Doctor warns of medical totalitarianism after license put under review following podcast

Dr. Kirk Milhoan
Dr. Kirk Milhoan | Courtesy of Kirk Milhoan

A Hawaiian pastor whose medical license is now under review after having a critical discussion about COVID-19 vaccines and other therapeutic options on a local podcast has raised concerns about medical totalitarianism.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Dr. Kirk Milhoan, a pediatric cardiologist who also pastors at Calvary Chapel-South Maui, explained that when his name came up during a widely-listened to Joe Rogan podcast with Dr. Robert Malone — a co-inventor of mRNA vaccine technology and virologist who has been critical of compulsory vaccine mandates for children and people with natural immunity — he mentioned that Milhoan had been employed by the hospital but was discharged, presumably for publicly sharing his expert opinions.

While Malone was correct in saying that Milhoan had been targeted, what actually happened, he explained, is that state authorities put his medical license under review. 

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CP reached out to both the Hawaii Medical Board and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to inquire about the status of Milhoan’s license review. DCCA replied in an email that it does not advise or comment on matters and investigations that are pending. 

During the podcast that some suspect was the impetus for his license going under review, Milhoan discussed the early treatment for the delta variant and the risks, benefits and alternatives in terms of treatment for the virus with Dr. Lorrin Pang, the head of public health for Maui County.

Pang made clear that while he has vaccinated many people for COVID-19, for the purpose of the podcast, hosted by the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent, he was speaking in his personal capacity.

"We were having a standard medical discussion," Milhoan told CP. "But that podcast was sent to a political editor at the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper. And I was interviewed by that person, and I was just trying to tell the reasoning and how our church acts and what I'm involved in. We do this not out of recklessness. I assume a risk in order to care for people who are sick."

This is his calling as a physician and Christian, Milhoan added, referencing the words in Matthew 25:40, where Christ speaks of serving the least of these, that they are doing so as unto Him. 

"Whether I have my pastor hat on or my international medical missionary hat on or as the director of our free clinic that is federally authorized in Maui or whether I'm doing temporary work on the mainland in children's hospitals, there are always risks and benefits no matter what I do," he continued. 

Yet that discussion was seen as unacceptable. 

Milhoan told CP he has no idea what the rationale was for his license being reviewed because he and Pang were subjected to resignation demands, smears and name-calling, including being called "quacks." Among those who chimed in were Hawaii's Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Maui's Mayor Michael Victorino, he said. 

Pang told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an August interview that as a member of the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent, he was speaking as a private citizen and doesn’t always agree with the views of other members of the group. He also emphasized that he backs the state’s efforts to vaccinate more people against COVID-19. Even so, some were demanding his termination.

“If you are going to be guilty by association, that’s kind of a form of prejudice, bias and censorship, isn’t it?” Pang said. “I thought in this day and age, we look at people for what they are, not who they associate with.”

Milhoan believes the medical establishment is wedded to one narrow narrative about how to handle the virus. The physician told CP that the Federation of State Medical Boards and American boards of pediatrics, internal medicine and family practice have sent out letters saying that if they believe that doctors are not cooperating with the official narrative or sharing "disinformation" they consider unethical, their licenses or certifications can be revoked. 

"It's pretty amazing to me because, as a physician, I'm not treating a narrative. I'm treating the patient before me. The responsibility of being a doctor is so great. To me, the only responsibility that is greater is being a pastor. Because if I lead people the wrong way their eternity is at stake, and I'm held responsible for that," Milhoan said. 

"Teachers are held to a higher level of responsibility. We are the watchmen on the wall from Ezekiel. If we are not warning them or telling them the truth about eternity, God holds us responsible for that." 

He added: "In the same way, in medicine, if I do harm to a patient because I'm serving a governmental entity or an employer or an insurance person, that's egregious to me. The patient-doctor relationship is paramount. They need to be able to trust me that, as it says in the original Hippocratic Oath that I will basically do nothing to kill them." 

When Milhoan received the complaint from the medical board that he was spreading misinformation, he was never told what misinformation he was accused of spreading. Describing the risks of any medication, including vaccines that for months were only authorized for emergency use, are simply part of his job, he said. 

During this ordeal, no one asked him how his patients were doing. He found out that his medical license was under investigation from a news outlet that called him the same day it went under review. Milhoan, however, said he wasn't formally notified by healthauthoritiesuntil months later. The news outlet called him in August, he recounted, and he finally received a formal letter from the government in November.  

The November letter from the Regulated Industries Complaint Office, which he shared with CP, appeared to be a pre-printed form letter and accused him in a general sense of spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccinations and the safety and effectiveness of using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat the respiratory illness.

Milhoansent a reply in the form of a 14-page response letter, saying that the NIH stated in a July guideline update that ivermectin is under evaluation as a potential treatment for COVID-19. 

But Milhoan maintains that ivermectin is an approved medication that can, as many other medicines, be used off-label, in light of provisions in the 1994 FDA Modernization Act.

“Given that even the NIH considers ivermectin as a potential treatment for COVID-19, it's not unreasonable for me to discuss the potential risks, benefits and alternatives of its use, based on this and other publicly available information,” he said. 

The NIH currently states on its website that while "some clinical studies showed no benefits or worsening of disease after ivermectin use," others have "reported shorter time to resolution of disease manifestations that were attributed to COVID-19, greater reduction in inflammatory marker levels, shorter time to viral clearance, or lower mortality rates in patients who received ivermectin than in patients who received comparator drugs or placebo."

It further argues that "most of these studies had incomplete information and significant methodological limitations, which make it difficult to exclude common causes of bias."

The agency also states that there is "insufficient evidence" to "recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19." Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment has not yet been approved by the FDA.

The second complaint accused Milhoan of prescribing medication “that has not been authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for prevention or treatment of COVID-19 to a patient to prevent or treat COVID-19, specifically hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.”

To that accusation, Milhoan wrote in his reply that the FDA itself grants provision for physicians to use approved drugs “off label” and that its guidelines also apply to the discussion of such use with other physicians.

He told CP that COVID-19 is a multi-stage disease that requires nuance when treating it and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each patient must be treated on a case-by-case basis, he said. When someone comes to him with COVID-19, he examines their comorbidities, the severity, degree of their symptoms and what kind of symptoms they have. 

“The discussion between a patient and their doctor about where they are, what medications are appropriate, what medications might not be harmful but aren’t useful either, those are all things we have to take into account and we’re still in a pandemic,” he said.

“When someone is having difficulty breathing in front of you, you don’t have time to say, ‘You know what? Come back to me in six months after we finish this randomized control trial.' What you do is try things that have worked before. The Koreans showed that hydroxychloroquine, zinc and azithromycin showed improvement," he said.

If they’re showing some early data because the side effect profile is so low when hydroxychloroquine is used appropriately with appropriate doses, then it's worth exploring as an option, he added, noting that the drug is even given over-the-counter in many countries.

The same applies to another drug that has emerged in this space, ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication. Milhoan maintains the relevant meta-analyses show that the drug can be helpful.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily like, ‘Oh my gosh, if I give somebody hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin they don’t have any symptoms at all.’ What I’m trying to do first is keep them from dying. And second, keep them out of the hospital. And third, try to ameliorate their symptoms while I keep them out of the hospital,” Milhoan explained.

There is a hierarchy of procedures, he continued, noting that when he gives patients these medicines he tells them about the risks and benefits and that they still might experience significant symptoms which may warrant further treatment with stronger drugs, perhaps steroids.   

“These are all pieces of our armamentarium to treat it as it’s a multi-faceted approach for a multi-stage disease.” 

Amid the media misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, the nuances about the drug have gotten lost, he maintains. Hydroxychloroquine is involved primarily in viral replication so it's wise to consider using the drug in the replication stage of the illness, he added. With COVID-19, that stage is within the first week. COVID-19 hospitalizations usually occurseven- to-14 days after infection.

When asked by this reporter what he would say to those who have become convinced that recommending hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin is dangerous, disinformation and constitutes a form of grave medical harm, and thus a review of his license is an appropriate government response, Milhoan urged them to speak to doctors on the ground who are actually treating patients and not merely those commentating on treatment options.

“Talk to us who are actually seeing patients and treating them earlier as opposed to saying, ‘Go home and come back to us when you can’t breathe.’ If I use something on an outpatient and it doesn’t work, I stop using it. Actually, ask the question and have a discussion with actual people seeing patients and not just talking about it,” he reiterated.  

Milhoan added that he and his colleagues knew that something suspicious was stirring related to this pandemic when they saw how certain viewpoints and medical perspectives from solid sources were being censored online and by the corporate media.

“As soon as they started attacking that, I knew it was wrong. We don’t censor in medicine, you just bring out your ideas, you don’t censor,” he said.

The drug is so safe, he added, that refugees are routinely given ivermectin to treat infections before entering the United States.  

“This is so disingenuous that they would mock people who would use ivermectin and they would say hydroxychloroquine is not safe? Both of those medicines are safer than Tylenol,” Milhoan stressed.

Typically what doctors get in trouble for is that they have harmed someone or have abused the patient-physician relationship, such as sexual harassment or impropriety, he continued. The other major reason is that they were caught in a pattern of substance abuse, perhaps an addiction to alcohol or prescription drugs. 

After Milhoan submitted his lengthy response to the license review board, he received a second letteradmitting that the complaint had not originated from one of his patients. The complaint lodged against him had been anonymously filed. 

"I don't even know what I've done wrong," he recounted telling the authorities. 

"Federally, I'm covered. I was acting within my sphere. I was treating an infectious disease as a pediatrician. We treat infectious diseases all the time. We talk about vaccines all the time. I'm a pro-vax pediatrician." 

Milhoan was initially comfortable with the COVID-19 vaccines until he saw the VAERS reports. He also noted a shift in the way past treatments and vaccines had been responsibly scrutinized.

"In 1999, we had a concern with the rotavirus vaccine. After about a year-and-a-half, we took it off the market because we were seeing effects that they were concerned about upfront. But as it got widespread, there were these problems. It was the regulatory oversight that I expected from the CDC for everyone else," he said. 

The rotavirus vaccine was closely monitored and when problems persisted it was taken off the market, he reiterated. The signal that health authorities watched for that vaccine was less than 100 cases of adverse reactions. It was summarily taken off the market and another vaccine did not come about until six years later, he added. 

"That's how I'm used to our situation working," he explained. 

"Right now, besides the COVID vaccine, I would go along with the schedule of vaccines. But I get labeled an 'anti-vaxxer.' People call me a flat-earther. My Ph.D. is in cardiovascular physiology. I can speak to myocarditis in young athletes. This is well within my specialty. I could serve on a trial as an expert witness," Milhoan said. 

The subject of his dissertation was on what causes inflammation with heart attacks, what causes the scar, specifically what causes the early stages of inflamed myocardium, which is now called myocarditis.

"I'm not a quack on this, but if we don't speak the 'right' thing, they will destroy you," he said. 

Milhoan's wife is also a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist who has been tracking the latest development and has given presentations on the subject. 

"You have to have to follow the money on this," he said. "There are people in control who control things. Why aren't we taking this off the market when we took off rotavirus and we took off swine flu vaccine with much less? There are some control issues and some financial gains."

Another pediatric colleague told him that as recently as two years ago, he never would have questioned the CDC or FDA. He trusted them because he saw how, for example, they had taken appropriate steps to course-correct when things went awry with rotavirus treatments. 

Milhoan recounted being told in medical school that when he graduates, most of the medical information that he receives will not be through medical journals but in the Tuesday edition of The New York Times in the medical section. Most doctors are hearing about whatever the legacy media is speaking about and are trusting the old regulatory entities, he said, adding that the top-down culture of silencing is affecting how doctors operate. Many are keeping their heads down.  

A pediatric anesthesiologist recently told him: "'Kirk, what in the world are you doing? They are going to destroy you. Because I agree with what you're saying but I'm going to work one more year, pay off my house, and then retire because I don't want to be a part of this medicine anymore.'"

An increasing number of doctors are saying similar things, Milhoan told CP. 

"'I'm done with this totalitarian stuff,'" they tell him privately, he said, noting how they're afraid to even discuss certain topics.

Given how even double COVID-vaxxed and boosted people are still contracting the virus, it warrants asking questions about their effectiveness, particularly in children, who are 99.996% likely to survive the virus if they get it, he said. 

Milhoan believes that the heavy-handedness with which Pang has been treated reveals that if one deviates ever-so-slightly from the approved narrative about treatment protocols the medical establishment powers-that-be “will get you.” 

Milhoan and Pang continue to scrutinize the emerging data and converse about best treatment practices. 

CP asked Milhoan to respond to those who argue — such as the University of California – San Francisco epidemiology and biostatistics professor Vinay Prasad — that the problem was not about a desire for early treatment, but that the drugs Malone and McCullough were suggesting were not effective.

“A pooled analysis of all such studies by Axfors and colleagues suggests patients treated with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine had increased risk of death,” Prasad argued in a Jan. 19 essay in UnHerd, adding that ivermectin “has not shown persuasive evidence of benefit in randomized trials to date” but that both it and hydroxychloroquine had been “unfairly demonized.”

Milhoan maintained that Prasad is not looking at all the data for early treatment when it's truly early, defining truly early as “within the first five days of symptom onset, the sooner the better,” referencing a meta-analysis on ivermectin from Dr. Harvey Risch, an epidemiologist and professor at the Yale School of Public Health. 

The Hawaiian doctor underscored that he is not opposed to vaccines despite repeatedly being characterized as such. 

"I travel around the world and I see how beneficial vaccines can be. I go to places where they don't have the vaccines that we have in the U.S. But what I'm seeing is that people who otherwise trusted vaccines that we use in the U.S. are starting to distrust all vaccines," he lamented. 

"If you get a tetanus vaccine are you worried about getting tetanus? No. If you give kids a polio vaccine are you worried about getting polio? No. Now, people are saying 'I'm not going to take any vax.'"

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