BOISE, Idaho — Two of Idaho's leading medical experts are asking the Idaho Board of Medicine to investigate Dr. Ryan Cole.
Central District Health (CDH) ratified the appointment of Cole to the district's Board of Health in September. Cole rose to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic for his comments about the COVID-19 vaccine and advocacy for unproven treatments for the virus such as Ivermectin, an anti-parasite that is not approved for treating COVID-19.
Dr. Steven Kohtz, the president of the Idaho Medical Association Board of Trustees, and Susie Keller, the CEO of the Idaho Medical Association, sent a letter to the board of medicine asking for an investigation into Cole's reported refusal "to use accepted and documented medical practices and vaccination and instead prescribing Ivermectin" to treat COVID-19.
Kohtz and Keller issued the following statement on Cole's conduct:
Dr. Cole has made numerous public statements in 2020 and 2021 concerning COVID-19 that are at significant odds with commonly understood medical treatment of COVID-19 and fail to meet the community standard of care. We believe many of those statements to be profoundly wrong, unsupported by medical research and collected knowledge, and dangerous if followed by patients or members of the public. Many of those statements have advocated that people not be treated appropriately and undoubtedly have led to and will continue to lead to poor health outcomes as people are encouraged not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain appropriate treatment for it when such treatment could improve their health. Taken as a whole, Dr. Cole's statements and actions have significantly threatened the public health and, in our view, are enormously irresponsible and injurious to the public.
The two said the basis for their complaint is not Cole's statements or views. Rather, their complaint stems from Cole claiming "he has treated patients 'from Florida to California'" by prescribing Ivermectin.
Read the full complaint below:
Kohtz and Keller ended the letter by asking to board to investigate Cole's statements to "determine if, in fact, he has done what he says he has done" and to take action if he has.
This does not mean that Cole is under investigation at this time.
Cole issued a response to the complaint, stating in part:
I invite members of the IMA, particularly the governing board behind this complaint, to sit down with me to discuss the nature of their concerns about my practice of medicine. Filing a complaint and threatening my license is unprofessional and sows distrust within the medical community and with patients in our state. My mission as a physician is to care for patients. I take my oath to "do no harm" very seriously. There are many ways to care for patients, and in times of crisis, as we have experienced in the last year, our profession must come together to examine all ways we can provide optimal medical care.
In early September, Dr. Cole's appointment to the Central District Health Board was ratified on a 7-5 vote by the county commissioners in CDH's jurisdiction. Before then, in March, Dr. Cole was criticized for his views on the state of the COVID-19 and statements he gave to Idaho lawmakers.
"I am absolutely not in the anti-vax camp, and I am concerned that these comments came across that way. I have been vaccinated. All of my children have been vaccinated," he wrote at the time.
His outspoken views on the coronavirus vaccines include calling them "needle rape."
"I'm afraid this is more from our anti-vax colleagues to stoke fear and misinformation instead of science," Dr. Jim Souza, the Chief Medical Officer at St. Luke's Health Systems, said of Dr. Cole's statements at the time.
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