Leaders of the Idaho Medical Association called for an investigation into the controversial pathologist Ryan Cole, MD, over his prescribing of ivermectin to COVID-19 patients, according to a report from KTVB.
The officials, Steven Kohtz, MD, president of the association’s Board of Trustees, and Susie Keller, CEO of the association, wrote a letter to the state’s Board of Medicine on October 7, stating that Cole — who has spoken out against COVID-19 vaccines — has said “he has treated patients ‘from Florida to California'” with ivermectin.
“While he has criticized those who advocate vaccination against COVID-19 for violating their ethical obligation to ‘first do no harm,’ in fact he likely has violated that very ethical admonition by advising against vaccination and promoting the use of ivermectin instead,” the officials wrote. “We believe his practice, as he has described it himself, is not in keeping with the Idaho community standard of care and does more harm than good.”
The leaders stated that they are concerned that Cole has violated state code by providing healthcare that does not meet standard of care, has promoted the sale of drugs that are not medically indicated, and has been “engaging in … conduct that constitutes an abuse or exploitation of a patient arising out of the trust and confidence placed in the physician by the patient.”
Kohtz and Keller also drew attention to Cole’s public statements about COVID-19, which they said “are at significant odds with commonly understood medical treatment of COVID-19 and fail to meet the community standard of care.” They added that they believe these statements are wrong, unsupported by medical research, and dangerous to members of the public.
In a statement to MedPage Today, Cole invited the association members to discuss the nature of their concerns with him, stating that filing a complaint and threatening his license is “unprofessional” and “sows distrust within the medical community and with patients in our state.”
“We can do better as a profession than to silence those who have a different perspective,” Cole said. Accompanied by his attorneys, Cole added that he will work with others “around the country who have been wrongfully attacked in the media and by those within the medical profession as we fight back against these unfounded complaints and actions.”
The pathologist, who runs a medical testing center in Boise, garnered national attention over his false statements about the COVID-19 vaccine. Cole has falsely claimed that mRNA vaccines can cause cancer and autoimmune disease, has touted the benefits of ivermectin (which is not proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19), and has stated that public health leaders should encourage people to take vitamin D instead of wearing masks and social distancing, according to a fact-checking organization affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.
Speaking at a summit hosted by America’s Frontline Doctors last July, Cole also referred to the COVID-19 vaccine as “a fake vaccine,” “the clot shot,” and even “needle rape.” He later told KTVB that he was being “tongue-in-cheek,” but maintained that he did not support forcing people to take the vaccine and that he and his family would not be getting the shot.
Despite these statements, Cole was appointed to the lone physician seat on one of Idaho’s regional medical boards last month, after it let a physician member go for supporting pandemic restrictions, according to the Washington Post. The member that Cole replaced had served on the board for 15 years, and was a former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Most believed that an epidemiologist who was endorsed by the Idaho Medical Association was the clear choice for the job. But Cole was selected by county officials because of his “outsider” perspective and willingness to “question” established medical guidance, the Post stated.
The complaint made against Cole has not resulted in an investigation at this time. Cole’s license to practice medicine in Idaho is still active, and no disciplinary actions have been taken by the state’s Board of Medicine. In an email to MedPage Today, the Board of Medicine stated that information about complaints against licensees is confidential, and exempt from public disclosure.
Last Updated October 15, 2021