Anti-vaccine Portland pediatrician agrees to restrictions while medical board investigates his competence

Portland pediatrician Paul Norman Thomas has agreed to significant restrictions on his medical practice that prevent him from discussing vaccinations with patients, according to an “interim injunction” issued June 3 by the Oregon Medical Board. The Portland Business Journal first reported on the board’s action.

The board had revoked Thomas’ license in December for failing to adequately vaccinate patients and repeatedly mislead patients about vaccinations. It cited a case where an unimmunized 6-year-old boy contracted tetanus, which required a harrowing two-month stay at OHSU hospital.

Such severe cases of tetanus are extremely rare, as there is a vaccine to prevent the bacterial disease.

“It’s always hard to watch a child suffer,” Dr. Carl Eriksson, OHSU pediatric care specialist, told The Oregonian/OregonLive in 2019, citing the tetanus case. “It’s harder when we know they’re suffering from something that’s preventable, and of course we do everything we can to avoid those situations.”

The medical board stated that Thomas had published an “alternative vaccination schedule” that “fraudulently claims that following his vaccination schedule will prevent or reduce the incidence of autism and other developmental disorders.” This schedule, the board wrote, exposed children to “multiple potentially debilitating and life-threatening illnesses.”

In April, the board of directors issued a notice of proposed disciplinary action against Thomas for “making false or misleading statements about the effectiveness of the licensee’s treatments, repeated negligence and gross negligence in medical practice… other allegations.

Thomas practices medicine at Integrative Pediatrics on Southwest Barnes Road. The practice’s website promotes its “vaccine-friendly physicians,” which it defines as “those who respect the informed consent process and will let informed patients decide for themselves whether to get a vaccine for themselves or their children.” The site says Thomas is “affectionately known as ‘Dr. Paul'” and notes that he has “huge social media followers”.

The medical board this month revoked Thomas’ license suspension and replaced it with the preliminary order as it continues its investigation. The board said Thomas “will voluntarily limit his practice to acute care; refrain from consulting or directing clinic personnel regarding questions, concerns, or recommendations about vaccination protocols; and refrain from conducting any research related to patient care pending the completion of the Council’s investigation into its ability to safely and competently practice medicine.”

–Douglas Perry

dperry@oregonian.com

@douglasmperry

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