Doctors who are seeing significant success with alternative treatment therapies to combat the Chinese coronavirus are continuing to run into problems with the Texas Medical Board.
But despite the bureaucratic onslaught and calls for relief, State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) says there have been no actions taken by Gov. Greg Abbott or the Texas Legislature to signal a change going forward.
Since the Chinese coronavirus entered Texas earlier this year, Hall has been vocal in supporting doctors who have had success with antiviral remedies, such as hydroxychloroquine—a drug long used to fight malaria. As the state medical board threatened doctors for prescribing that drug—and others—to fight the virus, Hall advocated loudly to the board as well as the governor to allow doctors to treat their patients.
On Wednesday, Hall held a virtual “Boots-on-the-Ground” press conference with multiple physicians who shared their experiences with alternative treatments, as well as the hurdles and threats they have faced from medical bureaucrats.
“One of the biggest things we’ve lost in this overall pandemic is choice. In the past, we’ve had the freedom of choosing our physician. We’ve had the freedom of choosing a car. We’ve had the freedom of choosing whether we go to a game … choice has been taken away for us, and we are being mandated on things we have to do, and this must be changed,” said Dr. Dennis Spence of Tyler.
Dr. Stella Immanuel of Houston agreed. First trained in Nigeria, Immanuel became very well versed in the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating malaria.
Although COVID-19 hit Nigeria around the same time it hit the United States, she argued, the spread was less due to the prevalence of anti-malaria treatments taken by visitors to the country.
“Hydroxychloroquine works, and we need to stop letting people die,” Immanuel said.
Though some clinical trials on the drug have suggested it may not be effective in treating the coronavirus or may have harmful side effects, Dr. Richard Urso, a physician at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, said those studies have been riddled with problems.
Urso said they performed studies at the wrong time, too late in the treatment process, gave toxic doses, and used randomized phone surveys—a process he called “a joke.”
“We need to do real studies,” he explained.
In the meantime, other doctors are demanding the TMB allow them to serve their patients as they see fit.
“The state medical board immediately should drop any barriers to any prescription initiated by a doctor to care for a patient with COVID-19,” said Dr. Peter McCullough.
Dr. Richard Bartlett, an Odessa doctor who gained attention earlier this summer for his “silver bullet” treatment plan (consisting of an inhaled steroid along with zinc and antibiotics), decried the current situation where doctors are afraid of repercussions for treating their patients.
“This is unconscionable,” Bartlett said, “and we need to jump tracks to a winning strategy.”
That winning strategy, according to State Sen. Bob Hall, is to move from a defensive-only approach to an offensive one, by allowing and encouraging the use of existing drugs, promoting early intervention and treatment, and encouraging prophylactic protocols to build personal immune systems all while protecting those most vulnerable—the elderly and immune-compromised.
So far, however, Hall says he hasn’t seen action yet from Gov. Greg Abbott or the Legislature to move in this direction.
“Do I see movement being made? No, absolutely none,” Hall told Texas Scorecard, noting that despite writing the governor multiple times, he has thus far received no response.
Hall said that he’s encountered even further resistance when speaking with the Texas Medical Board and the Texas Pharmacy Board.
“I get incredible pushback from them, as if they are little gods over their kingdom, and they’re going to do what the bureaucrats in Washington tell them to do,” Hall said. “We’ve seen that the opposition to this is not organic, it comes out of Washington.”
Dr. Mark McDonald, a child psychologist in Los Angeles, said his No. 1 driver right now across the country is “the pandemic of fear.”
“I believe that fear in its ultimate form, which is hysteria, has driven virtually all of the wrong-headed government responses and medical mis-decision making that we’ve seen since the beginning of this pandemic,” said McDonald, highlighting in particular the effect that fear is having on children as they return to school.
“Children are now becoming afraid of people. That is a clinical illness. That is actually a disease,” McDonald added.
Hall ended the virtual conference by vowing to continue bringing attention to the subject and encouraging citizens to make their voices heard to their lawmakers.