Mississippi physician taken off hospital schedule after requesting ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients

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Baptist Memorial Hospital-Yazoo, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Yazoo City, Miss., has asked that a physician no longer be scheduled after he requested using ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients, the hospital confirmed to Becker's.

John Witcher, MD, had privileges at the hospital for about two years through the hospital's contract with SCP Health for physician emergency department staffing. 

In a video posted Dec. 6 on Telegram, an instant messaging system, Dr. Witcher said the hospital took him off the schedule after he requested COVID-19 patients be treated with ivermectin, the Sun Herald reported. Ivermectin is typically used to treat parasitic infections in animals, and the FDA has warned against using it to treat COVID-19.

"I was aware I was going against the hospital policy on ivermectin but still felt like, as the treating physician of these patients, that I had that option," Dr. Witcher said in the video, according to the newspaper.

The hospital confirmed in a statement shared with Becker's that Dr. Witcher, who also started an anti-vaccination mandate group called Mississippi Against Mandates, no longer exercises privileges at the facility.

Dr. Witcher "no longer practices medicine as an independent physician at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Yazoo," the statement reads. "At no time was he a Baptist employee."

As of Dec. 7, the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure website listed an active license for the physician. 

Dr. Witcher's situation comes after Houston Methodist Hospital suspended the privileges of Mary Bowden, MD, on Nov. 12 after she used her social media accounts to spread "dangerous misinformation which is not based in science," the hospital said. 

Dr. Bowden, an ear, nose and throat physician in private practice, resigned her privileges at Houston Methodist on Nov. 15. 

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