A Washington State physician’s assistant who mounted a “public campaign touting the use of ivermectin” for treating COVID, allegedly bullying hospital staffers to prescribe the unproven drug, had his license suspended by the state medical commission.
Scott Miller runs a private pediatric medical practice in Washougal that provides services such as genetic testing, lactation counseling, and treatment for pediatric autism, ADHD, and sleep disorders. A quote from Miller on his office website says there is “there is no greater calling and joy in [his] life than helping my patients achieve wellness.”
In recent months, Miller has become a presence at Washougal-area community meetings where, according to the Washington Medical Commission, he has spread rampant COVID misinformation, including claims that science does not support mask-wearing on airplanes.
At a May 10 school board meeting, he said he had begged parents to unenroll their children from school after the district asked them to talk to their kids about mask-wearing and social distancing, according to a report from the medical commission. He said he often shows patients who are concerned about COVID outbreaks pictures of himself and his friends “in Montana, skiing, in a bar ... listening to live music.”
“My wife just got back from Texas and nobody is wearing masks,” he said at the meeting. “I will not allow [our kids] to wear a mask. I didn't allow them to wear a mask when we went to the airport and got on a plane. I guess some of us know the science on that.” (Miller appeared to back down from these statements when questioned by the state medical board; denying ever telling patients to disregard social distancing guidelines and claiming he tells patients to follow CDC guidelines on masking, according to the commission’s report.)
The medical commission became involved after receiving reports that Miller had embarked on “a public campaign touting the use of ivermectin in treating [COVID-19].” Ivermectin is primarily used to treat parasites and has not been approved for treatment of COVID-19. According to a suspension order filed by the commission Oct. 12, Miller prescribed ivermectin to at least one COVID patient without adequate examination, and attempted to pressure local hospital staff into prescribing it to several others.
One patient, referred to in medical board documents as “Patient B,” entered the hospital Sept. 1 with acute respiratory failure; medics who transported him said he was “unresponsive with unreadable stats” upon arrival. Two days later, he declined intubation and walked out of the hospital against medical advice—but, according to the medical board, “in accordance with [Miler’s] advice to pursue treatment with ivermectin.”
Miller wrote the patient—whom he had never examined—a prescription for ivermectin to treat “head lice,” according to the medical board. Not one day later, the man was back in the hospital for respiratory failure. During his stay, the patient’s spouse called the hospital multiple times demanding he be placed on ivermectin, at Miller’s urging. Miller also participated in a phone call with the spouse and the hospital, in which he claimed the ICU doctor was doing “nothing” for her patients and called the nurse on the line a “pawn.”
“I'm Scott Miller. We know what you're doing,” he said on the recorded call. “Well, not you. You're a pawn, but you know what's happening.”
“I want you to carry this guilt because this is disgusting,” he added, before telling the patient that the physician “didn't give a shit” about him and asking the patient’s spouse to delete the recording.
The patient died Sept. 12.
State medical boards have increasingly started cracking down on healthcare workers who spread misinformation. The Federation of State Medical Boards recently issued a statement saying that spreading vaccine misinformation contradicts physicians “ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients,” and could be grounds for suspension or revocation of their license. Last month, the Oregon Medical Board revoked the license of a physician who claimed mask-wearing was dangerous and could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Washington medical commission also claimed Miller had failed to disclose crucial information about his disciplinary history when he applied for a medical license in 2013.
At the time, according to the board, Miller was under investigation by the California Physician Board for providing medical care and writing drug orders for controlled substances without a supervising physician’s authorization, and for failing to document and maintain medical records. (The California board later issued him a formal citation and fined him $2,500.) Miller claims he submitted evidence of this to the Washington medical board at the time, but the board maintains it never received it.
The medical commission suspended Miller’s license Oct. 12, citing “unprofessional conduct.”
Miller did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast, but claimed in his response to the medical commission that the complaints against him were not brought by patients, and were “almost completely void of facts.”
“I am very concerned about the lack of hospital system's interest in life saving therapies, rather continuing to implement treatments that have yielded over 700,000 thousand [sic] lives lost,” he wrote. “I am curious why I am being investigated for using medications that I have used ubiquitously to treat lice and scabies, croup, and pneumonia. And I am wondering if the board has any interest in the rapid resolution of symptoms that my patient experienced.”
Miller has been crowdfunding to mount a defense. A GoFundMe started by a local man named Joshua Brock to support Miller’s legal bills had garnered $48,147 in donations as of Saturday. The petition claims Miller is “working nearly all of his waking hours to support families who are dealing with COVID-19” and “needs our help if he is to continue serving our community.” Donors praised Miller for “follow[ing] the guidelines of God over the illegal mandates of man,” and “search[ing] beyond 'standard, cookie-cutter' options.”
Miller thanked his supporters in a post on his practice’s Facebook page, saying that he had “heard many flattering words from you, talking about my courage etc,” but that “the only word I would want to be synonymous with my name, is servant.”
“My decision to serve was not made by me, It was offered to me, by the highest authority,” he wrote. “The only relevant question put to me was, ‘Is there a life not worth saving?’”