On Dr. Ryan Marino, Covid vaccines, and the rage of the tolerant left
The Ohio physician and drug legalization advocate has a mean streak, especially to women. Are his hospital and the state medical licensing board comfortable with his public attacks?
Dr. Ryan Marino, an Ohio emergency medicine physician with almost 80,000 followers on Twitter, is angry.
Angry that fentanyl is illegal. Angry at news outlets that report on the severe vomiting that heavy cannabis use can cause.
Angry at anyone who hasn’t taken an mRNA Covid vaccine - or believes the shots can have side effects.
Angry most of all at anyone who has the gall to disagree with him.
Especially anyone female.
At 2 a.m. Monday morning, Dr. Marino accused Emily Ekanayake, the mother of 15-year-old with a documented mRNA vaccine injury, of trying to use her son for money.
He has also referred to Ekanayake, a high school physics teacher in Georgia whom he has never met, as “super emotional and unhinged,” a “Karen,” and a “stalker.”
Dr. Marino first attacked Ekanayake in March, after she posted about her son Aiden’s Covid vaccine-caused myocarditis. The injury caused Aiden to be hospitalized for four days.
In response to a question from a follower, he wrote that vaccine injuries are “not a medical diagnosis,” and later told Ekanayake to “call us when you finish med school then.”
In an interview, Ekanayake said Dr. Marino’s treatment of her has exhausted her and that her husband has encouraged her to leave Twitter. She has refused. “I don’t feel like letting a bully win is an example I want to set for myself and my kids,” she said.
But Ekanayake is not the only woman to feel Dr. Marino’s wrath of late.
In the last 10 days, Dr. Marino has called another woman a “mommy blogger” and dismissed a third - a fellow physician - as “ranting,” “annoying,” and “miserable,” because she wrote something he did not like about cereal.
So far, Dr. Marino has not faced any professional consequences for his increasingly outlandish behavior.
National media outlets, especially NBC News, quote him regularly. He continues to practice emergency medicine at University Hospitals, a Cleveland-based hospital network.
Dr. Marino’s apparent immunity for his churlish and misogynistic posts is less surprising than it may seem. He is one of the loudest voices on what is sometimes called “Med Twitter,” a closely networked group of left-learning physicians who played a crucial role in encouraging coronavirus fear, as well as aggressive Covid lockdown and vaccination policies.
In general, these doctors are heavy Twitter users, some tweeting so obsessively that they hardly seem to have time to practice medicine. They encourage diversity and inclusion at all costs - except when they are faced with views they dislike.
Dr. Jen Gunter, a San Francisco gynecologist with 369,000 followers (and 218,000 tweets), regularly calls people she does not like grifters, liars, or both.
Dr. Marino, who advocates the legalization of all drugs, has also made Instagram posts that appear to mock the risks of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Dr. Marino has claimed he is not mocking fentanyl, only police and Drug Enforcement Administration efforts to warn that it is so potent that it may sometimes cause overdose through the skin and thus be dangerous to first responders. That risk is overstated, he has said.
It remains unclear why Dr. Marino would be so focused on attacking people warning of the potential risks of fentanyl rather than the risks of the drug itself.
Since 2020, physicians have faced increasingly serious threats to their exercise of free speech - at least when their views on Covid or the mRNA vaccines run contrary to those of the public health establishment or Democratic politicians.
In October, California governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that gave the state’s medical board the power to strike the licenses of physicians who spread “misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.” The bill goes into effect in January, though five doctors have already sued the state, claiming it unconstitutionally restricts their freedom of speech.
Yet physicians like Drs. Marino and Gunther are comfortable attacking strangers on the Internet before huge audiences. Whether these tweets comport with the American Medical Association’s ethical decree that “a physician shall uphold standards of professionalism” is unclear, and Ohio’s medical board has the power to penalize physicians who violate the AMA’s board of ethics.
(In contrast, the Medical Board of California explicitly refuses “jurisdiction over a medical provider’s attitude, bedside manner, [or] demeanor.”)
Meanwhile, Emily Ekanayake said she does not understand why Dr. Marino continues to attack her and other women on Twitter - or make posts that appear to mock fentanyl’s risks on Instagram. At the least, she hopes University Hospitals, his employer, will discourage him from doing so, she said.
“Imagine you’re a parent who has lost a child to fentanyl,” she said. “It’s not funny, and it’s not funny for a health-care worker to think it’s funny, it’s scary. And that’s a pattern for him. Show some responsible mature behavior, or get off the Twitter. This guy’s his own worst enemy.”
Ironically, before her son’s injury, Ekanayake was a strong advocate for the mRNA vaccines. “I’ve been waiting for the vaccine,” she told an Atlanta television station in April 2021. “I am not changing the way that I’m doing things until more people are vaccinated, until my children are vaccinated. But I do feel more protected.”
She had her then-14-year-old son vaccinated with the Pfizer jab that month, making him among the earliest teens to be vaccinated. His myocarditis occurred after his second shot. She has been stunned at the way Dr. Marino and other vaccine advocates have dismissed it, she said.
“If anything makes me an anti-vaxxer, it’s not the vaccine injury, it’s the freaking way we’ve been treated,” she said. “If they would have supported us, I probably would have been pretty quiet on Twitter, so all they’ve done has backfired.”
Still, she does not think Dr. Marino should lose his medical license or his job for his posts. she said. “I would settle with a public apology on Twitter,” she said. “I think that’s pretty nice.”
If Covid has taught us anything it is the entire medical profession is corrupted and has an agenda counter to reality. I no longer trust 98% of doctors. I always knew doctors lacked common sense which was a prerequisite of getting into medical school, but now we find out they do not actually live in reality. With apologies to the 2% of doctors like Dr. Atlas who have common sense and live in reality.
It takes a special kind of scumbag to downplay the danger of fentanyl in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic.