago

Does the Maine Medical Board plan to overturn the first amendment? Dr M Nass MD science information is largely from published medical journals and scientists latest information on range of medical topics of interest to fellow physicians and fellow citizens with range of views open to science views with bases on scientific method. Like trying to shut down the libraries, beware.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

Dr. Nass, Have you seen this … link below … about doctors in Australia being threatened with investigation if they 'interfere' with the vaccine rollout. Evidently 'interfering' means using professional judgement in determining how best to treat a patient. What is the point of going to a medical doctor if he is unable to treat you properly, his hands are tied, and he is being muzzled by the government? This appears to be worldwide. Coincidence or planned?

I agree with the previous comment. I remember reading about an esteemed physician in France being forced into a psychiatric hospital though I cannot document the incident at the moment. We know the stories about this tactic being used by governments. It is outrageous and a complete betrayal of the public trust.
https://www.brighteon.com/7152632f-ea67-4dec-98d2-f323ddc87b99

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

https://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=2381979&an=1

STATE OFMAINE
BOARD OFLICENSURE IN MEDICINE 137 STATE HOUSE STATION
AUGUSTA, MAI NE 04333-0137
Louisa Barnhart, MD CHAIR
Dennis E. Smith, JD
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Timothy E. Terranova
ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
JOINT STATEMENT OF THE BOARD OF OSTEOPATHIC LICENSURE AND THE BOARD OF LICENSURE IN MEDICINE ON PRESCRIBING CHLOROQUINE, HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE, AND AZITHROMYCIN
There have been reports nationally as well as in Maine that physicians or physician assistants are prescribing chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to prevent or treat COVID-19, and they are prescribing these medications for themselves, family members, or for patients without symptoms or a COVID-19 diagnosis. Such activity may lead to stockpiling of medication, inappropriate use, and potential drug shortages for patients with a legitimate need for these medications.
During this coronavirus emergency, physicians and physician assistants must carefully follow established guidance and clinical evidence in making prescribing and treatment decisions. On March 28, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization for use of oral formulations of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate to be prescribed by doctors for hospitalized adult and adolescent patients.
IN ORDER TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE MAINE PHYSICIANS AND PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS ARE REMINDED THAT:
Absent acute or emergency circumstances, prescribing for oneself or family members is considered unethical and unprofessional conduct. It may also violate applicable Board rules.
Prescribing chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin for prophylactic purposes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak may be considered unprofessional conduct, may negatively impact drug supplies impacting the health of existing patients who are established on these medications for treatment of their disease, and may lead to improper use which can cause patient harm.
Physicians and physician assistants are reminded to prescribe appropriately and to consider medication side effects, drug interactions, contraindications, and appropriate monitoring requirements (e.g. laboratory and cardiac testing). Meeting appropriate monitoring requirements for patients may be limited or restricted during this pandemic. You must exercise sound professional judgment and adhere to evidence- based standards of practice in making your prescribing and treatment decisions.
Effective: April 14, 2020

Anon3
Anon3
6 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Do the board members get psych exams every year? Do they make their tax returns public? How about drugs tests? How do we know they are competent and ethical enough to determine care standards for other people?
Maybe it is time to look into this.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

How silly of me to have thought that the Maine board of medical licensure lacked the authority to define "misinformation". Dr. Nass, I highly doubt if a single board member has one tenth the understanding of vaccines or of the history of CDC/FDA incompetence as you do.

As Maine Public "reporter" Kevin Miller shows us, anyone who is a "critic of the vaccination campaign" is guilty.

-Rob Lord, Falmouth, Maine

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

My response was "this is so soviet" and then I clicked to the first response.

This is also done to caregivers when someone else wants the elder's money and applies for guardianship. No evidence necessary and neither party may be allowed to be present!

Anon2
Anon2
6 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

That’s right. In some states, networks of predatory lawyers, judges, and care agencies specialize in that disgusting scam, even without a greedy relative involved.

Anon2
Anon2
6 months ago

You might consider contacting Del Bigtree at The Highwire. He did a segment about a doctor in Oregon who had a board after him with spurious allegations. The publicity raised a lot of money for his legal defense.

Scroll to Top