Dr Chris Neil | Australian Cardiologist on Doctors not Speaking up

IN C19 CHAMPIONS

Dr. Chris Neil (Australian Cardiologist) on the Doctor-Patient relationship and on doctors not being able to speak up.

Dr. Neil became a cardiologist mid-career, having been continuously engaged in medicine or the study of medicine for 26 years, a quarter of a century. Since specialization, he has undertaken doctoral and post-doctoral studies, being successful in obtaining research grants, completing investigation driven studies, and supervising, and co-supervising higher degree research students to completion, as well as supervising and mentoring multiple physicians in training. Discusses doctor patient relationship.

Rumble | The COVID Inquiry 2.0 is a cross-party, non-parliamentary inquiry held on the 17th August 2022.

Senator Malcolm Roberts:
So, what we’ve learned so far is that we have a toxin being injected into some people’s bodies without informed consent, coerced into them, forced into them. And that toxin has been based upon fraud and falsification within Pfizer. It’s a toxin that’s lethal.

We’ve just learned that it’s in response to a threat that is minimal. And so now we move on to how did they do it? Well, they did it via doctors. So we’ve now got Dr. Chris Neil, who’s representing many doctors around the country starting to speak up.

Dr. Neil is married with eight children. He became a cardiologist mid-career having been continuously engaged in medicine or the study of medicine for 26 years, quarter of century, since specialisation he has undertaken doctoral and post-doctoral studies being successful in obtaining research grants, completing investigation driven studies, and supervising, and co-supervising higher degree research students to completion as well as supervising and mentoring multiple physicians in training. So he’s not only a doctor he’s been developing other doctors.

Dr. Neil’s passion within medicine has been the optimization of care for patients with chronic heart failure. And he has been privileged to co-develop better models of service within the public hospital system. Due to a variety of concerns, Dr. Neil elected, not to receive a vaccination against COVID-19, despite it being mandated in Victoria in October 2021. Yes, he’s from Victoria. Dr. Neil is a founding member of AMPS and incoming president, and has been involved in a variety of pursuits beyond medicine, including standing in the federal election earlier this year over to you, Dr. Neil.

Dr. Chris Neil:
Thank you very much, Senator Roberts, and thank you for the privilege of having me here today. I’m delighted to follow other eminent speakers. I’m going to be dealing with the issue of doctors speaking up and I wish to do so in two main categories, one would be doctors speaking in an honest, transparent, and truthful way to their patients, an essential component of the doctor patient relationship. And in addition, the implied necessity of doctors being able to speak up publicly in matters of public interest, especially regarding health.

So a little bit more background about myself. I started the study of medicine 90s and I vividly recall entering into that study and that profession. And as I’ve said on other occasions, with a sense of the privilege that was mine and would be mine, as a doctor. In terms of the access into people’s lives, the necessity of integrity in that therapeutic relationship, and with that also just the greater responsibility on me with the accountability and liability that I’d eventually have as a professional.

One thing I remember was early on the emphasis on a bio psychosocial model of medicine or healthcare, this became prominent over the last few decades. It’s to be contrasted with a biomedical model. And the reason I draw this out is that humans are complex. The idea of a biomedical aligned model of a human is more mechanistic. And it was always emphasised as where I was preparing to become a doctor that a person was far more than that.

So as background for a real therapeutic relationship, it’s essential that we as doctors realise that humans are very complex. In addition, regarding the bio psychosocial model, it was emphasised always that we’re not to practise a paternalistic kind of medicine. The medicine that we should aim to practise should be nonjudgmental.

Moving forward many students were there primarily thinking that medicine was a science. It is a science, but it’s an art and a science. The journey of becoming a doctor involves moving from the fascination of science as a student to actually becoming a scientist in the sense of applied science, as a clinical scientist. And so the scientific method needs emphasis before I continue.

Science and the scientific method, it always have to have the elements of curiosity, but also scepticism, the ability to ask critical questions, and also humility in the sense that the great quest of science recognises that we don’t know everything.

Further on in my study of medicine when I was starting in the 1990s, and again, by way background, the term evidence based medicine was really just emerging. This is a important consideration. The concept of evidence based medicine was first introduced to me, I remember, in a lecture where we received a paper, a published peer reviewed paper and on the surface it looked authoritative and we were introduced to the idea of critical appraisal that we had to be able to look beyond the surface of a paper. We had to be able to determine who the authors were, what their potential conflicts of interests were, what the funding of that study was, and a host of other important skills regarding critical appraisal.

Evidence based medicine was contrasted to imminence based medicine, imminence based medicine, which is to say that many things in the history of the practise of medicine could have arrived or arisen from simply an expert, a so-called expert, a professor, for instance, without a really strong empirical basis. So evidence based medicine promised a kind of levelling of the play playing field where all the evidence that would lead to clinical decisions and therapeutics would be held to the best possible standards. Certainly a worthy aim.

Now for me, my journey through medicine took me, and through science in fact, took me into specialisation in cardiology and academic self specialisation, in a sense with a PhD and in a lot of involvement actually in research. So all of these things by way of background. In the first months of 2021, as Australia was watching eagerly with the much trumpeted rollout of the vaccinations, I was in an interesting position. I think most of my colleagues, I’m certain most of my colleagues, as well as a majority of the public was very optimistic and very much wanting this as the solution, the vaccine being the proposed solution to the double bind, if you like, especially in Victoria of the menace of COVID-19 and the grip and harm of lockdown, which we’re all experiencing.

It was a spectacle. It was on the news cycle throughout. We were seeing politicians get vaccinated and all the while the constant refrain that this was safe and effective. At this point, I guess my concern was that I knew how much was unknown at this point in this whole presentation of the products.

I refer back to evidence based medicine. Evidence based medicine is frequently conceptualised in a diagram. And that diagram is a pyramid. Now a pyramid has a base. So the pyramid is a multi-level base. And you can look at examples of this on the internet, evidence based medicine pyramid. But the key to emphasise is the bottom layer, the foundation layer, whenever you are building something, I suppose you have to have a good foundation. And the foundation layer in the evidence based medicine pyramid is the preclinical research, which refers to the cellular and animal studies, the mechanistic studies, the studies regarding bio distribution.

And of course the studies, which would serve as safety checkpoints, such as genotoxicity, which has been mentioned, carcinogenicity, which is crucial, and developmental and reproductive testing, i.e fertility and other birth related effects. And it should have been well known. It was understood by myself that this level of preclinical data was all but absent.

For me personally, this meant an extra vigilance was needed in my practise. An extra vigilance, for instance, at keeping up with the literature and keeping up in real time with the reported side effects, adverse events, and deaths. I was aware that many in my profession were not aware of where to go to for these types of signals in terms of reporting. In our case, the DAEN the National Database for Adverse Events.

And in fact, knowing those things didn’t make it any easier. My responsibility to my patients is always to tell the truth. And yet on March the 9th, 2021, AHPRA made what has been referred to as an edict, some will call it a gag order, but it is a joint statement of AHPRA and the National Boards that any doctors who do not support the rollout consistently in their discourse regarding vaccines to patients and in the public square could be held accountable with implications for their registration.

So the idea was that… Well, my journey through that was that, “Well, I have to tell the truth. I have to be aware of evidence. I have to give discussion and accurate answers when asked by my patients.” And I’d continue to believe that is the concept, which transcends the gag order. And in fact, although it may be costly, doctors, like any professionals are responsible to tell the truth. Rogers versus Whitaker (01) is a case law, which you may have already heard about today.

A judgement in 1992, which really establishes the issue of proper, full, and informed consent as the absolute duty of the doctor. So we’re coming back to doctors speaking up, it’s absolutely essential and unable to be overridden that doctors must tell the truth. Now, for me, that means explaining the hazards of a vaccination in the context of the possible benefits of this vaccination cycle.

We’ve already heard for context, we’ve already heard a good explanation of what the context really is, how severe COVID is. So that’s important, especially with regard to the waning effectiveness over time, which I think we can see with these vaccinations.

Now, another element of informed consent, I think, needs to be emphasised, and perhaps hasn’t been particularly emphasised. And that is the more I’ve considered this, these treatments are all by definition and by nature experimental. Now I’ve been involved in research, as it’s been said, and I’ve enrolled patients in trials more than I can count in which I’ve had a responsibility to provide, to administer, informed consent. That means I’ve got to know the protocol. I’ve got to know the investigational product. I’ve got to know any relevant risks, and I’ve got to give complete freedom to that patient to participate or not to participate.

What I’m getting at here is that it’s a fundamental issue with regard to all of these treatments that in Australia were passed, that entered into our market through a pathway, which only required preliminary data, that since these are experimental, this issue should have been emphasised in informed consent in all cases.

And I would say particularly at the start, when it was not so easy to go to a database to inform more about potential side effects. In other words, the idea, the concept that one was participating in a form of ongoing investigation, I believe should have been part of informed consent.

I look for instance, at the modules that prepared Australian injectors for their task in this country. And there was certainly no reference to the idea that this was an experiment in those resources. Now, I think that’s very important, furthermore, when it comes to the idea of mandatory vaccinations and the thought that an experimental product could be mandatory is one that should shock us. And I think that one that’s been glossed over.

But returning to the issue of speaking up, speaking the truth, I think that something that’s been missing in the Australian scene has been an emphasis that these products are experimental and as such can only be, I think, administered with a complete freedom of consent, which is important.

Now, doctors are speaking up, collectively doctors are speaking up, I can speak for the Australian Medical Professional Society, of which I’m president and of which I’ve been involved for almost a year, that we are absolutely determined to continue to speak up. Less than a week has pass since we have circulated a letter to all associations and fellow colleges, some 50 colleges of medicine or nursing or other health professions. And in that letter, we outlined our concerns.

Some, sorry, first and foremost, our concern regarding medical free speech. And then we also provided the ultimate report. Now, Dr. Phillip Altman has, as I believe, spoken already today. And I think you may be hearing from him again, but if it hasn’t already been said, The Altman Report (02) is in excess of 100 pages. It is, I believe, a compelling document to elaborate the nature and the consequences and the hazards of these vaccination products in Australia.

I think it follows with gap less logic and I believe it is irrefutable. I think it’s a legal standard document and it is now in the hands of all of these associations. We want to talk. We are available to discuss this report, our other concerns regarding free speech, and other matters as the Australian Medical Professional Society.

Senator Pauline Hanson:
Can I just asked has that document been released to any politicians or has it been released to media or anyone else outside the doctors?

Dr. Chris Neil:
Thank you. It has been sent to politicians. We have heard that not all have received it in their inboxes, so we’re happy to talk more about that. If you have not received it. It has not yet been circulated to media.

Not directly. I received it indirectly from my wife.

Dr. Chris Neil:
Yes. So the idea is that there is compelling data available. The response of the medical community, we believe, needs to be, again, back to the scientific method, curious, open-minded, sceptical of narratives, which might block us from really considering difficult facts and humble. To me, being a scientist, being a medical scientist, demands that I’m humble. And I need to be able to realise that some subjects are difficult and I may not have had the truth at the start, but we always need to be able to review that.

So again, to conclude, doctors are speaking up. Many of us, I have to say, would regret not being able to find our voice earlier, but I also want to say we’re determined to help all Australian doctors find their voice and also to help the Australian people, the public, find their voice in these crucial matters. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Any questions?

Senator Pauline Hanson:
Yes. I want to ask you the question. Okay. You’ve gone through your medical course. You passed your medicine, you got your certificate. You are now practising doctor. You took a Hippocratic oath, to do the right by patients. Why is it that the medical association can de-register you because you are not performing a duty of encouraging people to get this vaccination? I don’t get it.

Do you have a legal standing that you have passed your degrees, you’ve become a doctor, whereas they are controlling your right to perform your duties to the best of your ability, do you have a legal standing to actually then tell them to go to hell and just continue to practise? Do you practise?

Dr. Chris Neil:
Well, I think that’s, thank you. The way I would tackle that is that we believe the gag order has minimal standing compared to the standing of our codes of conducts, and as you referred to, the traditions and oath associated with medicine, first do no harm, as well as just a commitment within the doctor patient relationship to represent the interest of that patient above every other consideration.

So when I think you weigh up the force of the gag order is minimal compared to our actual responsibility. However, we do need to fight that out in courts.

Senator Pauline Hanson:
If you continued performing, say a doctor continued to perform the duties, what could they possibly do here? They say, de-register you. Okay, you’re de-registered. You still perform. What would happen?

Dr. Chris Neil:
So I think that the difficulty here is, although a practitioner might feel that what’s been done is unlawful or might have received advice that’s unlawful, that the situation becomes under this idea of impersonating a doctor because in Australia, if you are suspended and you continue to provide medical advice, you are able to be charged of that. Now in some states that’s under criminal jurisdiction. So it is a vexed issue. I don’t think that’s an easy step for a doctor to take. And I don’t think that’s legal advice that they would be receiving.

So, as I understand it, Dr. Neil is discussing the doctor patient relationship from the doctor’s point of view. We’ve got prominent barrister going to be coming up talking about it from a legal perspective. So I think that might be a great question to ask of our next speaker. Did you have a question?

Sorry.

No, go ahead.

Craig Kelly:
No, go ahead. Just quickly, that letter from AFRA on the 9th of March, that edict that you said, that effectively called on you to tell a lie. Or to say something that you didn’t believe, or for you to violate your Hippocratic Oath, or the least hide information from your patients.

Dr. Chris Neil:
Yeah. I think that is an implication, especially as the picture has emerged. So yes, for me, that was incredibly difficult to negotiate day to day.

I’ve been talking to some individual doctors they’ve said, “To hell with this. I love doing medicine. I love caring for people, but I’m not going to put up with this bullshit.” And they quit. They’ve gone back being farm workers. And that’s something we can’t afford. We can’t afford the loss of these highly skilled and caring professionals. The ones who really care and who got the guts to tell the truth, they’re the ones we want.

Dr. Chris Neil:
We also want their voice back because I think that what’s being demonstrated today, as you continued this fight, as we continue this, is that more and more is emerging. And we continue to maintain that this is going to be very difficult to deny for all of relevant parties.

What’s the role of the colleges? Now, some doctors are absolutely terrified of the colleges. They held a lot of power over doctors. We know that. The doctors have told us. You sent a letter to the colleges saying, “Let’s talk.” What is the power of the colleges?

Dr. Chris Neil:
Well, I think the colleges represent the interests of their associations. Really their power should be marshalled to inform their members as to what’s really going on. That’s what we’ve asked them to do. We believe that’s in their best interest to do that. The power of APRA is, I think, more and more substantial at the individual level than the power of the colleges. They’re primarily advocacy in education and credentialing.

Thank you very much. Any other questions?

No.

Thank you very much, Dr. Neil.

Dr. Chris Neil:
Thank you.

Thank you.

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