A doctor in Maine with decades of experience treating patients has had her license suspended and will be forced to undergo a psychological evaluation after allegedly deceptively treating patients with hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin and sharing controversial opinions about COVID-19 online.
What are the details?
Last week, Maine’s Board of Licensure in Medicine voted unanimously to move forward with an investigation into Dr. Meryl Nass of Ellsworth after at least two complaints were lodged against her for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, Maine Public reported.
Nass, a doctor specializing in internal medicine who first obtained a license to practice medicine in Maine in 1997, was issued an immediate 30-day suspension on Jan. 12, according to the state medical board's suspension order.
In the order, the board accused Nass of "engaging in the practice of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in connection with services rendered within the scope of the license issued" as well as engaging in "unprofessional conduct" and conduct that "evidences a lack of ability or fitness to discharge" her duties.
The complaints against Nass include evidence that she used her personal blog to engage in "the public dissemination of ‘misinformation' regarding the SARS CoV2 pandemic."
In several blog posts dating back to last year, Nass questioned the safety and efficacy of widespread vaccination against COVID-19 and suggested that the vaccination campaign is being deployed, in part, to justify a vaccine passport system. At one point, she allegedly made an unsubstantiated claim that "COVID vaccines are associated with high rates of miscarriages."
Nass also allegedly surmised that recipients are "the guinea pigs" for new mRNA vaccines — such as the ones developed by Pfizer and Moderna — and contested that "there may be things in these vaccines that the government wants to inject in us.”
Nass — who is reportedly associated with the Children's Defense Fund, a prominent anti-vaccination group led by Bobby Kennedy Jr. — was also criticized for supporting the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
According to the order, on Dec. 19, a physician notified the board that Nass had diagnosed a sick, unvaccinated patient "over the phone" with COVID-19 and "prescribed 5 days of ivermectin" to treat the disease.
During a recent interview with the board over Zoom, Nass complained that she was "forced" to “provide misinformation" in order to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for another patient and admitted that she lied about that patient's medical condition.
"And so I lied and said the patient had Lyme disease, which is another legitimate reason to get this drug," Nass said. "And so the pharmacist dispensed the medication only because I lied. If I had said the patient was getting it for COVID, they would not have received the drug."
She added that she believes vaccines are "preventive, but they don’t work anymore against the Omicron variant."
How has she responded?
In an interview with McClatchy News, Nass slammed the board, accusing the board of targeting her and violating her rights to free speech.
She called "disinformation and misinformation" a "fuzzy concept" that the board hasn’t defined for her and added, "There’s no law that says doctors can’t express their educated opinion on any subject."
Regarding the ordered psych evaluation, Nass said, “I have no comment about submitting to a neuropsych exam, except that the board ordered me to do so on shaky grounds."
The doctor also told Maine Public that she welcomes scrutiny and is ready to defend her beliefs.
"I am very happy to discuss in any forum, in front of any board, in front of the board of licensure in Medicine how to treat a COVID patient,” she said. “I have plenty of experience."
Nass's suspension is scheduled to run through Feb. 11, as an investigation into the complaints against her is conducted.