From Hero to Fired: Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and the University of California Irvine | National Review

From Hero to Fired: Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and the University of California Irvine | National Review

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty has been fired from the University of California Irvine, where he has worked as a professor at UCI School of Medicine and director of the Medical Ethics Program at UCI Health for almost 15 years. Back in the spring of 2020, he could have been a poster boy for the medical professionals we were cheering on every night. That was then. It seems that he has not only been dismissed because he is unvaccinated, but because he has dared to make the medical argument that natural immunity puts people in a similar — or better — place than a vaccine against Covid-19. I’m not a doctor, and I’d like to think doctors are free to raise questions based on their scientific judgment.

Kheriaty is not the only doctor I know who has found himself in situations where it is understood that you are to go along and not raise questions when it comes to Covid-19 protocols. I know that’s happened in other places in medicine — the scandal of women’s health is how they use the contraceptive pill for a whole host of problems, cover up symptoms, treat fertility as itself a problem, and sometimes leave women infertile when they actually want to have a child later on down the line. So it happens. And it’s not good.

An added injustice would be to not shed light on what’s happening. At one point this fall, when Dr. Kheriaty was still on forced leave, I tried to post a video commentary to YouTube about his situation and it was rejected as vaccine misinformation — to simply talk about what was happening. I myself do not know anything about Covid-19 except my own experiences and what doctors tell me, because I am not a doctor. It’s amazing how many of us think we are. And it’s terrifying when doctors suppress scientific debate.

You can read some of Dr. Kheriaty’s story in his own words:

This termination has been an opportunity for me to reflect on my time at UCI, especially my time there during the Covid pandemic. Two years ago I never could have imagined that the University would dismiss me and other doctors, nurses, faculty, staff, and students for this arbitrary and capricious reason. I want to share a bit of my story, not because I am unique but simply because my experience is representative of what many others—who do not necessarily have a public voice—have experienced since these mandates went into effect.

I worked in-person at the hospital every day during the pandemic, seeing patients in our clinic, psychiatric wards, emergency room, and hospital wards—including Covid patients in the ER, ICU, and medicine wards. As our chief ethics consultant, I had countless conversations with families of patients dying of Covid, and tried my best to console and guide them in their grief. When our pregnant residents were worried about consulting on Covid patients, the administration reassured these residents that they had no elevated risks from Covid—a claim without any evidential basis at the time, and which we now know to be false. I saw the Covid consults for these worried residents, even when I was not covering the consult service.

I also remember in the early weeks of the pandemic when N-95 masks were in short supply and the hospital kept them under lock and key. Hospital administrators yelled at nurses for wearing surgical or cloth masks (this was before masks became all the rage after the CDC suggested, with little evidence, that they might help). At that early stage the truth was we didn’t know whether masks worked or not, and nurses were doing the best they could under pressure in a situation of uncertainty. The administrators yelled and ridiculed them, not wanting to admit the real issue was that we simply did not have enough masks. So I called local construction companies and sourced 600 N-95s from them. I supplied some to the residents in our department and my attending colleagues in the ER, then donated the rest to the hospital. Meanwhile the University administrators—the same ones who fired me yesterday—were working safely from home and did not have to fret about PPE shortages.

In 2020 I worked nights and weekends, uncompensated, helping the UC Office of the President draft the UC policies for triaging scarce resources and allocating vaccines during the pandemic. Knowing that our ventilator triage policy was publicly sensitive, the Office of the President asked me and the chair of the drafting committee to serve as public spokespersons to answer questions about this policy and explain the principles and rationale to the public (they even provided me with media training).

I was the only faculty member at UCI who directed courses across all four years of our medical student curriculum, so I knew the students as well as anyone at the University. The Dean asked me to address the students when they were first sent home in the early days of the pandemic. While I disagreed with the decision to send them home—after all, what were they here for if not to learn to practice medicine, especially during a pandemic?—I nevertheless encouraged them to continue to engage with pandemic response efforts outside the hospital. I published those remarks to encourage students at other schools.

Our dean sent this to the deans at the other UC schools, one of whom suggested that I give the graduation speech at all the campuses that year. Three years ago, the UCI school of medicine deans asked me to give the White Coat Ceremony keynote address to the incoming medical students because, as they told me, “you are the best lecturer in the medical school.” For many years, the psychiatry clerkship I directed was the highest rated clinical course at the medical school.

Everyone at the University seemed to be a fan of my work until suddenly they were not. Once I challenged one of their policies I immediately became a “threat to the health and safety of the community.” No amount of empirical evidence about natural immunity or vaccine safety and efficacy mattered at all. The University’s leadership was not interested in scientific debate or ethical deliberation. When I was placed on unpaid suspension I was not permitted to use my paid time off—that is to say, I was ordered to stay off campus because I was not vaccinated, but I also could not take vacation at home because… I was not vaccinated. In violation of every basic principle of just and fair employment, the University tried to prevent me from doing any outside professional activities while I was on unpaid suspension. In an effort to pressure me to resign, they wanted to restrict my ability to earn an income not only at the University but outside the University as well. It was dizzying and at times surreal.

More here. You don’t have to have a strong position on vaccines to be disturbed by what’s happened to Dr. Aaron Kheriaty.

Original source

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.