“And how many problems did we have in our clinic from that?” he asked. “Zero! Absolutely none.”
LaTulippe’s license to practice medicine has now been suspended.
Explaining the suspension in a written order Friday, the Oregon Medical Board said LaTulippe’s disdain for public health measures went far beyond staff going maskless. The Dallas, Ore.-based doctor not only fails to take basic precautions, the board said, but also “actively promotes transmission of the virus within the extended community” by his poor example. The board alleges that LaTulippe regularly misinforms patients — especially elderly ones and children — with warnings that mask-wearing is “very dangerous” and can lead to serious health issues.
LaTulippe’s conduct “is contrary to medical ethics and does or might constitute a danger to the health or safety of the public,” the board’s suspension order states. It accuses him of “gross negligence.”
The Washington Post could not immediately reach LaTulippe for comment Saturday evening.
The state board’s catalogue of concerns begins with LaTulippe’s alleged July advice to a patient. According to the board, LaTulippe told the patient that wearing masks does not prevent the spread of the coronavirus and instructed against isolating, because exposure to other people would give the patient immunity to covid-19.
The person was “terminated as a patient” a few weeks later, the board says, after questioning LaTulippe’s advice.
LaTulippe also urged people entering his clinic to remove their masks, according to the state board, and directed people to a YouTube video with misinformation. The board dismisses the doctor’s reported claims that masks will harm people by increasing their levels of carbon dioxide: “The amount of carbon dioxide re-breathed within a mask is trivial,” the order for license suspension states.
A board investigator who visited LaTulippe’s clinic Wednesday found not only a lack of masks but also no coronavirus screening measures such as temperature-taking and no hand sanitizer in the waiting area, according to the order. A notice told visitors about carbon dioxide toxicity “warning signs,” it says.
Many scientific studies have found that new infections fell notably after leaders instructed people to consistently wear masks. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate in September that masks are “the most important, powerful public health tool we have” for combating the pandemic.
LaTulippe has defended his positions in public, telling NBC News in a recent interview that he believes there is “bad science” behind mask-wearing recommendations. Speaking at last month’s Salem gathering of Trump supporters — who had rallied around false claims of a stolen election — LaTulippe said he wants to expose “corona mania” and claimed that coronavirus has “been with us forever.”
He is not the only health-care worker to face repercussions for a dismissive attitude toward the virus and public health precautions.
An Oregon nurse was put on administrative leave last month after bragging on TikTok about not wearing a mask outside work. With an online backlash mounting, Salem Health said in a statement that the nurse “displayed cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic and her indifference towards physical distancing and masking out of work.”
Marisa Iati contributed to this report.