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by Nancy Thomas
“I’ll be practicing as soon as possible – I will be in my office next week,” an understated Dr. Skoly said yesterday in a radio interview.
Dr. Stephen Skoly has become well known in the last few months, not for his prowess as a highly respected oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Rhode Island, but for refusing the COVID vaccinations due to his medical history, and taking the RI Department of Health to court after its decision that he could not practice due to his non-vaccination status.
Yesterday, Dr. Skoly received a “Dismissal Stipulation” from RIDOH which allows him to continue practice, effective as early as today – see document, below:
Dr. Skoly has been the topic of two articles by RINewsToday – the last is reprinted, below – and a link to the first, follows.
Dr. Skoly’s medical issue concerned his past two bouts with Bell’s Palsy, which is a contraindication for the vaccine, as noted by his physician – and that he had some natural immunity because he had had COVID. The Health Dept. did not allow this exemption request.
It was also felt that Skoly’s position as president of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity was influential in the Health Department being unwilling to positively consider his personal circumstances. The “conservative” group’s mission is stated as: “a public policy think tank located in Rhode Island that that seeks to advance free market ideas. According to the organization, it “is dedicated to providing concerned citizens, the media, and public officials with empirical research data, while also advancing free-market solutions to public policy issues in the state.”
After the decision came down today, Mike Stenhouse of RICFP issued this statement: “Dr. Stephen Skoly had the wherewithal to prevail. It’s not often that an individual can stand up to the gov’t cabal of political supremacists – and win! But in America, the principled and courageous actions of one man can still lead to positive change.”
See Dr. Skoly’s interview – In the Dugout – with Atty. Piccirelli:
QUICK PITCH UPDATE: DOC SKOLY WINS
Within a half hour of Dr. Skoly’s announcement of the change in his status, the RI Department of Health released its new statement, which came to us from Joseph Wendelken, Public Information Officer:
I’m writing to follow up on Rhode Island’s Immunization, Testing and Health Screening for Health Care Workers regulations.
An emergency regulation that requires healthcare workers in Rhode Island to receive a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine is currently in place, but it is due to expire on March 12th. As I described below, we have proposed updates to Rhode Island’s existing healthcare worker vaccination regulations. The proposed updated, permanent regulations include a COVID-19 vaccination requirement that would allow healthcare workers who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations to continue to work so long as they wear medical grade N95 masks when transmission rates in Rhode Island are elevated (50 cases or more per 100K people per week).
These proposed, permanent regulations will not become effective for at least several weeks because the public comment period is still open. For this reason, today we promulgated an emergency regulation that would fill the gap and help keep patients and residents safe. The new emergency regulations mirror the changes we have proposed for Rhode Island’s permanent healthcare worker vaccination regulations. Emergency regulations initially remain in place for 120 days, and can be renewed for an additional 60 days, though we anticipate that the new emergency regulation will be replaced by permanent regulations before that time.
As a reminder, these are State-level vaccination regulations. Many individual healthcare facilities also have their own vaccination policies, and vaccination requirements also exist at the Federal level. (For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, currently has a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in place for workers at facilities that receive CMS reimbursement.)
Note the last sentence would exempt hospitals and nursing homes, both of which receive CMS reimbursement.
Yesterday, Dr. Skoly called in to the Tara Granahan Show on WPRO – here is the podcast of that interview – click on the hyperlink under the photo:
Skoly was represented by private attorneys as well as the New Civil Liberties Alliance. The Alliance, in their complaint in February had noted:
“For four months, contrary to reason and science, Rhode Island has shuttered Dr. Skoly’s medical practice, depriving hundreds of Rhode Islanders, including its most vulnerable, of necessary dental surgeries. Dr. Skoly and his staff are eager to return to service. Should the federal district court restrain Rhode Island from continuing its unlawful closure, Dr. Skoly has said he and his staff will be able to resume surgeries within 48 hours and that priority in treatment will be given to those whose need is most critical.”— Brian Rosner, Senior Litigation Counsel, NCLA
“The Rhode Island Department of Health has mysteriously refused to follow the science when it comes to natural immunity. Governor McKee has no valid basis to bar Dr. Skoly from performing oral surgery, as it would be perfectly safe. Prohibiting the unvaccinated but naturally immune Dr. Skoly from seeing patients while at the same time encouraging vaccinated health care providers with active Covid infections to treat patients makes no sense. For sheer insanity, that counterproductive policy takes the cake!”— Mark Chenoweth, Executive Director and General Counsel, NCLA
Articles done by RINewsToday on Dr. Stephen Skoly:
February 5, 2022
Dr. Stephen Skoly and his legal team today filed a lawsuit in federal court against defendants Governor Daniel McKee and James McDonald, MD, interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), seeking a temporary restraining order enjoining the State from barring Dr. Skoly from providing critical care for his patients.
Dr. Skoly is Chairman of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity and a highly respected oral and maxillofacial surgeon who regularly provided service to those institutionalized by the State, was ordered by RIDOH on October 1, 2021 to cease providing his critical surgical care to patients, after his request for a medical exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine was denied.
The official complaint was prepared by Brian Rosner and Jenin Younes, litigation counsels for the nationally renowned and Washington, DC based New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) … and was filed today in the United States District Court for Rhode Island by local attorney Gregory Piccirilli.
“After four months of being forced out of work, I still held out some hope that all mandates might come to an end in mid-February. But now, with Rhode Island’s Speaker of the House and Senate President openly planning with Governor McKee to extend his executive orders and unilateral powers for another two months … I am left with no choice but to file this lawsuit,” exclaimed Skoly, who for 18 months of the pandemic safely cared for his patients.
“For four months, contrary to reason and science, Rhode Island has shuttered Dr. Skoly’s medical practice, depriving hundreds of Rhode Islanders, including its most vulnerable, of necessary dental surgeries,” said Rosner. “Dr. Skoly and his staff are eager to return to service. Should the federal district court restrain Rhode Island from continuing its unlawful closure, Dr. Skoly and his staff will be able to resume surgeries within 48 hours. Priority in treatment will be given to those whose need is most critical.”
At a virtual news conference today, Rosner and Skoly addressed the public and the media live at 12:00 PM Friday on The Ocean State Current, hosted by the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse.
The 34-page complaint puts forth two primary arguments for the Court to consider:
First, the complaint claims that Dr. Skoly’s “equal protection” and “due process” rights were violated, under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In Dr. Skoly’s case, the State of Rhode Island has awarded hundreds of related exemptions to various healthcare professionals, while simultaneously denying Dr. Skoly equal consideration and failing to provide the legal due process that he is entitled to.
Second, the complaint cites that it was an “irrational and arbitrary move” for RIDOH to deny Dr. Skoly’s valid request for a medical exemption. The complaint not only documents Dr. Skoly’s naturally acquired immunity and antibody testing, but also his personal medical history of suffering from Bell’s Palsy facial paralysis, a condition that has scientifically been demonstrated to be associated with the Covid-19 vaccine … and where at least fifteen such cases have been reported in Rhode Island. Risking re-activation of such paralysis in order to continue his medical practice is repeatedly cited in the complaint as an irrational demand by the State of Rhode Island, which has caused “hardship and suffering to hundreds of Rhode Islanders” who are denied care by Dr. Skoly.
In advancing its “equal protection” argument, the complaint discusses how N95 masking has essentially been designated by the State as an acceptable alternative to vaccination. Dr. Skoly, who has said he will always comply with the highest safety standards, as well as any other required testing and masking protocols, says he presents no more risk to patients than the thousands of other healthcare workers, vaccinated or not, infected or not, who are currently allowed to care for patients under those same protocols.
The complaint continues that the State, in allowing masked and “infected” workers to retain their livelihoods, while barring (infection-free) Dr. Skoly from practicing his profession, is guilty of an “arbitrary and capricious distinction” that “denies Dr. Skoly the equal protection of the law.”
The Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s director, Mike Stenhouse, says that sources have said that RIDOH staff have said that Dr. Skoly “was being made an example of, in part, because of his association with “that conservative organization” which he serves, the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity.
In a news conference broadcast live on Friday, Rosner notes that Dr. Skoly cannot be vaccinated due to his personal medical situation, and the state has said that he can’t practice unless he is vaccinated. Skoly has not violated that rule, but maintains the RIDOH decision violates his constitutional rights, and does not protect his personal medical protection, which they should be concerned with. Skoly will not be exempted from the vaccination regulation, even though exemption regulations are set forth by RIDOH. Rosner says that his client is being “unfairly singled out” – “he has been wearing an N95 masks all the time in his work, and others can be exempted into this – but not him” – “that is, in excess, what the lawsuit is about”. There are 360 exempt people, and “there is no reason why he should not be the 361st. person to be exempted” – “his history of Bell’s Palsy paralysis contraindicates his receipt of the vaccine”.
Supporting Dr. Skoly’s position, and included in the filing, are over a dozen affidavits from local medical professionals, including statements from multiple national experts on Bell’s Palsy and Covid-19, as well as citation of recent findings from the CDC and updated policies from other countries.
Also, to date, the Center says that about 4,000 emails have been delivered to state officials via an online petition whereby concerned citizens can #StandWithDocSkoly . The petition, plus related documentation and links can be found on the Center’s website at RIFreedom.org/DocSkoly.
More legal information were offered at: https://nclalegal.org/skoly-v-mckee/.
There was no response to our request to the Rhode Island Department of Health for comment Friday morning.
About the New Civil Liberties’ Alliance:
NCLA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group founded by prominent legal scholar Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State. NCLA’s public-interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy strive to tame the unlawful power of state and federal agencies and to foster a new civil liberties movement that will help restore Americans’ fundamental rights.
See original story on Dr. Skoly: https://rinewstoday.com/ri-health-dept-orders-dr-stephen-skoly-to-cease-professional-conduct-for-not-being-vaccinated/