John Witcher, M.D. is a general practitioner in rural Mississippi and served as an independent physician at Baptist Memorial Hospital in the Yazoo area – that is, until recently when he learned he was not welcome back.
"I wasn't fired, [rather] my contract was terminated," Witcher tells American Family News. "I took my three hospitalized COVID patients off remdesivir and attempted to put them on ivermectin."
"Ivermectin shows a lot of promising results," he continues. "I don't want to just hang my hat on one particular medication, but the problem we're seeing right now is doctors are being shut down and not allowed to practice medicine the way I feel like they should."
There is a debate in the medical community as to whether ivermectin is okay to use on COVID patients. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a webpage titled "Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19." However, Witcher says he's reviewed the literature and has been in contact with pro-ivermectin doctors such as Peter McCullough.
"It shows good evidence for multi-drug therapy for COVID patients," says Witcher. "There's thousands of doctors throughout not only Mississippi but throughout the nation and the world who have been using such things as ivermectin as a treatment for COVID patients, with very good results."
The general practitioner argues that patients have rights and should be allowed to take the vaccine if they wish. "But if they don't, they should have that right to not be discriminated against," he says. "They should have informed consent. There's risks to these vaccines … that have not been talked about, and we have not been given the true data."
AFN is seeking comment from Baptist Memorial Hospital. The organization did issue the following statement to Jackson-area television station WLBT:
Dr. Jonathan Witcher no longer practices medicine as an independent physician at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Yazoo. At no time was he a Baptist employee. Please contact his employer with any questions about his employment status. Baptist Memorial hospitals follow the standards of care recommended by the scientific community and our medical team in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. These include the COVID-19 vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatment, which have proven to be safe and effective in severely reducing illness from the virus and saving countless lives. We are grateful for the support and commitment of our health care workers who have risked their lives and tirelessly worked to provide compassionate care for our community since the start of this pandemic.
Witcher isn't letting the situation affect him or his practice.
"I don't have to necessarily be affiliated with the hospital to take care of patients, so I'm continuing to do that," says Witcher, one of the founders of the Mississippi Against Mandates group. "Doctors need to be able to practice medicine, putting their patients first. They don't need to be beholden to, say, protocols at the hospital or government protocols that come from the CDC or local health departments."
Read earlier related article from American Family News:
Southerners against mandates rallying residents, goading the guv
Editor's note: Story was updated with more comments from Dr. Witcher after it was originally posted.