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Retired Doctor Wins Court Stay Against Medical Board For COVID-19 Narrative Challenge

The Medical Board tried to discipline Dr. Richard Eggleston for his articles about Covid.

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A court in the state of Washington granted an emergency injunction to a retired doctor who is facing disciplinary action from the Washington Medical Commission (WMC) over articles he published in the Lewiston Morning Tribune in 2021 about COVID-19. The licensing board claimed that the articles contained “misinformation.”

Dr. Richard Eggleston challenged the disciplinary proceedings in court, claiming that they were a violation of his First Amendment rights. The injunction delayed the disciplinary hearing, which was scheduled for this week.

The WMC claimed that Eggleston “willfully misrepresented facts with regard to SARS-CoV-2.”

In one of the articles, Eggleston recommended ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for COVID-19. In another, he criticized the WHO and other organizations promoting COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are very gratified to have the court of appeals grant the stay in this matter. I have believed that Dr. Eggleston’s First Amendment rights were being trammeled, and it was of deep concern how slightly the Constitution was considered by the commission, the legislature and others,” one of his lawyers, Todd Richardson, said in a statement to The Defender.

Ruling in favor of Eggleston, court commissioner Hailey Landrus said that the doctor “has a competing interest in enjoining the disciplinary proceedings in order to seek First Amendment protection for his speech, which is the reason for the administrative proceedings in the first place.”

“Denying a stay would … violate his constitutional right to free speech,” Landrus referenced a Supreme Court decision from 1965, in the Dombrowski v. Pfister case, where the court ruled that the chilling effect the possibility of prosecution has on speech is a violation of the First Amendment.

Eggleston and his lawyers noted that the articles were his opinion and that he did not “use his opinion article to treat, diagnose, or provide care for any patient.”

“I’m going to write these things. I’m not going to be afraid to write,” he said.

“I actually look forward to this battle, because this is such an important thing, fighting for the First Amendment and patients’ rights to be protected. I think we have a great chance to set a standard and set a precedent for freedom of speech by physicians.

“You have to stand up for what you think is right because you may not have a lot of time to do it.”

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