State of R.I. relents, Dr. Stephen Skoly finally free to return to providing critical care for his patients.
After five and a half months of not being allowed to work, Dr. Stephen Skoly has emerged victorious. The Ocean State Current has obtained a copy of a “Dismissal Stipulation” letter (click here), signed today, between Dr. Skoly and the RI Department of Health, dismissing the original Compliance Order that banned Dr. Skoly from caring for patients, and allowing him to immediately resume his surgical care practice.
The pressure of Dr. Skoly’s federal lawsuit on the McKee administration and the RIDOH, combined with the State’s fear of being forced to produce embarrassing internal documents during the legal discovery process at a trial hearing scheduled for next Tuesday, March 15, was likely the final straw. But his federal lawsuit is NOT OVER by any means!
At the onset of his banishment last fall from seeing patients, Dr. Skoly publicly stated that he was in this for the long-term and would continue to stand on personal medical and constitutional principle against the authoritarian and non-science backed vaccine mandate imposed by the State of Rhode Island. It now appears that Dr. Skoly has indeed outlasted the political supremacists that run our state and health department.
To discuss additional details of this story, The Ocean State Current will air a special Quick Pitch Update episode of the popular In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse video podcast today at 12:05 PM, which can be viewed live at OceanStateCurrent.com/LIVE. Dr. Skoly and a member of his legal team will appear.
Also, per an expected notice to be posted this morning on the website of the Secretary of State, it is NOT expected that Governor McKee will further extend the statewide healthcare worker vaccine mandate, which is set to expire this Saturday, March 12. All laid-off, resigned, or otherwise out-of-work healthcare workers who for personal, religious, or medical reasons chose not to take the ‘shot in the arm’, should also be free to return to work.
McKee and the RIDOH have been under constant legal and public relations pressure since its non-science-based October 1, 2021 healthcare worker vaccine mandate was put into effect, then completely bungled in its management.
The RI DOH’s poorly conceived and executed vaccine mandate not only exacerbated a healthcare workers shortage, but the Health Department’s hypocritical management of the mandate proved that it was more about politics than health. Its arbitrary and contradictory policies of allowing exemptions to insider crony groups, but disallowing valid exemption requests to the broader public, including Dr. Skoly, were irrational and unconstitutional. The apex of its irrationality was reached when earlier this year, RIDOH allowed certain workers “infected” with Covid to return to work, but maintained its denial of providing “un-infected” but unvaccinated workers like Dr. Skoly the same options.
This “unequal” treatment was the basis of Dr. Skoly’s federal lawsuit against the State, claiming its continued refusal to allow him a medical exemption was a violation of his 14th Amendment Rights, which guarantees equal treatment under the law.
The mismanagement of the healthcare worker vaccine mandate is just one of a large list of instances of ethical malpractice, scientific negligence, and medical malfeasance by the RI Department of Health during this pandemic. A full accounting of those shortcomings are detailed in the column, Why Governor McKee Must Completely Remake the RI Department of Health.
Because of these prolific cases of incompetence, it should be obvious, despite official claims to the contrary, that Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott was forced to resign.
Throughout the pendency of the matter, Dr. Skoly complied with all requirements of the regulations. However, as his banishment progressed over time, it became clear that many State actions were motivated by a personal vendetta against Dr. Skoly, who dared to publicly exclaim why he believed his medical exemption should have been granted.Not only was a “compliance order” issued against him on October 1, 2021, disallowing him from providing care for his patients, but since then:
- Skoly was denied the immediate due process proscribed for oral and maxillofacial surgeons under the Board of Dental Examiners. Instead, a kangaroo ‘administrative’ hearing process was imposed; one that took many months to unfold.
- Skoly has been denied unemployment benefits by the State, even though the State effectively fired him, shutting down his practice of 11 employees. Even some of his laid-off staff were temporarily denied benefits they had been paying into for decades. The hearing officer in this case ridiculously suggested that a highly trained surgeon like Dr. Skoly might seek employment at Walmart.
- Sources informed The Current that RIDOH executives privately admitted that Skoly was being singled out for persecution because of his “affiliation with that conservative” organization; Dr. Skoly is Chairman of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.
- After faithfully and unselfishly providing care for its wards for decades, the RI Department of Corrections (RIDOC), in February, inexplicably issued an internal email, with a ‘mug-shot’ and ‘wanted’ style photo of Dr. Skoly, that insultingly notified staff that he was “not permitted on RIDOC facilities.”
The recent actions of RIDOH of health, in essence, admit that Dr. Skoly was right all along, and that their oppressive one-size-fits-all polices were motivated by something other than health concerns. In his compelling federal lawsuit, filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a pro bono law firm that specialized in cased involving government over-reach, Skoly’s complaint clearly laid-out the case that by exempting certain unvaccinated healthcare workers and allowing them to return to work as long as they wore an N95 respirator mask … while denying the same exemption and option to other workers … the RIDOH’s inconsistent policies had no basis in science and was clearly unconstitutional. Allowing ‘infected’ worker this same option – and not Dr. Skoly – was the epitome of its irrational hypocrisy.
But healthcare workers are not out of the woods yet. In late February, RIDOH initiated a minimum 30-day process to promulgate permanent new rules, including a provision that maintains the Covid-19 vaccine mandate … albeit under specific conditions and with a universal N95 masking exemption. However, with the current vaccine mandate set to expire after March 12, RIDOH is expected to issue a new “emergency regulation”, imposed immediately, that will fill the gap between March 12 and whenever the proposed permanent regulations are put into effect.
Summarizing, the maze of legal and regulatory maneuverings of the State and the RIDOH display their thirst for control, their pettiness, and their continued denial of scientific and medical reality.
Regarding the courts, Dr. Skoly’s lawsuit is not moot and will not be dropped by his legal team. With the motion for a preliminary injunction now obviated, hearings for the originally filed case will eventually resume at their normal pace, seeking to win limited damages, to set legal precedent, and perhaps to seek injunctive relief if the State or RIDOH again conspire to unjustly persecute Dr. Skoly.
But despite it all, Dr. Stephen Skoly had the wherewithal to prevail. It’s not often that a single individual can stand up to the cabal of political supremacists and the government machines they run – and WIN. But in America, the principled and courageous actions of one man can still lead to positive change.