About 3 years after being arrested for participating in the January 6 Capitol riots, America’s Frontline Doctors founder Simone Gold, MD, JD, received a public reprimand from the Medical Board of California (MBC) in connection with the resulting federal crime.
The 31-page order, which went into effect on February 2, requires Gold to pay back the state $26,739.25 in “reasonable costs of investigation and prosecution.”
It also includes a requirement that Gold take “educational courses in professionalism and ethics approved by the Board.”
The state licensing agency filed an accusation against her license a year ago, arguing that her actions at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. constituted “unprofessional conduct” and demonstrated “an unfitness to practice medicine.”
In investigating Gold’s activities at the Capitol, the MBC’s investigators had asked for Gold to be placed on a 5-year probation, but administrative law judge Abraham Levy wrote in the order that this would “serve no public purpose and would amount to impermissible punishment.”
Levy acknowledged that his decision represented “a departure from the Board’s recommended guidelines,” but noted that Gold had been a California licensee since 1990 and had no prior discipline.
Levy also cut in half the board’s request for $53,478.50 investigation and prosecution costs.
“During most of this time, she has been a dedicated emergency medicine physician, who enjoys the support of colleagues who testified in this hearing,” he wrote.
The public reprimand is defined as “a form of discipline that can include a requirement for specified training or education.” It referenced Gold’s federal conviction “of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a licensed physician due to her participation in the riot at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
On the federal charge from January 6, Gold served a 60-day prison term, followed by 12 months of supervised release. She was ordered to pay the government $10,025 in criminal monetary penalties.
Federal documents say that Gold gave two speeches in which she maintained her opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and government-imposed lockdowns and advocated use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
Gold was indicted on five charges: obstructing an official proceeding; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly or disruptive conduct; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
She pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted building, and became one of 1,265 people charged with riot-related crimes, with incarceration sentences against more than 460.
Gold’s activities during the COVID-19 pandemic became a lightning rod for controversy, especially her statements touting the benefits of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine against the infection — both of which have proven useless — and her claims that people should not receive the COVID vaccines.
Gold was among several dozen physicians nationally who publicly advocated similar positions regarding COVID vaccines and treatment, which threatened to stop people from taking scientifically proven safeguards against infection and illness and perpetuating an international epidemic.
That flurry of false claims prompted a Federation of State Licensing Boards advisory on July 21, 2021. The federation said physicians who spread disinformation or misinformation put their licenses at risk, in effect urging state licensing agencies to take more aggressive actions to dissuade doctors from engaging in such activities.
After much debate, California’s elected officials approved a law in the fall of 2022 specifying that licensees who conveyed misinformation about COVID to their patients in a clinical setting could be accused of unprofessional conduct.
Misinformation was defined as statements about medical interventions that were “contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.”
But the law was eliminated 5 months ago after numerous physicians and free speech organizations argued in several lawsuits that it violated a physician’s right to free speech, and after a judge had granted a restraining order preventing its implementation.
Nevertheless, Gold filed a lawsuit against the California agency last October. She claimed that its investigation against her was “a concerted attempt to revoke Dr. Gold’s medical license and officially destroy her credibility in the medical field in order to pre-emptively defuse her criticism of the CMB’s [the California board’s] role in the disastrous public policy response to COVID-19.”
Her lawsuit said: “The medical truths publicly advocated by Dr. Gold wholly rejected the official California public health policy being enforced by the CMB.”
Gold’s attorney Heather Gibson said in an email to MedPage Today that the MBC “wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer money attempting to suspend and/or revoke Dr. Gold’s medical license and/or place her on probation,” and made allegations that “were not substantially related to the functions, duties, or qualifications” of a doctor.
Gold intends to “aggressively pursue” her lawsuit against the state agency, Gibson said.
Gold is not out of the woods with her legal troubles. She faces a lawsuit from the parents of Nevada resident Jeremy Parker, who reportedly died after taking hydroxychloroquine that was prescribed by a physician affiliated with Gold’s organization, America’s Front Line Doctors (AFLDS). The group has denied that it prescribed that drug to that patient.
Although she remains a California licensee, Gold 3 years ago moved to Naples, Florida, where she is now licensed to practice medicine by the Florida Board of Medicine.
Source link : https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/108581
Publish date : 2024-02-05 16:26:41
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