Board Restricts Doctor’s License Over COVID Misinfo

Derick Alison
Derick Alison
4 Min Read

The Medical Commission in Washington state has restricted the license of Idaho pathologist Ryan Cole, MD.

In an order dated January 4, the commission concluded that Cole spread misinformation related to COVID-19 and failed to meet the standard of care for a number of patients during the pandemic.

As a result, the commission restricted Cole from engaging in the practice of primary care medicine and from prescribing medications for patients, limiting his practice of medicine in the state to pathology.

Specifically, the commission found that Cole “engaged in multiple acts of dishonesty when he made numerous demonstrably false and/or misleading statements [in] presentations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines, the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, and the effectiveness of masks.”

This “raises concerns that the respondent may use his professional position as a physician to harm members of the public,” the commission stated.

Furthermore, the commission found that Cole failed to meet the standard of care when it came to four patients treated via telemedicine in 2021. This included prescribing medications, such as ivermectin, not indicated for a COVID infection.

Cole also continued to engage in misrepresentation during a September 2023 hearing on the matter, and he interfered with the investigation “when he provided a written statement to the commission stating that he had not advised patients or the general public to refrain from getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” the commission stated.

Stipulations of the order restricting Cole’s license include that, within 6 months, he must complete continuing medical education courses in the topics of COVID-19, pulmonary and respiratory diseases, medical record-keeping, and telehealth. Within 9 months, he must write and submit a 1,000-word paper to the commission, “addressing professionalism, truthfulness, and honesty in medicine.”

Cole must also pay a $5,000 fine to the commission, among other stipulations.

Failure to comply with the conditions of the order may result in the suspension and/or revocation of Cole’s license, the commission stated.

For his part, Cole contended that the commission’s requested sanctions were too onerous, according to the January 4 order: “Respondent argues that patients he treated never suffered harm. He further argues that his presentations did not constitute the practice of medicine and, in any event, he only made statements that he believed to be true.”

Ultimately, a petition for reconsideration may be filed within 10 days, and any petition for judicial review must be filed and served within 30 days, the order noted.

Legal counsel for Cole did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Cole has held a medical license in Washington state since 2007, with no prior disciplinary action against it. His medical license in Idaho, where he is based, remains active with no action against it.

Back in 2021, the Idaho Medical Association called on its state medical board to investigate Cole over his prescribing of ivermectin to COVID-19 patients. That same year, Cole and his laboratory, Cole Diagnostics, parted ways with St. Luke’s Health Partners, an integrated health network in Idaho.

Cole had also appeared in a viral documentary released in 2022 called “Died Suddenly,” which claimed COVID shots were connected to unusual blood clots and the sudden onset of cancer.

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    Jennifer Henderson joined MedPage Today as an enterprise and investigative writer in Jan. 2021. She has covered the healthcare industry in NYC, life sciences and the business of law, among other areas.

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