Sep. 21, 2021 -- The Oregon Medical Board has revoked the license of a doctor who didn’t follow COVID-19 guidelines in his office and even told some patients that wearing face masks could lead to carbon-dioxide poisoning.
Steven Arthur LaTulippe’s advice to patients about face masking amounted to “gross negligence” in the practice of medicine and was grounds for discipline, the medical board said in a report.
LaTulippe, who had a family practice in Dallas, was fined $10,000, Insider reported. The board also said he’d overprescribed opioids for some patients.
The medical board report said LaTulippe and his wife, who ran the clinic with him, didn’t wear face masks while treating patients from March to December of 2020.
LaTulippe told elderly and pediatric patients that mask wearing could hurt their health by exacerbating COPD and asthma and could contribute to heart attacks and other medical problems, the report said.
“Licensee asserts masks are likely to harm patients by increasing the body’s carbon dioxide content through rebreathing of gas trapped behind a mask,” the report said.
The report noted that “the amount of carbon dioxide re-breathed within a mask is trivial and would easily be expelled by an increase in minute ventilation so small it would not be noticed.”
The report said LaTulippe told patients they didn't have to wear a mask in the clinic unless they were "acutely ill," "coughing," or "congested," even though the CDC and the Oregon governor had recommended masks be worn to prevent the spread of the virus.
Before coming into the office, patients weren’t asked if they’d had recent contact with anybody who was infected or showed COVID symptoms, the report said.
The medical board first suspended his license in September. He said he would not change his conduct concerning face masks.
“Licensee has confirmed that he will refuse to abide by the state’s COVID-19 protocols in the future as well, affirming that in a choice between losing his medical license versus wearing a mask in his clinic and requiring his patients and staff to wear a mask in his clinic, he will, ‘choose to sacrifice my medical license with no hesitation’” the medical board’s report said.
LaTulippe told the medical board that he was “a strong asset to the public in educating them on the real facts about this pandemic” and that “at least 98 percent of my patients were so extremely thankful that I did not wear a mask or demand wearing a mask in my clinic.”
The medical board found LaTulippe engaged in eight instances of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, 22 instances of negligence in the practice of medicine, and five instances of gross negligence in the practice of medicine.