Broken system? The tale of two Ontario doctors

Broken system? The tale of two Ontario doctors

Mark Slapinski

Dr. Patrick Phillips spent the pandemic spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, promoting pseudoscience, and comparing health restrictions to Nazi Germany. Dr. Ana Safavi reported sexual harassment during her residency at Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). Dr. Phillips is still allowed to practice medicine, while Dr. Safavi has been pushed out of her profession and is stuck with an MD she can’t use.

Dr. Patrick Phillips is a doctor based out of Englehart, Ontario, a small town North of Sudbury. Since early in the pandemic, Dr. Phillips has been using his Twitter page to promote pseudoscience and to undermine the effectiveness of public health restrictions. As an example, Dr. Phillips claims that lockdowns caused more harm than benefit to his patients. While he tries to paint himself as a moderate raising genuine concerns with lockdowns, his Twitter page tells a different story.

In a Twitter post dated Oct. 2, Dr. Phillips states that if public health wanted to keep “ICUs empty and Covid deaths low” they should screen people for Vitamin D deficiency, and encourage all Canadians to “supplement if deficient.” While some research indicates Vitamin D can help mitigate complications from Covid, other studies indicate it does not. Regardless, Vitamin D is not a substitute for vaccinations or other public health measures.

Dr. Phillips’ statements range from true, to partly true, to blatant disinformation. In a post dated Aug. 14, Phillips stated “coercion of patients into any kind of medical intervention including isolation, distancing, masks, and mRNA gene therapy is a crime against humanity.” The part about mRNA being “gene therapy” is completely bogus. According to a fact-checking article by Reuters:

Vaccines that use mRNA technology are not gene therapy because they do not alter your genes, experts have told Reuters after contrary claims were posted online.

Dr. Phillips conveniently fails to mention the fact we’re in a worldwide pandemic, with a virus that has killed over 4.55 million people. As of Friday, 700,000 people have died from Covid in the United States. The number continues to grow. Isolation, social distancing, and masks are public health measures put in place to prevent more people from dying from Covid.

Previously, Dr. Phillips came under fire for comparing public health measures to the Holocaust.

Phillip’s online behaviour has lead to an investigation. According to a notice of hearing posted to the CPSO’s website:

Between approximately August 2020 and September 2021, Dr. Phillips engaged in
disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct …

This includes … incorrect or inflammatory statements about vaccinations, treatments and public health measures for
COVID-19. Dr. Phillips is also incompetent in relation to his communications.

In the meantime, Dr. Patrick Phillips is still allowed to keep his job.

Dr. Ana Safavi

Dr. Safavi was a medical resident at NOSM, based in Sudbury, Ont. After reporting sexual harassment by one of her instructors, Dr. Safavi claims she was suspended from the program. She has not been back to work since, and has not been able to complete her medical training. Despite the incident happening back in 2018, Dr. Safavi is still out of work and waiting for her court case to be resolved. Dr. Safavi is suing the school and plans on taking her case to trial. According to a press release from her organization MedicineToo:

Dr. Ana Safavi is taking her sexual harassment complaint against a powerful senior doctor all the way to trial. She is the first medical trainee in North America to do so. She was fired in June from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) after refusing the medical school’s demands to mediate.

Dr. Safavi claims this incident has left her in “crippling debt” due to her student loans, on top of lawyer fees.

GoFundMe

While Dr. Safavi appears to be all-but-forgotten by the media and the Twitter-verse, Dr. Phillips enjoys a certain amount of celebrity. At the time of writing, Dr. Patrick Phillips has raised $16,788 on GoFundMe, with a $50,000 goal. Dr. Phillips says he needs the money to “pay bills while he continues to advocate for rigorous scientific debate, patient autonomy free from medical coercion, and a segregation-free society.”

According to one of Phillips’ supporters, the CPSO is making “very bad and unethical decisions.” Other people had a different opinion, with many calling Phillips a “grifter.”

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