Lytton doctor suspended for promoting 'vaccine hesitancy' suing Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lytton doctor suspended for promoting 'vaccine hesitancy' suing Interior Health

Lytton Dr. Charles Hoffe is suing Interior Health.
Image Credit: Submitted/Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

Lytton Dr. Charles Douglas Hoffe started questioning the safety of COVID vaccines shortly after they were rolled out in the spring of 2021.

That led to accusations from Interior Health and the province that he was promoting vaccine hesitancy and, ultimately, led to the loss of his hospital privileges at St. Bartholomew Hospital Centre in Lytton on April 29, 2021.

He has now filed a lawsuit against Interior Health claiming damages for loss of earnings as well as punitive damages.

The conflict started on March 16, 2021.

“Dr. Hoffe sent an email to some of his colleagues urging them to consider whether it was wise for them to participate in the continued administration of the COVID-19 vaccines,” the court filing says.

The led to back and forth communications with health authorities, including Dr. Douglas Smith, executive medical director for Interior Health North who, in a phone call to Hoffe, is reported to have “asserted that Dr. Hoffe was causing ‘vaccine hesitancy,’ which he viewed as a patient safety issue.”

Smith also told Hoffe he was not allowed to say anything negative about the COVID-19 vaccines while working at the hospital.

READ MORE: Lytton doctor under investigation for causing 'vaccine hesitancy'

In all, Hoffe reported having seven patients with serious reactions 24 to 72 hours after getting Moderna COVID vaccines that he attributed to the vaccine itself.

One was a patient who went to the hospital emergency room on April 10, 2021, complaining of “ongoing headaches, fever and body pains following receiving the Moderna vaccine,” a nurse reported to Hoffe.

Hoffe had been the patient’s family doctor for 27 years and knew she’d had COVID five weeks earlier so told the nurse to tell the patient she didn’t need a second COVID vaccine. The patient could take Tylenol for her pains and fever and to make an appointment to see him if her symptoms continued for seven days.

“The nurse informed Dr. Hoffe that she was not permitted to tell the patient she did not need second vaccine,” the filing says. “Dr. Hoffe accepted this and asked the ER nurse to ask the patient to make an appointment with his office so he could talk to the patient directly.”

Also in April, Hoffe showed an office assistant in the hospital a report from the Justice Centre for Constitution Freedoms that contained COVID-19 statistics about testing, purported cases, hospitalizations and mortality.

The court filing says that the document did not explicitly mention vaccines.

Hoffe said something to the office assistant to the effect of: “If you feel like putting it up somewhere, go ahead.”

She subsequently posted it on a bulletin board in the hospital.

The two reasons cited for his suspension on April 29, 2021, were: Encouraging nursing staff at the hospital to advise patients to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, and posting misleading COVID-19 related material, the court ruling says.

“Interior Health asserted that Dr Hoffe’s alleged actions raised serious patient safety concerns, having the effect of creating vaccine hesitancy and corresponding low vaccination rates during a pandemic, in a community with highly vulnerable patients,” the filing says.

There were a number of emails and calls between Hoffe and senior health officials detailed in the court filing along with specifics of bylaws and rules pertaining to the case.

Also on April 29, Hoffe was informed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. that they were investigating him for things like allegedly not complying with personal protective equipment rules at the hospital and allegations of racism.

On May 4, 2021, Hoffe got another letter from the College saying he was being investigated for an “inflammatory and inappropriate” email he sent to a senior Interior Health medical health officer.

Later that month, he got another letter from senior Interior Health staff saying he had been talking to nurses at the hospital trying to find out who had complained about him. The letter advised that “further communication with nurses or staff would be perceived as harassment and intimidation.”

The filing lists some of Hoffe’s concerns with the COVID-19 vaccines. Along with the side effects, he had concerns that the vaccines had not been tested on animals first, there was no long term safety data and they had not been adequately tested for safety.

Interior Health has 21 days to file a response to Hoffe’s lawsuit.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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