Doctor tells his patients masks cause carbon dioxide poisoning.
Steven Arthur LaTulippe, who owned a family practice in Dallas, has had his medical license pulled by the Oregon Medical Board for not following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidelines regarding proper COVID-19 safety protocols. The former doctor, according to the board, went as far as telling some of his patients that wearing face masks could lead to carbon dioxide poisoning.
The board wrote in their decision, “LaTulippe’s advice to patients about face masking amounts to gross negligence in the practice of medicine which is grounds for discipline.” Essentially, the misinformation in addition to refusal to following safety measures in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus as negligent enough for his license to be pulled. Moreover, the board found LaTulippe had been overprescribing addictive opioids to some of his patients. He was fined $10,000.
The medical board report said further, “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. 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 virus is known for leading to acute respiratory symptoms, and thus, this misinformation regarding mask wearing and existing respiratory diseases was not only confusing to patients, but extremely dangerous. The report noted, “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 board added, “LaTulippe told patients they didn’t have to wear a mask in the clinic unless they were acutely ill, coughing, or congested,” despite readily available information on the CDC and the Oregon governor’s websites regarding proper safety measures and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The doctor apparently also refused to ask patients coming into his office, whether symptomatic or not, if they had been in contact with anyone with COVID symptoms. Oregon’s board first suspended LaTulippe’s license in September as a warning. However, he indicated he would not change his beliefs regarding face masks and would not alter office procedures, so it was ultimately pulled.
“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 board noted.
LaTulippe responded to the decision 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.”
In total, Oregon’s board wrote that 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.”