A doctor in Oregon had his license suspended after an investigation revealed that despite the coronavirus pandemic, he and his staff refused to wear face masks while at the clinic and urged patients to remove theirs upon entering the facility. According to a written order, Dr. Steven A LaTulippe, a physician at South View Medical Arts in Dallas, Ore., also allegedly told his patients that masks were ineffective.
“Licensee and the staff in his clinic refuse to wear masks in the clinic and urge persons who enter the clinic wearing masks to remove their masks,” the order charges. “Licensee regularly tells his patients that masks are ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and should not be worn. Licensee further asserts that, because virus particles are so small, they will pass through the recommended N95 masks and most other face coverings people are choosing to wear. Licensee directs patients to a YouTube video providing false information about mask wearing.”
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The written order comes after LaTulippe appeared at a Nov. 7 “Stop the Steal” rally, where he boasted about not wearing a mask and urged others to ditch theirs, according to Yahoo News.
The document also accuses LaTulippe of telling pediatric and elderly patients that wearing a mask is “very dangerous” because it can exacerbate COPD, asthma and other health conditions, as well as cause or contribute to serious health conditions including heart attacks, strokes, collapsed lungs, MRSA, pneumonia and hypertension.
He is also accused of terminating a patient after he was questioned about asymptomatic testing and mask use. In July, LaTulippe allegedly counseled his patient against asymptomatic testing and said the patient did not need to self-isolate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has since stated that up to 50% of COVID-19 cases are transmitted by asymptomatic spreaders, or persons who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness. The agency has argued that universal mask use helps reduce this type of spread.
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“On Dec. 2, 2020, a board investigator visited Licensee’s clinic and observed: neither patients nor health providers were wearing masks; no screening procedures were in place or being conducted (e.g, taking patient temperatures on or before entering the clinic); no hand sanitizer was available in the waiting area; a sign was posted in the public area of the clinic with ‘warning signs’ of CO2 toxicity; an article was posted in the public area of the clinic, with a portion of the article highlighted that claims 94% of the individuals who will experience serious effects of COVID-19 have co-morbidities,” the order states.
As such, the board said LaTulippe “constitutes an immediate danger to the public and presents a serious danger to the public health and safety.” He will have the chance to appeal his suspension.
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As of Monday, Oregon tallied more than 81,000 coronavirus cases and over 1,000 deaths.