Dr. Meryl Nass, MD, had her Maine medical license temporarily suspended for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. I might have ignored this one, except Dr. Nass has written misleading articles about COVID-19 and vaccines for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one of our favorite anti-vaxxers.
State medical licensing boards are fighting back against COVID-19 disinformation, and Dr. Meryl Nass should have known better, but my expectations are obviously too high.
Let’s take a look at the case.
The case against Dr. Meryl Nass
On 11 January 2022, the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine voted unanimously to conduct a further investigation into Dr. Nass’ public statements about COVID-19 and the vaccines. The Board had received at least two complaints that she was spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
In the first case, “Patient 1,” the Board wrote:
The physician (who reported this situation to the Board) reported that she had admitted Patient 1 to her hospitalist service on that day and that the patient had for two weeks had dyspnea, cough and fatigue. The physician reported that the patient told her that Dr. Nass diagnosed the patient “over the phone” with COVID-19 and prescribed 5 days of Ivermectin which is not indicated for treatment of COVID. The physician reported that the patient was unvaccinated and was hospitalized requiring supplemental oxygen for COVID-19 pneumonia.
The medical records provided by Dr. Nass for Patient 1 included a copy of a written prescription for Ivermectin for Patient 1 dated September 28, 2021 and an associated progress note that contains a brief additional note almost two months later dated December 17 “[j]ust beginning to turn a corner Day 11. Doesn’t need additional rx.”
The September 28, 2021 progress note contains no patient medical history, no physical examination, no chief complaint, no coordination of care or set follow-up care, no medical decision-making, no diagnosis, no patient informed consent, and no assessment and plan other than identifying Ivermectin 27 mg/d x 5, Zinc 30 mg/d, Vitamin C 500 mg/d, and aspirin 325 mg/d. A December 19, 2021 handwritten note on notebook paper references the patient’s admission to the hospital and multiple “conversations” but no substantive notes associated with the conversations including who the conversations were with or what they were about. The medical records did not include patient authorization for Dr. Nass to disclose information to any other person(s).
As has been written by myself and so many others, ivermectin is a wonderful drug for intestinal parasites but is completely and utterly useless in treating COVID-19. This is pure quackery. But more than that, her treatment of this patient borders on unethical — she never saw the patient and provided no information in her medical notes to detail what she said to the patient.
For Patient 2, her incompetence in treating COVID-19 patients is exacerbated:
In response to a Board subpoena requesting the medical records for Patient 2, Dr. Nass provided handwritten pages and phone texts. In her email producing the records Dr. Nass stated “This is the gentleman for whom I prescribed hydroxychloroquine and was forced to inform the pharmacist was for a non-Covid diagnosis. That is because I was following the ethical principles of the AMA and other ethical codes of my profession.” Dr. Nass produced:
a) a copy of a handwritten prescription for Ivermectin dated September 2, 2021 for Patient 2;
b) a handwritten progress note dated September 2, 2021 for Patient 2 that identifies 21 medications and supplements, but contains no patient history, no physical examination, no chief complaint, no medical decision-making, no diagnosis, no patient informed consent, and no assessment and plan other than “High Risk” and a reference to the Ivermectin script which was mailed. In the middle of the September 2, 2021 progress note and outlined by hand is another note dated December 11, 2021-“[Patient 2] is high risk + needs HCQ rx. Must [decrease] diltiazem and watch for hypoglycemia” and notes the prescribing of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine, with “call in 3 wks”;
c) a handwritten telephone note dated December 1, 2021, of a conversation with Patient 2’s spouse regarding Patient 2 stating “Day 9” symptoms including a temperature of 102.9 and oxygen saturation at 89%, refers to ordering a prednisone taper, Aldactone, and Avodart, but holding off and get chest x-ray and let her know the result;
d) a handwritten progress note dated December 17, 2021, referencing Patient 2 and his spouse and “advice re hospitalization”; e) a handwritten note on notebook paper dated December 19, 2021, referencing a phone call discussion with another physician regarding Patient 2 and his hospitalization; and
f) a handwritten progress note dated December 23, 2021 of a telephone call from
Patient 2’s spouse that Patient 2 was doing better in the hospital and including
a note about the spouse’s own nausea. The medical records did not include
written patient authorization for Dr. Nass to disclose information to any other
Once again, Dr. Meryl Nass recommended a long-debunked treatment for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine along with her utter flouting of typical standards for medical records, not a minor issue.
As I stated above, the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine voted unanimously to further investigate Dr. Mery Nass for her COVID-19 activities. They are going to subpoena more records from her, but they suspended her license for 30 days during the additional investigation. The board also ordered a psychological evaluation of Dr. Nass, which is allowed by state law.
The order stated:
In the interests of public health and safety, the Board may compel a physician to submit to a mental or physical examination upon a complaint or allegation that the physician is or may be unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of a mental illness, alcohol intemperance, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, or as a result of a mental or physical condition interfering with the competent practice of medicine.
By practicing medicine in this State, every physician licensed is deemed to have given consent to a mental or physical examination when directed in writing by the Board.
Meryl Nass is an embarrassment to medicine. As I said, she is affiliated with RFK Jr’s “Children’s Health Defense,” a pseudoscience-pushing anti-vaccine organization. She has called the CDC a “criminal agency.” She has a long history of anti-vaccine propaganda. And she has accused health officials of conspiring to suppress the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (both useless for treating COVID-19). And she seems to be part of the chronic Lyme disease nonsense.
Unfortunately, it’s taking a long time to suspend the licenses of these COVID-19 denying physicians. There are just so many of them.
But it’s good that Dr. Meryl Nass has had her license suspended, even if it’s temporary until the medical licensing board gathers more information. Her pushing of useless drugs and lying about vaccines should be enough to have her license permanently revoked.
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