In 1633, Pope Urban VIII ordered the house arrest of Galileo Galilei for continuing his postings of the theory first put forth by Copernicus that the earth was not the center of the solar system but rather the sun was the center and the earth revolved around the sun. This was the second time Galileo had been arrested for the charge of “heresy” against The Church. Several other astronomers during that period of time entertained similar theories about the motion of the planets, but they were afraid to come forward because, not having the reputation of Galileo, they would have been sentenced far more severely than the Great Master. In the earlier investigation of Copernicus’s theories Pope Urban actually acquiesced to Galileo’s expertise on the matter and let the matter rest—it actually festered.
Over the past week starting with The Idaho Medical Association, then former Attorney General Jim Jones, and the former CEO of St. Luke’s have all come out against Dr. Ryan Cole who last week by a 2-1 vote was selected to serve on The Central District Health Board filling the seat formerly held by Dr. Ted Epperly. The criticism has been unrelenting. Mr. Jones offers in a Magic Valley Newspaper opinion the possibility that based on a Federation of State Medical Boards statement—-a statement that has no legal bases or predicate and that has never been tested in a court of law the possibility that merely publishing an opinion about a medical issue could be grounds for State Board of Medicine placing restrictions on a physician’s ability to practice medicine. So much for free speech and The 1st Amendment. The Statement from the Federation included these words”.
“Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.”
Mr. (Dr.) Jones then goes on to admit in language as ambiguous as many of his legal opinions:
“The authoritative FSMB pronouncement does not necessarily apply in physician disciplinary proceedings in Idaho. Rather, the IMB applies statutory guidelines enacted by the Idaho Legislature. It appears to me, however, that the Board is reading its statute too narrowly. The Board seems to believe that discipline can only be meted out where a traditional doctor-patient relationship is involved.”
Also in keeping with his evolution on the bench from being a strict constructionist and an originalist to being a judge who creates new law when a political narrative does not square with legal precedent, he suggests that the State Board of Medicine redefine the definition of the “practice of medicine” to include areas that intersect an individual’s rights to free speech. In the age of telemedicine and online doctor patient interactions this is certainly an area of law that the State Board of Medicine should ask the legislature for statutory help in further defining it’s role, but to limit a physician’s ability to speak or write freely on a subject where there is disagreement amongst scientists and clinicians, then such a strict definition of the practice of medicine only hinders thought and progress.
In Mr. (Dr.) Jones’ article he fails to disclose if he tried to discuss this issue with Dr. Cole prior to jumping onto the bandwagon of a progressive Faucian or should that be Faustian political narrative. Mr. (Dr.) Jones should know better than anyone that there is a big difference between the Standards of Medical Care and the Standards of Medical Practice—what doctors actually do. The idea that incorporating into a legal standard “clinical standard of care” is not only preposterous, but also impossible—Courts throughout our nation have so stated. And finally if you don’t believe me ask many of the pharmacists around the state about the supply of hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin. I know of many doctors who have a supply on hand of each for their families, but are afraid to prescribe these meds for their patients because of retribution from their employers or criticism from their peers—many who are in the same boat. And if you still don’t believe me where does the good doctor (Mr.) Jones think 500,000 doses of hydroxy went in the Tri-State area at the beginning of the pandemic—into the hands of health care workers—including many military doctors and nurses on the hospital ship Comfort.
What wasn’t stated in the Magic Valley opinion piece was that many reputable doctors from reputable institutions agree with many of Dr. Cole’s opinions. Dr. Marty Makary from John’s Hopkins and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Scott Atlas from Stanford, and on the clinical side Dr. Paul Marik from Eastern Virginia Medical School with colleagues across the country who have prescribed and written about the Covid protocol for cytokine storm—it took the medical establishment 6 months to publish his protocols that cut in hospital deaths by 40%—protocols being used today in our local hospitals. Dr. Marik has twice been considered for the Nobel Prize and he still couldn’t get his articles published early in the pandemic! And finally don’t forget the 50,000 health care experts worldwide who signed on to the Greater Barrington Project that was very much in line with Dr. Cole’s ideas.
Finally it needs to be stated that at least one member of the Governor’s Covid advisory team consulted with Dr. Cole on more than one occasion—Dr. Pape. Now he seems to be critical of Dr. Cole because he is not towing the party (IACI, IHA, IMA,) corporate lines.
A word about the most important aspect of the criticism surrounding Dr. Cole. He is absolutely the most qualified physician in Idaho to be on a health board especially during this pandemic. An Air Force Academy graduate, Mayo Clinic trained pathologist with a special certificate in virology. Compare those credentials with the previous person that held that position—or any other doctor in Idaho.
I have on several occasion read of Dr. (MR.) Jones’ respect for Abraham Lincoln. One of my favorite Lincoln quotes and I paraphrase is if everyone sitting around the table has the same solution to the problem at hand, then nobody is thinking. Dr. Cole is always thinking. He is not a yes man.
Who does Dr. (Mr.) Jim Jones think he is? Pope Urban VIII or maybe Edward Jenner—people also laughed at him.
Many smart people who aren’t trained or disciplined in the scientific method don’t understand is what the great surgeon Robert Zollinger told all his residents the day they graduated. “Remember everything I taught you because in your careers you will prove half of it to be untrue”.
People who follow the crowd don’t prove anything. Politicians, former State of Idaho Attorney Generals like Dr. (Mr.) Jones, the media, many so called experts who write “standard of care protocols” never contribute to the forward march of science or medicine. People like Dr. Cole and Dr. Zollinger do. Such people need to be respected or at least listened to. Trying to silence them only slows down progress.