High Court suspends GP who described Covid-19 as a hoax

ireland
High Court Suspends Gp Who Described Covid-19 As A Hoax
Dr Waters, who is aged in his early seventies, is based at the Whitethorn clinic in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
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Aodhan O'Faolain

The President of the High Court has ruled that a General Practioner who has allegedly told a patient that the Covid-19 pandemic is "a hoax" should be temporarily suspended from practising medicine.

In a recently published judgment Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she was granting orders suspending the practising certificate of Dr Gerard Waters, pending the outcome of any full disciplinary proceedings into allegations against him.

Dr Waters, who is aged in his early seventies, is based in Celbridge, in Co Kildare.  The application seeking Dr Waters' suspension was heard by the President before Easter in private.

The court's decision has been made available to the public.

Complaint

In her judgment Ms Justice Irvine said the Medical Council received a complaint about the GP from a patient who attended at his surgery in September 2020, with a suspected chest infection who was concerned they may have Covid-19.

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After being told that Dr Waters surgery could not refer patients for Covid-19 tests, the patient attended a different doctor. The other doctor said the patient's symptoms were not consistent with Covid-19 and that it was likely that the patient had a chest infection.

The patient returned to Dr Waters' surgery.

In the surgery the patient says that he saw a pamphlet entitled "No pandemic killing us."

The patient alleges that he was treated to a barrage of nonsense "about the hoax that is Covid-19" by Dr Waters, the judge said.

Face masks

It is also alleged that Dr Waters told the patient that the Government were scamming the people, and that wearing of masks was causing illness and that people who had died from the illness had not actually died from the virus.

The patient also claims that Dr Waters told him that his own symptoms were caused by the mask the patient was wearing, the judge said.

After thinking "long and hard" about the situation the patient decided to make a complaint due to his belief that what the doctor said was dangerous and undermining messages given by public health professionals trying to manage the current global public health emergency.

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Arising out of the complaint the Medical Council contacted Dr Waters. He admitted setting out his point of view on Covid-19 to the patient, but claims he did so in a professional manner, the judge said.

In her judgment Ms Justice Irvine said in a response to the allegations Dr Waters expressed his views regarding the Government's handling of Covid-19 pandemic and his research regarding the pandemic.

Lockdowns

He stated that the State's measures have "done more harm than good," specifically the psychological damage done by lockdowns. He also supplied documents sourced from abroad to support his views, the court also noted.

He also said that the government had instigated 'media propaganda' which was being used to front run an economic collapse in the Western World, and that the death toll from covid19 is inflated.

The doctor also said that his views have only been communicated to patients who seek his professional opinion, and that he has not shared his views on the internet or stood on a platform speaking to the public.

Medical Council

The Medical Council said that in response it wrote to Dr Waters expressing its concerns and sought assurances from him that he would adhere to best professional practice and that he would follow HSE Covid-19 guidelines, the judge said.

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Last February the medical council discovered that Dr Waters told sections of the media that he would not administer Covid-19 vaccines to patients as he was a conscientious objector.

After it was unable to get the assurances, it had sought from Dr Waters the Medical Council instructed its lawyers to make an application under the 2007 Medical Practioners Act to the High Court to suspend his registration.

It claimed that the patient's complaint raised serious issues about Dr Waters clinical practice, and about public safety, and that he was failing to follow ethical guidelines.

Covid test

The Medical Council said it was particular concerned about Dr Water's admission that he had not referred any patient of his for a Covid-19 test, the judge added.

The council said that certain undertakings to co-operate with the HSE were tendered by Dr Waters, however it was their case that they did not go far enough to protect the public and Dr Waters' patients.

Opposing the application to suspend him Dr Waters argued that the convictions he holds regarding Covid-19 were protected by his right to conscientious objection.

He denied putting his patients at risk, Ms Justice Irvine added.

He also argued that there was significant scepticism in the public and medical professional about vaccines, and that his actions did not amount to an attempt to undermine public health.

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In her decision Ms Justice Irvine said that the Council was justified in bringing the application to suspend Dr Waters, pending the outcome of an investigation into his alleges conduct.

The allegations were sufficiently serious to warrant the bringing of an application seeking his temporary suspension, she added. In addition, the undertakings offered by Dr Waters were not sufficient to allow the court impose any less restrictive measures.

Having considered all the material before the court that Judge said she was satisfied to grant the relief sought by the Council.

 

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