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Ohio Medical Board renews license of doctor who claims vaccines make you magnetic

The State Medical Board of Ohio renewed the license for Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, the doctor who claimed the COVID-19 vaccine can make people magnetic.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — They’re forcing freedom-loving Americans to choose between injection of a “deadly” vaccine or testing those who will not comply via torturing them with nasal swabs looking for a “virus that, by some claims, doesn’t even exist.”

This claim, equal parts baseless and conspiratorial, appears on a website that solicited funds to the address of a business owned by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, a state-licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine.

Her medical license, first issued in 1984, was set to expire Oct. 1. The State Medical Board of Ohio, which credentials physicians, renewed her license Thursday for another two years.

Tenpenny drew nationwide media attention when, under an invitation from a Republican state lawmaker, she spoke to the Ohio House Health Committee and warned them that COVID-19 vaccines magnetize their recipients and “interface” with 5G towers. A federal judge has deemed her a non-expert in a vaccine injury lawsuit. She is among the 12 most prolific disseminators of COVID-19 misinformation on social media, according to research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

An anti-vaccine activist since the 2000s, Tenpenny has called vaccines a “method of mass destruction” and “depopulation;” charges $623 for her “boot camp” to train people how to convince others to refrain from vaccination; and sells her book, “Saying No To Vaccines” for $578 on Amazon.

State law allows the board, with the votes of at least six of its 12 members, to discipline any physician for “making a false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading statement” in relation to the practice of medicine.

This includes misrepresentation of facts that are likely to mislead, or “includes representations or implications that in reasonable probability will cause an ordinarily prudent person to misunderstand or be deceived.”

Licenses expire on a two-year basis.

Jerica Stewart, a spokeswoman for the medical board, confirmed Tenpenny’s license was renewed. She said to keep up with the 92,000 practitioners, the board automatically renews applications. Certain affirmative answers can trigger an automatic complaint stemming from an application, or the board can investigate a complaint or independently launch its own probe. She offered no comment on Tenpenny directly.

“A recent renewal does not prevent the board from taking future disciplinary action,” she said.

Before the board acted Thursday, the Ohio Capital Journal contacted the state medical board and several physician’s associations to ask whether they believe Tenpenny should be recertified as a physician.

Two physician’s associations, when contacted, avoided comment on whether they believed Tenpenny should remain as their peer and colleague.

Todd Baker, executive director of the Ohio State Medical Association, declined specific questions about Tenpenny and referred inquiries to the state medical board.

He pointed to a recent OSMA statement in support of COVID-19 vaccine requirements for health care workers. However, he refused to comment on Tenpenny.

“The investigative process to assess complaints regarding a licensee is also defined in law and rule and the Board is required to follow that process,” he said. “If other physicians or members of the public contact the OSMA with a complaint about a physician for any particular reason, we refer those inquiries to the medical board.”

Matt Harney, executive director of the Ohio Osteopathic Association, said the state medical board has the “authority to investigate possible fraud, misrepresentation, or deception” but declined to answer when asked if he believed Tenpenny perpetuated any such conduct.

He did, however, cite a statement the OOA’s president, Dr. Henry Wehrum, issued after Tenpenny made national headlines with her magnetic vaccines testimony.

“Misinformation is a serious threat to personal and public health and it must be rejected,” he said at the time. “This includes the false and completely unfounded claims made by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny during the Ohio House of Representatives Health Committee on June 8. The OOA disavows her testimony. She is not affiliated with the OOA, has never been a member, and does not represent the views of the OOA.”

State medical boards typically maintain a certain degree of secrecy. Stewart, the board spokeswoman, said any complaints it receives about physicians are confidential, though any disciplinary action would be in the public record.

She made the comment before Tenpenny’s license was renewed.

“The Medical Board takes its responsibility of protecting the health and safety of the public very seriously,” she said.

Similarly, Dayton physician Dr. Fred Wagshul’s license is also set to expire Oct. 1. He has not yet applied for renewal.

Wagshul is among the founding physicians of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Association, which has championed ivermectin as a preventative and cure for the disease.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic in humans and a dewormer in livestock. Its use against COVID-19 comes over the objection and public warnings of Merck, the drug’s manufacturer, along with the CDC, FDA, WHO, American Medical Association and others, who warn of the lack of evidence pointing to any medical benefit and the side effects the drug can induce.

In a previous interview, Wagshul called the health warnings “censorship” and compared the blacklisting of the drug to “genocide” from the U.S. government.

In court, he recently testified to prescribing ivermectin to a 51-year-old man without talking to his treating physicians at a Cincinnati hospital or reviewing any clinical information. Hospital staff, which successfully fought off a lawsuit seeking to force them to administer ivermectin against their will, testified that this is a major break from standards of care from a doctor who is not board certified and thus would never be admitted to practice medicine at their hospital.

Wagshul did not respond to a request for comment.

Other physicians who have promoted misinformation have avoided professional censure from medical boards. An NPR review of medical licenses for 16 doctors who have proven track records of doing so online and in media interviews found 15 of them maintained active licenses in good standing. One appeared to have let his license expire, but there was no suggestion in his record that it was because of any disciplinary action.

Read more from the Ohio Capital Journal