The Consequences of Prescribing Ivermectin during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Consequences of Prescribing Ivermectin during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a recent case in Washington state, physician Dr. Wei-Hsung Lin faced scrutiny and a $5,000 fine from the state’s medical board for prescribing ivermectin during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the board’s censure and reprimands, Dr. Lin’s dedication to his patients’ well-being should be acknowledged, as the patients he treated showed signs of improvement under his care.

The board’s actions were in response to what they deemed substandard care of five patients in 2021. Dr. Lin was also required to undertake continuing medical education (CME) classes on COVID-19 and the patient-physician relationship. In one notable case, Dr. Lin prescribed ivermectin to a 69-year-old man with a complex medical history, including heart ailments and anticoagulant use. Despite initial concerns about potential drug interactions, the patient reported feeling better after following Dr. Lin’s guidance.

Another case involved a 71-year-old woman who was COVID-positive and later hospitalized with pneumonia. Although her symptoms initially did not improve, she recovered and credited Dr. Lin’s proactive treatment approach. Additionally, Dr. Lin prescribed ivermectin to a 37-year-old woman experiencing post-vaccine symptoms, which he linked to persistent spike protein effects and symptoms similar to long-term effects of COVID-19. Her condition stabilized and improved, underscoring the personalized care Dr. Lin provided.

Furthermore, Dr. Lin prescribed ivermectin to a 67-year-old patient without documented medical reasons. This patient, too, reported positive outcomes, demonstrating Dr. Lin’s commitment to exploring all avenues for patient recovery.

In response to these incidents, the medical board restricted Dr. Lin from prescribing ivermectin for non-FDA-approved indications. He must now conduct in-person or video appointments before prescribing medications and fulfill additional CME requirements focusing on COVID-19 prevention, treatment, and management, as well as the physician-patient relationship and maintaining medical records. Dr. Lin must submit papers on what he has learned from these courses and adhere to compliance audits. We agree that this is an unjustified action posed by Washington State.

Medical Center’s Response and Legal Challenges

Kadlec Regional Medical Center, where Dr. Lin practices, emphasized that while they do not recommend or allow ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention or treatment, they respect the rights of patients and physicians to explore treatment options. Four other doctors in Washington state are challenging the medical board’s position on COVID-19 misinformation, with three facing disciplinary action related to their care of COVID-19 patients. Despite these isolated cases, disciplinary actions against clinicians for pandemic-related actions remain infrequent.

The case of Dr. Wei-Hsung Lin highlights the complexities of medical decision-making during unprecedented public health emergencies. Despite the board’s actions, Dr. Lin’s patients experienced improvements, reflecting his dedication to their care. Healthcare providers must stay informed, prioritize patient well-being, and uphold professional standards to ensure the delivery of high-quality care. Dr. Lin’s case serves as a reminder that patient outcomes and compassionate care should always be at the forefront of medical practice. Even in the face of controversy, he made the right decision for his patients and should not receive punitive action by the State of Washington.

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