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Dear Editor:

 Dr. Kitty Chen Dean and Dr. Richard Epro wrote objections to the perceived injection of politics into Dr. Galvin’s opinion piece. I would venture to say that they are either being too naïve or excessively modest about their own political leanings. Every doctor witnessing the profound changes in medicine over the past two decades has seen the overt and covert application of national politics to medical policy in everything from tort law reform (and the lack of it) to the insertion of a massive entitlement expansion (Obamacare) into a free-market medical system.

In support of Dr. Galvin’s opinion about how politics can taint medical practice, I will submit this link to a letter from a research team at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan with regard to the successful use of Hydroxychloroquine (insert media-conditioned gag reflex here) as an early-stage Covid-19 treatment in their clinical study involving over 2,500 patients. As soon as President Trump mentioned the possible use of this medication, the political brouhaha began and talk of the medication’s use became verboten.

In fact, one well publicized and heavily cited counter-study to the use of Hydroxychloroquine was widely circulated in media as a refutation of Trump’s advocacy. That study was later found to be fraudulent and necessitated an unprecedented retraction of the article in both the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, whose editors became amateur politicians themselves when they started publishing their own political hit pieces disguised as “medical journal editorials.”

The Ford Medical Center study came early in the pandemic (July 2020), and prior to development of other medical treatments; it could have pointed to an early way of mitigating the course of the pandemic in the US. In the letter, the research team indicates: “…Unfortunately, the political climate that has persisted has made any objective discussion about this drug impossible…” (link: https://bit.ly/3vEevwQ) …and a link to the original research study published in the International Journal of Infectious Disease: (link: vhttps://bit.ly/3b0DTF7

Sadly, politics has indeed infected medicine and science, and the vaccination debate is not occurring in a vacuum. In fact, it’s an unfortunate variant strain of our debilitated national discourse.

Dr. Harold Paez

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