Oregon’s Medical Board voted Thursday to suspend a physician’s license indefinitely after he boasted that he and his staff have “not once” worn masks in his clinic to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
The board issued an “emergency” order to immediately suspend Dr. Steven LaTulippe’s medical license “due to the board’s concern for the safety and welfare of licensee’s current and future patients,” according to a statement on the board’s website.
LaTulippe, who owns the family practice clinic South View Medical Arts in Dallas, southwest of Portland, dismissed the importance of masks in a Nov. 7 speech at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Salem last month after the presidential election.
“I want to expose what I call corona mania,” LaTulippe declared in the video at the rally in a videotape posted to YouTube by a local Republican Party. He called on people to “take off the mask of shame.”
“I hate to tell you this, I might scare you, but I and my staff, none of us, once wore a mask in my clinic,” he added to cheers from the crowd. “And how many problems did we have in our clinic from that? Zero.” He claimed that his clinic had treated 75 people with COVID-19.
LaTulippe told the crowd: “We have been utterly duped. I want you to know that this is insanity, and the purpose was only to shut down the American people. This is a threat to your freedom, a threat to our Constitution.”
LaTulippe erroneously equated the virus to a “common cold” virus. Nearly 279,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.
He told NBC News Wednesday that he does ask patients who believe they have COVID-19 and have symptoms to wear a mask in his clinic. LaTulippe said he treats them in a “back room” that’s disinfected.
“I’m very interested in sound medical practice, and I’m interested in good science,” he told NBC. “When science and medicine become perverted with corrupt politics, then I’m up for a fight, and that’s what made me go to that rally and say what I said.”
State board online documents obtained by NBC News noted that LaTulippe’s license was suspended for engaging in “unprofessional conduct or dishonorable conduct.”
The documents noted that he allegedly told a patient seeking guidance about COVID-19 in July that asymptomatic people should not get tested, that a mask does not prevent transmission, and not to self-isolate because exposure to others would develop immunity to the coronavirus.
Infectious disease experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend face masks as one of the most basic and effective protections against the transmission of COVID-19.
The indefinite suspension of LaTulippe’s medical license bars him from practicing medicine anywhere in the state.
He could not immediately be reached for comment by HuffPost.
Check out LaTulippe’s boast about not wearing a mask in his clinic in the video up top. His comments about COVID-19 begin at 0:55.
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