A New South Wales (NSW) doctor has alleged that Australian medical regulators unjustly suspended her medical licence for prescribing Ivermectin during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. My Le Trinh, a suspended GP in northwest Sydney, alleges that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Medical Council of NSW were behind false complaints against her, which ultimately led to her suspension.
On Oct. 6, 2021, Dr. Trinh received two complaints via the AHPRA’s portal, which she said was unusual as complaints against medical professionals in NSW were normally lodged via the Health Care Complaints Commission or the Health Professional Councils Authority.
An Unusual ComplaintOne complaint was about a patient that Dr. Trinh treated on Aug. 26, 2021, and lodged by a junior doctor in Westmead Hospital.
The complaint did not specifically state why it was made against Dr. Trinh but simply made a series of observations about the patient.
According to Dr. Trinh, the patient was infected with COVID-19 and admitted to the hospital, but did not receive any treatment.
Seeing that it was futile to stay at the hospital, the patient decided to be discharged and return home.
However, her condition deteriorated as time passed.
After her experience at the hospital, the patient did not want to go back and asked Dr. Trinh for help.
Dr. Trinh asked the patient to go to the hospital as she was gravely ill, but she refused because she believed that she might die in the hospital and could not say farewell to her children.
The doctor then used a COVID-19 treatment protocol from the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), which includes Ivermectin, steroids, and a number of other medications, on the patient.
Despite being seriously ill, the patient managed to survive her condition after the treatment.
As Dr. Trinh was not the patient’s treating GP, she then advised her to return to her old GP to check if everything was okay.
In the complaint, the junior doctor from Westmead Hospital stated that the patient had steroid/polypharmacy-induced encephalopathy after going through Dr. Trinh’s treatment.
However, Dr. Trinh said the hospital’s diagnosis of polypharmacy was irrelevant in the patient’s case as a doctor needed to use many types of medicine to treat COVID-19.
While Dr. Trinh was concerned that the patient may have a steroid-induced psychosis, she disagreed with the diagnosis of steroid-induced encephalopathy.
The GP explained that it was not uncommon for patients to develop steroid-induced psychosis during COVID-19 treatment, but the issue was transient.
In addition, Dr. Trinh said the patient most likely had a neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19, which occurred in 1 in 3 cases.
As such, Dr. Trinh questioned the integrity of the Westmead Hospital’s diagnosis in the complaint.
“When the complaint came, I was quite concerned about the diagnosis. Secondly, I did not know why the complaint was made against me because I felt that I had saved this woman’s (the patient) life,” Dr. Trinh told The Epoch Times.
Dr. Trinh then contacted the junior doctor who made the complaint to find out why she did it.
The junior doctor told Dr. Trinh she did not know the reason and that her boss told her to do so.
The GP said it was common knowledge in the scientific community that ivermectin overdose was rare.
Dr. Trinh tried multiple attempts to contact Dr. Gunja, but he did not respond to her request.
A Westmead Hospital spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the hospital did not comment on individual cases due to patient privacy concerns.
The Epoch Times has also reached out to Dr. Gunja for comment but has yet to receive a reply in time for publication.
An Allegedly Fraudulent ComplaintAnother complaint was from a person identified as “John Smith,” who accused Dr. Trinh of promoting and writing prescriptions for inappropriate clinical use of Ivermectin in community groups online.
According to the complaint seen by The Epoch Times, Mr. Smith claimed that Dr. Trinh prescribed Ivermectin to one of his friends to treat COVID-19 and that he knew at least three patients who received similar prescriptions from her.
A picture of his friend’s prescription was also attached to the complaint.
However, Dr. Trinh said the allegation that she promoted and wrote prescriptions for Ivermectin online was an utter fabrication.
At the same time, the GP said she traced the Medicare number on the prescription and found it actually belonged to one of her family members.
On Aug. 19, 2021, Dr. Trinh had prescribed Ivermectin to a family member and personally took it to a local chemist near her surgery practice to get the medicine.
Because there was no supply of Ivermectin at the time, Dr. Trinh decided to leave the prescription at the chemist and go back later, which she said was the normal thing to do.
After receiving Mr. Smith’s complaint, Dr. Trinh went to the chemist to check as she did not understand why her family member’s prescription ended up in the complaint.
However, the chemist told her he had handed the prescription to AHPRA and that the medical regulator had instructed chemists to hand in all prescriptions containing Ivermectin.
The GP alleged that it was illegal for AHPRA to do so because Ivermectin was not banned at the time the prescription was made.
Dr. Trinh also tried to reach out to Mr. Smith but found that the contact details in the complaint were false.
The GP concluded that the complaint was falsified and believed that the Medical Council and the HCCC should not have investigated a fraudulent complaint.
“John Smith was in no way contactable: his email bounced back, his telephone number was disconnected, and he had no physical address,” she said.
She also alleged that medical regulators knew the complaint was fraudulent.
In response to the two complaints, Dr. Trinh told the Medical Council of NSW that she believed they were fraudulent and that the allegations against her were a lie.
However, Dr. Trinh said when this was brought to the attention of the health regulators, instead of ignoring the complaints due to their fraudulent nature, the Medical Council forced her to submit the medical record of her family member for whom the script was written.
A spokesperson from the Medical Council of NSW told The Epoch Times that the council was prevented by law from revealing or discussing the identity of people who lodge a complaint about a medical practitioner.
Being SuspendedOn Oct. 27, 2021, around three weeks after receiving the complaints, Dr. Trinh had an interview with the Medical Council.
Section 150 (1) states that the Medical Council can suspend a registered health practitioner’s registration if it considers it appropriate to protect the health or safety of any person or if the matter is in the public interest.
In other words, if the Council deemed Dr. Trinh’s action as posing a risk to the public, they could suspend her registration.
Dr. Trinh attended the interviews with her lawyer, who was appointed by her medical indemnity association.
However, the doctor alleged that the lawyer appeared to be very friendly with the Council and was not acting to protect her interests.
The lawyer told Dr. Trinh that everything would be fine and she just needed to tell the Council what happened and why she treated the patient that way.
However, things turned out quite differently from what the lawyer told Dr. Trinh.
She said that at the interview, the medical panel was not interested in finding out how she treated the patient and the reason behind it.
Instead, the panel criticised her for treating a family member and wanted to know how many prescriptions of Ivermectin Dr. Trinh had made, whom they were made for, and under what circumstance Dr. Trinh prescribed the drug.
Dr. Trinh said the investigation process was inappropriate as the panel was supposed to ask questions relating to the complaints only and could not go beyond that.
Furthermore, the GP said she believed she did not need to answer any questions regarding the John Smith complaint as it was fabricated and the person was not contactable.
The panel kept questioning her, but Dr. Trinh admitted she did not answer them well, as she said she lacked experience dealing with such a situation.
She also said the pressure from the panel caused her to recall the traumas she experienced as a child when escaping the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1960s and that the lawyer did nothing to protect her rights.
At 4 p.m. on that day, the panel declared that they had to suspend Dr. Trinh to protect the health and safety of the public.
Dr. Trinh criticised the panel’s ruling, saying it was ridiculous.
“How can you have a situation where two complaints, one being completely fraudulent and proven so at the time, and you have the other complaint where I actually saved the life of a patient, and yet I was deemed a danger to the public,” she said.
A Review ProcessFollowing the ruling, Dr. Trinh applied for a legal review on the merits of her case on March 23, 2022, to lift her registration suspension.
The GP noticed that two out of three members of the review panel did appear in the first interview, which caused her to be concerned about the objectivity of the review.
During the review, Dr. Trinh said the panel appeared to be unsatisfied with her on two occasions: one was a question about what Dr. Trinh thought about Ivermectin in COVID-19 treatment, and the other was her opinion on the FLCCC’s COVID-19 protocol, which she used to treat the Westmead patient.
In response, Dr. Trinh told the panel that Ivermectin was effective in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.
She also said FLCCC’s protocol was really good and provided guidance to doctors on how to treat the virus.
Dr. Trinh said after hearing her reply, the panel shook their heads and showed strong disapproval.
“I just thought, ‘Wow, they disapproved of me for believing the truth, for speaking the truth,’” she said.
“It was almost as if … unless I say what they want me to say, then I will get my licence back.
Dr. Trinh said she refused to say what the panel wanted because it was a lie and did not think she needed to lie to get her suspension lifted.
“Why do I have to lie to get my licence back? Why should I lie that Ivermectin doesn’t work?” she questioned.
“There is evidence that Ivermectin was effective for treating COVID-19. It is irrefutable. And I refuse to say that FLCCC’s protocol and what they do aren’t appropriate.”
Drug Authorities Frown on Ivermectin UseThe Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) banned the prescribing of Ivermectin for treating COVID-19 infection in Australia on Sept. 10, 2021.
In enforcing the ban, the TGA said Ivermectin was not approved for use in COVID-19 treatment in Australia or other developed countries and that it was strongly discouraged by international medical organisations, such as the World Health Organisation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In addition, the medicine regulatory agency said there were significant public health risks associated with taking Ivermectin to prevent COVID-19 infection.
It argued that people who took Ivermectin might choose not to get tested or to seek medical care if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, resulting in the spread of the virus throughout the community.
The TGA also cited “serious adverse effects” of higher doses of Ivermectin and national and local shortages of the medication as other major reasons for the ban.
Meanwhile, Dr. Colleen Huber, a naturopathic medical doctor in Tempe, Arizona, has presented evidence that Ivermectin is safe and effective.
In her book “The Defeat Of COVID,” Dr. Huber referenced many studies illustrating the positive results of Ivermectin in COVID-19 treatment.
“Of those studies in the meta-analysis that were peer-reviewed, overall improvement in early treatment was found to be 70 percent (64 percent in randomised controlled trials), and 86 percent of those in which Ivermectin was used prophylactically showed improvement (84 percent in randomised controlled trials).”