A top critical care physician who filed a lawsuit against Sentara Norfolk General Hospital over its ban on administering life-saving drugs to treat Covid-19 patients has been suspended.
Dr Paul Marik, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School and director of the ICU at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, learned about his 14-day suspension when he arrived at work on Saturday, discovering a letter on his desk.
The letter was dated November 18th – the same day that Marik appeared before a judge in Norfolk Circuit Court requesting a temporary injunction to lift the ban, Marik’s attorneys said.
Whilst the Judge did not grant the temporary injunction, he stated that Marik had standing to bring a lawsuit, thus allowing the case to continue. This means that Marik will have the opportunity to “establish his right to administer life-saving treatments that patients have been prohibited access to be Sentara,” the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) said in a statement.
Marik’s attorney, Fred Taylor, a partner at the Virginia law firm Bush & Taylor, said that during Thursday’s hearing, Marik’s attorneys did not tell him about the suspension, nor did they mention it to the judge.
In a letter to Judge David Lannetti sent on November 22nd, Marik’s attorney accused Sentara of making a material misrepresentation during the hearing by failing to disclose the letter and telling the court the hospital would not retaliate against Marik for filing the lawsuit.
Marik’s attorney told the judge: “Evidently Sentara chose, for reasons of its own, not to disclose this suspension either to the court or the plaintiff during the hearing.”
In his letter, Taylor told the judge:
“The letter [from Sentara to Marik] gives no explanation whatsoever for the ‘coincidence’ of Sentara’s choosing to suspend Dr. Marik at this particular moment, leaving only one realistic conclusion. Sentara has engaged in a blatant act of retaliation against Dr. Marik for filing this suit and for exposing to the public Sentara’s unlawful unjustified denial of safe, potentially life-saving medicines to its COVID patients in violation of Virginia statutory law and public policy.”
In Sentara’ letter to Marik, hospital officials summoned Marik to a proceeding scheduled for December 2nd during which, the hospital said, “no lawyer representing Dr Marik will be permitted and no recording/video or transcript… will be made.”
Sentara said that the suspension of Marik was partially due to an allegation that he informed Covid patients that “his hands were tied” and there was nothing more he could do for them.”
However, Taylor’s letter to the judge stated:
“At the just-concluded hearing on November 18, 2021, Sentara expressly represented to this Court that it would not discipline Dr. Marik in any way for informing his COVID patients that Sentara was preventing him from giving them alternative treatments that are, in his medical judgment (and based on unrefuted evidence) safe, and potentially life-saving and medically appropriate for them.
“Yet, Sentara has now done exactly that. Indeed it had apparently already done exactly that when it was representing to the Court that it would not do so. International or not, this was a materially false representation made to the court, and Plaintiff respectfully requests that Sentara be held to account for it.”
In court, Sentara tried to prove that Marik’s case had no standing because he hadn’t been harmed, which Marik needed to prove. Marik said: “Obviously, patients who are dying in the ICU can’t come to court. Sentara hospital lied continuously and incessantly but at this type of hearing, I was not in a position where I could challenge the falsities.”
In his letter to the judge, Marik’s legal team called for a supplemental hearing to redress the new facts previously hidden from the court by Sentara.
Marik filed his lawsuit against Sentara Healthcare on Nov. 9, arguing the organisation is endangering the lives of its COVID patients by preventing him from using his treatment protocol, which he says has reduced mortality rates in the ICU from approximately between 40% and 60% to less than 20%.
The lawsuit alleges that Sentara’s ban on the use of Ivermectin and other alternative treatments for Covid violates US and Virginia medical laws and the concept of informed consent, whereby “patients have the right to receive information and ask questions about recommended treatments so that they can make well-considered decisions about care.”
The case is ongoing.
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