Dr Oliveira during a demonstration outside parliament in 2020

Doctor “for truth” sees disciplinary punishment reduced from six months to three

Maria Margarida de Oliveira, one of the founders of the so-called ‘negationist movement’ Médicos pela Verdade, has seen a previous 6-month suspension from exercising her profession reduced on appeal to three months.

The anesthetist who published ‘a recipe’ for ensuring PCR tests remain negative had asked to be judged in a public audience.

The General Medical Council’s disciplinary body of the south refused, on the basis that the matter against her was disciplinary, not penal. 

Thus very little of the proceedings appears to have reached the mainstream.

One of the witnesses called in defence of Ms Oliveira’s actions was none other than former presidential candidate Fernando Nobre – himself under threat of disciplinary action for his own stance against the mass Covid vaccination campaign, and particularly the decision to roll it out among children (click here).

Fernando Nobre is understood to have made his colleague’s case by stressing that the word ‘negationist’ can be linked to heroes in history: Aristides de Sousa Mendes, for example, was considered a negationist for disobeying Salazar. (Now there is a commemorative plaque in his honour in the National Pantheon attesting to the importance of his actions in saving hundreds of thousands of jews from certain death).

Galileu too was considered a ‘negationist’ for defending heliocentrism – the astronomical model in which the earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the centre of the universe. At the time, the Roman Catholic Church believed that Earth, not the sun, was the centre of the universe, and tried and convicted Galileu for heresy.

Médicos Pela Verdade have never described themselves as ‘negationists’: their official page was closed in February – the same month that Ms Oliveira received her initial six-month suspension – with the message: “Our will and determination to disseminate science and present alternatives are still alive and will move forwards. But the concentration and repressive environment in which we live, and which has been accentuated since our foundation, advises that we should not go further in this format. We will suspend our official page and website until we are all free again”.

According to Observador online, the ruling on Ms Oliveira’s appeal was dated December 7 and considered that the senior anesthetist had violated 10 articles of the Code of Ethics of the Medical Association, but could have her suspension reduced by half.

At issue were violations of the duties of conduct; non-prescription of superfluous medical acts; the duty of communication to the general medical council of concerns about the SNS health service and the monitoring of patients; the duty not to “exceed the limits of her qualifications and competences”; the duty to “carefully evaluate information received, only being able to give opinions, recommendations and medical decisions if the quality of information received is sufficient and relevant”; the general duty of collaboration; the duty to warn the General Medical Council; the duty, in reciprocal relationships, “to proceed with the greatest correctness and urbanity”, and the “duty of solidarity among doctors”.

The disciplinary council’s main concern lay in the understanding that “the impact of a doctor’s opinion on topics versed in health in the community is very important”, and thus all doctors must exercise “a special duty of care in the way in which communication is transmitted”.

UPDATE: Since the basics of this story appeared in the Portuguese press, Dr Oliveira has stressed in a long post over social media that she has “never been suspended”, is “not suspended” and “will not be suspended while the process continues and there are appeals to lodge, because we still live in a State of Law and because my professional honour and individual dignity will not bend to threats, defamations, bribes, manipulations or media harassment”.

An article in the online paginaum, dated January 2, has alluded to links to pharmaceutical companies of the pediatrician who has been the ‘face’ of this accusation (click here) – one of those links leading straight to one of the current vaccine producers. The article concludes that Dr Oliveira will be taking this matter to appeal, and if necessary to the courts.

“In other words, anesthetist Margarida Oliveira has not complied and will not comply with any sanction while the sanctionary decision has not been legally through all channels, something which could take years”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com