In August 2021, Jeremy Parker has a telehealth appointment through the anti-vaccine group America’s Frontline Doctors. Parker wanted hydroxychloroquine, a drug he believed could prevent or treat Covid-19, even though he was not showing any symptoms at the time. According to a lawsuit filed by the Parker family, he spoke with Dr. Medina Culver, who wrote the recipe for it. In early February 2022, Parker began experiencing cold-like symptoms and took the drug, and the next morning, he was found dead. The cause, according to her death certificate, was “sudden death as a result of the therapeutic use of hydroxychloroquine.”
Parker’s wife, Jelena Hatfield, and their three children sued the AFLDS and Culver a year after his death, claiming it was “caused by the negligence of Dr. Culver and the lies spread by America’s Frontline Doctors.” The death lawsuit wrongly claims that Culver never physically examined Parker, then aged 52, nor did he perform any diagnostic tests to confirm the drug was safe to prescribe.
The AFLDS records, provided to The Intercept by anonymous hackers in September 2021, corroborate part of Hatfield’s account. Culver was on a list of 225 AFLDS doctors who prescribed unproven Covid-19 drugs, and consultation records from Parker’s telehealth appointments confirm that no physical exams were performed. While the hacked data – hundreds of thousands of medical records and prescriptions from AFLDS telehealth partners – includes lists of doctors and patients, it doesn’t link doctors to specific patients.
“It’s very disappointing that people like America’s Frontline Doctors have gotten away with it for so long,” Hatfield told The Intercept. “How many people out there have experienced this? Who has lost her husband, or wife, or daughter, or mother? They really caught everyone’s attention.”
Source: Legal documents
In court filings responding to Hatfield’s lawsuit, the AFLDS described itself as “a civil liberties organization with the purpose of providing America with independent information about healthcare from leading experts in the fields of medicine and law” and stated that it “is not a medical organization that consults patients, provides diagnoses, or prescribe medication.” In summary, the AFLDS denied that they prescribed hydroxychloroquine to Parker, claiming it was simply providing him with medical information and opinion, despite evidence to the contrary.
Culver and AFLDS did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment. In June, the judge rejected his second attempt to dismiss the suit. Culver later filed an emergency petition asking the Nevada Supreme Court to challenge the denial, but the judge also dismissed the petition on August 4.
Jonathan Howard, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and chief of neurology at Bellevue Hospital, told The Intercept that his biggest problem was a doctor prescribing hydroxychloroquine to Parker for Covid-19, since the medication has been shown to be ineffective in treating the virus. Howard also emphasized that the consultation notes do not include any discussion of risks and benefits. “Any small risk posed by the treatment outweighs the benefit,” wrote Howard, “which is zero.”
Hydroxychloroquine is commonly used to treat malaria and lupus, but “has not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. In the lead up to the Covid-19 pandemic, the AFLDS – as well as former President Donald Trump – erroneously promoted the drug as an alternative to vaccines, despite the fact that in mid-2020, the FDA revoked its emergency use authorization and warned against using it for long-term purposes. treating Covid-19 “because of the risk of heart rhythm problems.” (Parker’s autopsy revealed a small abnormality in his heart, the Washington Post reported.)
In 2021, The Intercept disclosed that the AFLDS and its network of healthcare providers are charging patients at least $6.7 million – though likely much more – for telehealth appointments. The investigation also showed that Ravkoo, the online pharmacy that provided Parker’s hydroxychloroquine prescription, was charging patients at least $8.6 million for a similar ineffective Covid-19 drug. The House Elections Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched an investigation into AFLDS and the telehealth companies it works with, citing a report by The Intercept.
Source: Legal documents
Hatfield lawsuit says that “on or about August 26,” Parker connected with Culver through the AFLDS, although the hacked data indicated the appointment was the following day. According to Parker’s patient records, he had a telehealth consultation with an AFLDS-trained physician on August 27, 2021, at 4:02:50 Pacific time. The accompanying notes contain almost no information about Parker’s medical history. Records said that Parker had been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid but had no symptoms himself and he requested hydroxychloroquine, the drug that may have caused his death, according to his death certificate.
The lawsuit, filed in Nevada, accuses Culver and the AFLDS of wrongful death and professional negligence and seeks monetary damages. This includes a statement from Bruce Bannister, a medical doctor and volunteer faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Bannister wrote that Parker should not have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine without testing to determine if it was safe. If a physical examination is not possible because of a remote visit, said Bannister, the doctor should at least do an electrocardiogram and other laboratory tests to make sure there are no heart abnormalities. And if those resources are not available, doctors should tell patients to seek as much care as they can. Bannister concluded “to the extent of a reasonable medical probability, that his ingestion of hydroxychloroquine caused Parker’s death.”
The AFLDS, a group with ties to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, has a history with far-right groups. Two members of the AFLDS were convicted for their involvement in the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol. Simone Gold, the group’s founder, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and served two months in prison. John Strand, a former lingerie model and creative director of the group, was found guilty of obstruction of legal proceedings – a felony – and four misdemeanors and is currently serving 32 months in federal prison in Miami.
Spreading pandemic disinformation and promoting the sale of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as alternatives to vaccines is very profitable. According to a recent profile in the Financial Times, Gold receives an annual salary of $600,000 by 2021. She lives in a $3.6 million mansion in Naples, Florida, with Strand, with whom she is romantically involved, drives multiple cars including a Mercedes-Benz, travels with a private jet, and has tens of thousands of dollars in monthly expenses — all paid for by the AFLDS charity fund.
Here are the full notes of Parker’s August 27, 2021 telehealth appointment:
Patient has + exposure, no symptoms, wants HCQ [hydroxychloroquine] + Zinc
Occupation: not sure
Chronic Medical Disease: none per patient report
The patient is still asymptomatic
Associated symptoms – none
ROS: All systems reviewed and negative except HPI
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