Anti-vax doctor Paul Thomas surrenders license after gross negligence, mistreating children

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Paul Norman Thomas, MD is a super-spreader of lies about vaccines and one of a small number of anti-vax pediatricians.

Thomas operated Integrative Pediatrics in Portland, OR and is also associated with the dangerous quack group Institute for Functional Medicine. Integrative and functional medicine are well-known marketing terms used to peddle fraudulent medicine.

Thomas co-authored the deceptive book “The Vaccine-Friendly Plan” with fellow anti-vaxxer Jennifer Margulis. Thomas also co-authored a now-retracted anti-vaccine paper published by predatory publisher MDPI.

Discipline

In October 2022, Thomas finally agreed to surrender his Oregon license after the Oregon Medical Board found that Thomas engaged in the loathsome conduct described in a November 21, 2021 Amended Complaint, including:

  • unprofessional or dishonorable conduct;
  • making false or misleading statements regarding the efficacy of treatments;
  • repeated negligence and gross negligence in the practice of medicine;
  • willfully violating any provision of this chapter;
  • knowingly making a false statement or representation on a matter;
  • failing to comply with a Board request; and
  • failing to report an adverse action.

The Amended Complaint describes mistreatment of 7 children, patients A-G.

Even though vaccines don’t cause autism, regarding Patient A, an infant, the Board alleges that Thomas:

repeatedly verbally connected vaccines with autism during the clinic visit, and asked Patients A’s mother “how awful [she] would feel if [Patient A] got autism and [she] could have prevented it.

Regarding Patient B, another infant:

Patient B’s mother noted to a subsequent provider that it had been difficult to get her child’s vaccinations at Licensee’s clinic, that there were multiple antivaccination pamphlets and other anti-vaccination literature in Licensee’s clinic, some of which she was handed by Licensee’s staff, and that Licensee entered the exam room specifically to strongly recommend against vaccination.

Patients C and D were unvaccinated children who were both diagnosed with Whooping cough (pertussis), an awful disease that probably could have been prevented with vaccines. The Board found that Thomas failed to report both cases to the health department, as required by law.

Patient E was a ~10 week old infant with a fever. Given that the fever may have been caused by a life-threatening infection, Thomas failed to refer the patient to the hospital for testing and observation.

Regarding Patient F:

When Patient F was approximately seven years of age, Licensee followed her in clinic for constipation, food allergies, mold allergies, and possible “chronic Lyme disease.” He ordered repeated IgE allergy panels, recommended elimination diets and vitamin supplements, and provided antibiotics for acute infections. He made no referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist to evaluate for malabsorption or celiac disease. He made no referral to a pediatric allergy/immunology specialist. He made no referral to a pediatric nutrition specialist.

Patient G was a 6 year old girl with clear signs of early puberty, but Thomas failed to appropriately address the situation.

Superseded charges

In December 2020, the Oregon Medical Board suspended Thomas’s license, finding that his “continued practice constitutes an immediate danger to the public” and his “continued practice of medicine by a physician presents a serious danger to the public health or safety.” The Order of Emergency Suspension described a different set of patients, not all of whom were included in the Amended Complaint.

The following allegations were not part of the Amended Complaint that was the basis for revocation of Thomas’s license:

Patient D of the Order of Emergency Suspension:

Patient D, a now 9-year-old male, was completely non-immunized. Patient D sustained a large, deep scalp laceration at home in a farm setting on August 8, 2017, and was treated with colloidal silver and with his parents suturing the wound independently. Patient D subsequently developed acute tetanus requiring intubation, tracheotomy, feeding tube placement and an almost two- month ICU stay at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Patient D was then transferred to Legacy Rehabilitation. Licensee saw Patient D for follow-up in clinic on November 17, 2017. Licensee’s notes documented a referral to a homeopath, recommendation of fish oil supplements, and “phosphatidyl seine.” He did not document an informed consent discussion about the risk/benefit of immunization for a child who had just sustained and still had sequelae of, and remained vulnerable despite prior infection, to tetanus, a life-threatening and disabling disease that is preventable by proper vaccination. Licensee’s care placed Patient D at serious risk of harm and constitutes gross negligence.

According to Thomas’s lawyer, “Patient D was not seen by Dr. Thomas until after Patient D was discharged from the hospital.”

The shocking tetanus case was the subject of a CDC-published case report which provided additional detail, including noting inpatient medical bills of $811,929 (excluding air transportation, inpatient rehabilitation, and ambulatory follow-up costs). The child’s parents ultimately still refused to vaccinate their son.

An infamous 1809 painting by Sir Charles Bell shows the painful muscle spasms of tetanus
An infamous 1809 painting by Sir Charles Bell illustrates the painful muscle spasms of tetanus

Patient E of the Order of Emergency Suspension:

Patient E is a 10-year-old female who received minimal immunization in Licensee’s clinic. She required hospitalization for rotavirus gastroenteritis in April 2011. This was potentially a vaccine-preventable hospitalization. She also had a severe cough and was treated empirically for pertussis without testing by another physician who was working in Licensee’s clinic. The care provided to Patient E in Licensee’s clinic breached the standard of care and exposed the patient to the serious risk of harm.

Patients G and H of the Order of Emergency Suspension:

Patient G and Patient H, twins, were born at 35 weeks gestation. They had no chronic medical conditions that would justify medical immunization exemptions. Both Patient G and Patient H became infected with rotavirus gastroenteritis when they were 10 months of age. They were suffering from severe dehydration and serum electrolyte abnormalities and required five days of hospitalization (April 25-30, 2019) at an area children’s hospital. Rotavirus infection is fully vaccine-preventable. Licensee’s clinic chart contains documentation of parental refusal of vaccines, but they are inconsistent regarding specific vaccines and their timing. In addition, Patient G and Patient H’s mother stated during hospitalization that she thought her children had received rotavirus vaccine. Failure to adequately document specific parental refusal and lack of providing parental clarity constitute acts of negligence.

It’s worth reading all of the charges against Thomas, as well as the superseded charges. There are additional findings, such as failing to stock and offer vaccines.

Like most quacks, Thomas is apparently unrepentant. Despite overwhelming evidence that he is a danger to children and the public, Thomas harassed the Oregon Medical Board in court, including in a bogus federal lawsuit that a judge recommended be dismissed.

As of November 8, 2022, Thomas still had licenses in Hawaii and Washington, but there were pending actions. In Washington, Thomas agreed to a limited license.

Articles about Dr. Paul Thomas

Vaxopedia: The Oregon Medical Board’s Case Against Paul Thomas

Vaxopedia: Index of Paul Thomas articles

Respectful Insolence: Dr. Paul Thomas: A rising star in the antivaccine movement, 2018-03-09

The Oregonian: Unvaccinated Oregon boy, 6, nearly dies of tetanus, racks up $1 million in bills, 2019-03-07

CDC: Notes from the Field: Tetanus in an Unvaccinated Child — Oregon, 2017. 2019.

Willamette Week: Pediatrician Paul Thomas Has 15,000 Patients—and He Tells Them the Measles Vaccine Might Cause Autism,

Respectful Insolence: James Lyons-Weiler and Paul Thomas: Incompetently demonizing aluminum vaccine adjuvants, 2019-12-20

Science-Based Medicine: The Oregon Medical Board suspends the medical license of antivax pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas, 2020-12-07

Respectful Insolence: Even COVID-19 can’t stop antivaxxers from publishing crappy “vaxxed/unvaxxed” studies, 2020-11-25

Willamette Week: Prominent Anti-Vaccine Pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas Has License Suspended by the Oregon Medical Board, 2020-12-06

Respectful Insolence: Paul Thomas: An antivax pediatrician de-licensed (for now), 2020-12-14

MedPageToday: Anti-Vax Pediatrician Is Back in Business, Kind Of, 2021-07-14

Respectful Insolence: James Lyons-Weiler whines about his “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study retraction, 2021-07-26

Respectful Insolence: Paul Thomas and the antivax legal assault on state medical boards, 2022-07-08

Retraction Watch: Authors blame a “ghoul” for retraction of paper claiming vaccines lead to health and behavioral issues, 2021-08-11

Documents

Oregon Medical Board: Paul Norman Thomas, MD license details

Oregon Medical Board: Paul Thomas License Suspension, 2020-12-04

Oregon Medical Board: Paul Thomas Order, 2021-06-03

Oregon Medical Board: Paul Thomas Amended Complaint, 2021-11-22

Washington Medical Commission: Paul Thomas Statement of Charges, 2022-02-11

Washington Medical Commission: Paul Thomas Stipulated order setting practice limits, 2022-05-11

Oregon Medical Board: Motion to dismiss Paul Thomas’s bogus lawsuit, 2022-08-08

US District Court for the District of Oregon: Judge recommends dismissing Paul Thomas’s bogus lawsuit, 2022-10-11

Oregon Medical Board: Paul Thomas License Surrender, 2022-10-06