“The Idaho Board of Medicine did not review records before closing a complaint that alleged that Dr. Ryan Cole was providing substandard care to Covid 19 patients”. This was the first sentence in an article by Audrey Dutton in the Idaho Gazette on December 21st. Mrs. Dutton is a talented well-educated journalist with numerous awards to her credit. I differ with her on almost every health care issue, but I wish I could write with her conciseness and style.
Mrs. Dutton suffers from a disease process far worse than H3N2 flue or Covid -19 (or both at the same time) and this is because she has three comorbid conditions that impact her journalistic morbidity and mortality: Conformation bias, outcome bias, and myopia. The sentence above shows how many in the media can’t see beyond their Pinocchian prejudicial proboscises. And this is sad because in the case of Mrs. Dutton, who is talented, those talents could be used to search for truth instead of supporting a political narrative.
The reason The State Board of Medicine (SBOM) didn’t review patient records of Dr. Ryan Cole’s was because not a single patient of Dr. Cole’s filed a complaint against him in Idaho. Hard to provide a patient’s record when there is not a patient complaint. Nasty little things like HIPPA and State Laws that protect patient confidentiality get in the way. A complaint was filed by The Idaho Medical Association (IMA)— a trade organization with a vested interest in protecting the financial interests of its’ members and not patients. The CEO of St. Luke’s, a former Idaho Attorney General, and the former CEO of non-profit St. Luke’s who made $18million his last two years of employment opined publicly and in newspaper opinion pieces about Dr. Cole. One of the large hospital systems in Idaho canceled a contract with Dr. Cole for pathology services. Considering the SBOM finding—I am not an attorney like Mr. Jim Jones or Dr. David Pate ESQ., one wonders if the hospital was correct when they canceled their contract with Dr. Cole?
I won’t go into the details about the allegations—public and private made against Dr. Cole. I will say that if one looks specifically at the IMA complaints and compares them to Dr. Cole’s public opinions and the advice he gave patients, Dr. Cole was correct in his assessments of the data, far more often than the “experts”. The Governor’s Covid advisory Board, the large hospital systems, or the Public Health Districts were many times wrong in their assessment of the data and in their recommendations regarding mitigation and treatment. The after-action reports from the (CDC) and (NIH)—where are the after-action reports from our state agencies(?), prove Dr. Cole’s positions were more correct than the “experts”. The pandemic was a new challenge. When theories supported by modern day public health experts and employed clinicians were very different than over 100 years of public health experience and practice and when the story was reported by a media to support a political narrative—centralized control, bad things happened. The doctor-patient relationship was destroyed. Dr. Cole gave advice to individual patients and offered his medical opinions publicly. Two very different practices. One defined by two standards in State Law—”The Standard of Care” and “The Standard of Medical Practice”, and the other defined by The First Amendment—free speech. We will let the expert lawyers argue when the practice of medicine and free speech are in conflict. Certainly, issues of due process in Dr. Cole’s and many other similar cases nationwide have not been respected by armchair pundits with and without a medical or legal credential.
I only disagreed with Dr. Cole about his vaccine recommendations. His insights into the limitations and complications of the mRNA vaccines, his belief that natural immunity was far better than artificial pharmaceutical immunity, and his prescient insights regarding the “back side of the bell curve” ramifications of front side mitigation—the second and third waves was correct. Let me say it again—Dr. Cole was right far more often regarding his Covid insights than “the experts” either in Idaho or at the Federal level.
A couple of other pieces in the article by Mrs. Dutton need to be corrected. I have known many pathologists who practiced general medicine. In the past both at the St. John free clinic in Boise and the Pocatello free clinic, pathologists have volunteered their services and provided care to indigent and marginalized patients. The IMA in the past has provided a statement regarding pathologists and radiologists volunteering their services in free clinics. The license to practice “Medicine and Surgery” in Idaho is the same license across all specialties.
The issue of documentation of services and Tele-Medicine needs to be tightened up in Idaho and many other States. These laws were exploited by many physicians and hospitals—especially during Covid and by those practicing “online mental health” and online “drug addiction” interventions. If Dr. Cole is to be held up by his fellow physicians for breaking Tele-medicine rules, they are the hypocrites.
The peer review process is done at the institutional level. Government agencies are not capable of handling these issues because of the very access to information that the press desires. The process needs to be private, otherwise there would be no peer review at all. Because of numerous breaches in confidentiality of the process, physicians have become less likely to come forward and discuss complications and bad outcomes in the peer review setting. Patient care has suffered as access to the peer review process has increased. The Morbidity and mortality conference that was the backbone of peer review for over one hundred years has become a thing of the past. This is an issue that Mrs. Dutton should investigate.
In short—Dr. Cole was correct far more often than his critics and the “experts”. That is the “whole truth”.
That is the way I see things from where I sit in Garden city.