Hacked Records Corroborate Claims in Hydroxychloroquine Wrongful Death Suit

Jeremy Parker died soon after taking the drug, which was prescribed to him by a physician with the anti-vaccine group America’s Frontline Doctors.

Photo illustration: The Intercept/AP/Legal document

In August 2021, Jeremy Parker had a telehealth appointment through the anti-vaccine group America’s Frontline Doctors. Parker wanted hydroxychloroquine, a drug that he falsely believed could prevent or treat Covid-19, though he didn’t have any symptoms at the time. According to a lawsuit filed by Parker’s family, he spoke with Dr. Medina Culver, who wrote him a prescription. In early February 2022, Parker began having cold-like symptoms and took the drug, and the next morning, he was found dead. The cause, according to his death certificate, was “sudden death in the setting of therapeutic use of hydroxychloroquine.”

Parker’s wife, Jelena Hatfield, and their three children sued AFLDS and Culver a year after his death, claiming that it “was caused by the negligence of Dr. Culver and by falsehoods spread by America’s Frontline Doctors.” The wrongful death lawsuit claims that Culver never performed a physical examination of Parker, then 52 years old, nor did she run any diagnostic tests to ensure that drug would be safe to prescribe.

AFLDS records, provided to The Intercept by an anonymous hacker in September 2021, corroborate parts of Hatfield’s account. Culver is included in the list of 225 AFLDS physicians who prescribed disproven Covid-19 drugs, and consultation notes from Parker’s telehealth appointment confirm that no physical examination took place. While the hacked data — hundreds of thousands of medical and prescription records from AFLDS’s telehealth partners — includes lists of physicians and patients, it doesn’t link physicians to specific patients.

“It’s disappointing that people like America’s Frontline Doctors were able to get away with this for so long,” Hatfield told The Intercept. “How many other people are there out there that have gone through this? That have lost their husband, or their wife, or daughter, or mother? They really pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes.”

Email confirmation for Jeremy Parker’s hydroxychloroquine prescription from America’s Frontline Doctors.

Source: Legal document

In a court filing responding to Hatfield’s lawsuit, AFLDS described itself as “a civil liberties organization with a purpose of providing Americans with independent information regarding health care from the top experts in medicine and law” and stated that it “is not a medical organization that consults with patients, provides diagnosis, or prescribes treatment.” In short, AFLDS denied that it prescribed hydroxychloroquine to Parker, claiming that it only provided him with medical information and opinions, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Culver and AFLDS did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment. In June, a judge denied both of their efforts to get the lawsuit thrown out. Culver then filed an emergency petition asking Nevada’s Supreme Court to challenge the denial, but a judge denied that petition as well on August 4.

Dr. Jonathan Howard, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and the chief of neurology at Bellevue Hospital, told The Intercept that the biggest issue is that a doctor prescribed hydroxychloroquine to Parker for Covid-19 at all, since the medication had been shown to be ineffective at treating the virus. Howard also pointed out the the consultation notes don’t mention any discussion about the risks and benefits. “Any small risk posed by the medication outweighed the benefits,” Howard wrote, “which were zero.”

Hydroxychloroquine is commonly used to treat malaria and lupus, but it has “not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. Well into the Covid-19 pandemic, AFLDS — as well as former President Donald Trump — falsely promoted the drug as an alternative to vaccines, despite the fact that by mid-2020, the FDA revoked its emergency use authorization and warned against using it to treat Covid-19 “due to risk of heart rhythm problems.” (Parker’s autopsy revealed a small abnormality in his heart, the Washington Post reported.)

In 2021, The Intercept revealed that AFLDS and its network of health care providers charged patients at least $6.7 million — though likely much more — for telehealth appointments. The investigation also showed that Ravkoo, the online pharmacy that filled Parker’s hydroxychloroquine prescription, charged patients at least $8.6 million for similar ineffective Covid-19 drugs. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched an investigation into AFLDS and the telehealth companies it worked with, citing The Intercept’s reporting.

Receipt for Jeremy Parker’s $90 telehealth consultation with America’s Frontline Doctors.

Source: Legal document

Hatfield’s lawsuit says that “on or about August 26,” Parker connected with Culver through AFLDS, though the hacked data shows that the appointment happened the next day. According to Parker’s patient record, he had a telehealth consultation with an AFLDS-trained physician on August 27, 2021, at 4:02:50 Pacific time. The attached notes include almost no information about Parker’s health history. The records say that Parker had been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid but that he had no symptoms himself and that he requested hydroxychloroquine, a drug that may have contributed to his death, according to his death certificate.

The lawsuit, filed in Nevada, accuses Culver and AFLDS of wrongful death and professional negligence and seeks money damages. It includes a declaration from Bruce Bannister, a medical doctor and volunteer faculty member with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Bannister wrote that Parker should not have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine without an examination to determine that it would be safe. If a physical exam wasn’t possible because it was a remote visit, Bannister noted, the doctor should have at least obtained an electrocardiogram and other labs to ensure there were no heart abnormalities. And if none of these resources were available, the doctor should have told the patient to seek care where they could. Bannister concluded “to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that his ingestion of hydroxychloroquine caused Mr. Parker’s death.”


Doctor Who Joined Capitol Attacks Leads a Far-Right Campaign Against Covid-19 Vaccine

AFLDS, a group with ties to Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, has a history with the far right. Two members of AFLDS were convicted for their involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Simone Gold, the group’s founder, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor trespassing charge and served two months in prison. John Strand, a former underwear model and the group’s creative director, was found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding — a felony — and four misdemeanors and is currently serving a 32-month sentence at a federal prison in Miami.

Spreading pandemic disinformation and promoting the sale of drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as an alternative to vaccines was extremely lucrative. According to a recent profile in the Financial Times, Gold was receiving a $600,000 annual salary by 2021. She lived in a $3.6 million mansion in Naples, Florida, with Strand, with whom she was romantically involved, drove multiple cars including a Mercedes-Benz, traveled by private jet, and had tens of thousands of dollars in monthly expenses — all paid for with AFLDS charity funds.

Here are the complete notes from Parker’s August 27, 2021, telehealth appointment:

Patient has + exposure, no symptoms, wants HCQ [hydroxychloroquine] + Zinc

Occupation: unsure

Chronic Medical illnesses: none per patient report

Patient still has no symptoms

Associated symptoms — none

ROS: All systems reviewed and negative except HPI

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