Maddow Weblog | UCLA sources: DeSantis’s handpicked surgeon common mischaracterized his expertise treating Covid-19 sufferers

A number of former colleagues of Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s new surgeon common, say he misled the general public about his expertise treating Covid-19 sufferers. The 4 former colleagues labored with Ladapo at UCLA, the place for a number of years he was an affiliate professor within the division of Normal Inside Medication and Well being Companies Analysis, earlier than being tapped as Florida’s prime public well being official.


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Whereas at UCLA, Ladapo wrote a number of opinion items within the early months of the pandemic arguing towards lockdowns and masks utilization in the US. In two of these articles, written between March and April of 2020, he particularly claimed to have handled Covid-19 sufferers. On March 24, 2020, for instance, he wrote an opinion piece for USA At this time making an argument towards lockdowns primarily based on his personal expertise “taking good care of sufferers with COVID-19 at UCLA’s flagship hospital” the earlier week. Sixteen days later, on April 9, 2020, he wrote an virtually equivalent piece for The Wall Road Journal the place he additionally talked about his expertise “caring for sufferers with suspected or identified Covid-19 infections at UCLA.”

Dr. Ladapo’s characterization of his work is contradicted by the sources who labored on the identical UCLA flagship hospital. They spoke to MSNBC on the situation of anonymity as a result of they aren’t licensed to talk on the report, however their credentials have been independently verified. These sources, all of whom had expertise treating Covid-19 sufferers, say that Ladapo’s quite a few op-eds tremendously mischaracterized the kind of work he was doing throughout the pandemic. As well as, they don’t consider Ladapo handled Covid-19 sufferers at UCLA till after July 2020 and even later.

“I used to be a part of the staff that was taking good care of Covid-19 sufferers to start with of the pandemic and Dr. Ladapo was not a part of that staff. There have been two separate teams, Normal Medication and ICU, plus a volunteer program to care for Covid-19 sufferers. Ladapo was not a part of both,” stated one of many sources who was a part of UCLA’s Covid-19 job drive. “It was a small group of individuals, a job drive. Everybody knew everybody. He was not there,” the individual added.

Along with that assertion, MSNBC obtained scheduling paperwork from the time that Dr. Ladapo was working at UCLA. They present the schedules for dozens of medical doctors who have been additionally working within the Inside Medication Unit alongside him. These paperwork span a interval from June 2019 to September 2021. Whereas these paperwork present that quite a few medical doctors have been assigned to work within the “COVID” unit, at no level was Dr. Ladapo scheduled to deal with Covid-19 sufferers throughout that point. “He was not assigned to Covid hospital shifts and he was not a part of the duty drive, so until he noticed sufferers privately, I don’t assume he cared for sufferers with the virus right here at UCLA,” stated one of many sources conversant in the schedule.

MSNBC contacted UCLA looking for feedback on this reporting. After a number of makes an attempt through e mail and telephone they solely confirmed that Dr. Ladapo labored for them throughout the pandemic. When pressed for extra particulars, UCLA replied that “they don’t have extra info to share.” MSNBC additionally reached out to the Florida Division of Well being a number of occasions looking for remark from Dr. Ladapo with no response.

One other considered one of Dr. Ladapo’s public actions has raised scrutiny.

In July 2020, a bunch of medical doctors sporting white embroidered lab coats stood on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court docket in Washington. They referred to as themselves “America’s Frontline Medical doctors,” a reputation that implies that they have been both working in hospital emergency rooms or had expertise treating Covid-19 sufferers. In the course of the press convention, the medical doctors downplayed the dangers related to the virus and pushed hydroxychloroquine as a remedy, a press release that straight contradicts medical findings concerning the efficacy of the drug towards Covid. “I put them on hydroxychloroquine, I put them on zinc, I put them on Zitromax and they’re all effectively,” stated Stella Immanuel, one of many medical doctors on the press convention that day. Behind her stood Dr. Joseph Ladapo.

The sources consulted by MSNBC stated that Ladapo’s participation in that press convention ignited deep conversations inside UCLA concerning the credibility of his work and the way his actions have been affecting the popularity of the tutorial establishment. “In educational drugs we’re tasked with placing opinions on the market which are totally sustained. His opinion was not,” stated one of many sources consulted.

The medical professionals who spoke with MSNBC additionally indicated that contained in the hospital Ladapo’s opinion items turned a “supply of embarrassment,” particularly these written for The Wall Road Journal, one of many largest papers in the US. In accordance with one of many sources, UCLA requested the WSJ so as to add a disclaimer subsequent to Ladapo’s items clarifying that his views have been his personal, to no avail. When contacted by MSNBC, the paper stated, “The op-eds have been revealed beneath Dr. Ladapo’s byline as a result of they’re his views.” UCLA didn’t reply to our request for remark.

“Lots of people right here at UCLA are glad that he’s gone as a result of we have been embarrassed by his opinions and habits. On the identical time, we don’t want this on the folks of Florida. They don’t need to have somebody like him making their well being selections,” stated one of many UCLA sources. Dr. Ladapo was handpicked by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in September to be the state’s surgeon common. His affirmation listening to is due early subsequent yr, however the course of may encounter some pushback. A bunch of greater than 350 medical doctors despatched a letter to the Florida State Senate asking them to scrutinize Ladapo’s nomination amid skilled considerations.

Since taking the job as Florida’s surgeon common, Ladapo has made headlines for his stance on faculty masks mandates and extra lately for his refusal to put on a masks whereas assembly with a state senator who was later revealed to have been identified with breast most cancers. “As a doctor, I’m truthfully involved that Dr. Ladapo’s actions across the pandemic to date have been not simply unhelpful, however harmful,” stated Bernard Ashby, a Miami heart specialist who signed the letter voicing his concern with Ladapo’s nomination.

This was not all the time the case.

Ladapo, who graduated from Harvard Medical College in 2008 and has a PhD in well being coverage, was effectively revered by his UCLA friends when he first joined the tutorial establishment in 2016. “I discovered him to be brilliant, with a wealthy academic background. At all times nudging folks to make higher selections for themselves,” stated one of many sources. “Everyone is simply shocked. He was sensible, revered and even admired,” stated one other.

A few of his former colleagues genuinely assume Dr. Ladapo doesn’t consider behind closed doorways what he’s prepared to say in public. “He is aware of his statements [regarding Covid-19] should not correct; he is aware of higher.” The shock has led them to invest whether or not Ladapo was prepared to sacrifice his medical popularity over profession ambition. “He has develop into a right-wing media darling. He may like the eye,” one of many sources contacted by MSNBC stated. “What hurts me essentially the most is that these in Florida that employed him cite his work at UCLA as some extent of admiration… however he’s the whole lot this hospital and this establishment isn’t,” stated one other.

Florida’s Division of Well being haven’t responded to MSNBC’s emails for feedback.

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