Good news regarding Dr Goodwin’s appeal against the MCNZ
73) The appeal is allowed.
74) Pursuant to s 106 of the Act, the decision of the MCNZ is reversed.
In 2020, increasingly concerned that the government’s response to covid 19 might be causing more harm than good, Dr Alison Goodwin looked for other doctors asking questions or offering alternatives to the fear-based narrative. There didn’t seem to be many. Dr Simon Thornley and Dr Sam Bailey were questioning whether NZ was doing the right thing, but most other doctors appeared to be going along with the deadly pandemic story.
As 2020 progressed, it became ever more obvious that this was no ordinary pandemic. Natural immunity – not a thing. Health – irrelevant. Effective treatments – suppressed. Vaccination – the only solution. Questions – forbidden/verboten.
Having tried in multiple ways and with limited success to engage with the medical profession about her concerns, Dr Goodwin decided to speak directly to the NZ public in the hopes of generating discussion. This mostly involved asking the questions she, and many New Zealanders had, out loud and offering her perspective as a doctor seeing patients who were being harmed by the measures that had been imposed.
As 2021 arrived, the covid vaccination was provisionally approved. ’Safe and effective’ along with coercive advertising started hitting the airwaves, and it appeared that pesky foundational principle of ethical medicine – informed consent – was going to be skipped over.
Next came the threatening Guidance Statement from MCNZ telling doctors that they should be vaccinated, they should discuss the benefits of vaccination and woe betide anyone who promulgated ‘anti-vaccination messages’. (What exactly is an ‘anti-vaccination message’? If a doctor doesn’t recommend aspirin to a patient for whom it is not indicated and explains that to the patient, is that an ‘anti-aspirin message’?)
Adhering to MCNZ’s pre-existing Statement on Informed Consent, Dr Goodwin started speaking about risks, alternatives and uncertainties (as required for true informed consent) since the public messaging was only about purported benefits of the covid vaccine. This mostly involved bringing people’s attention to various official documents such as the:
- Medsafe provisional consent with 58 conditions,
- Medsafe Risk Management Plan (RMP),
- Medsafe Comirnaty datasheet,
- Document granting Pfizer immunity from liability signed by Grant Robertson of NZ government,
- Vitamin D advice from BPAC (Best Practice),
- HDC Code of Rights – specifically right 7: The Right to make an informed choice and give informed consent and right 7.7: the right to refuse services and to withdraw consent to services,
- Lancet retracted study re hydroxychloroquine,
- Medsafe Safety Reports documenting increasing numbers of adverse events.
She also discussed topics such as general health and immunity, medical ethics, PCR testing and the use of behavioural psychology to augment compliance.
Following various presentations and public speaking engagements, a few anonymous members of the public and anonymous fellow health professionals reported Dr Goodwin to the MCNZ for ‘spreading misinformation’. There were no patient complaints and no demonstration of any harm.
In Sept 2021 the MCNZ contacted Dr Goodwin and advised that they had ‘become aware of online videos and publications in which she discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-vaccination messaging’.
Over the next three months there were a series of communications back and forth with the MCNZ which culminated in a decision to interim suspend her APC (Annual Practicing Certificate) while her conduct was investigated further by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). The suspension took effect on the 13 Jan 2022 and was in place for 10 months until the MCNZ granted an APC on 7 Nov 2022.
Prior to suspending Dr Goodwin, the MCNZ provided the ‘reasons’ for their decision. These reasons were nebulous statements with nothing substantial to back them up. Some examples are below:
Information shared by Dr Goodwin on various platforms ‘casts doubt on the appropriateness of Dr Goodwin’s conduct in her professional capacity.’
‘Council remains of the view that Dr Goodwin’s conduct could cause harm to the New Zealand public.’
‘Council has reasonable doubts as to Dr Goodwin’s ability to provide appropriately accurate, evidence-based, and non-selective information.’
‘Council considers the public might, from Dr Goodwin’s status as a practising doctor and the way in which information is presented, reasonably believe they could rely on her view as a medical expert.’
‘Council remains concerned that Dr Goodwin is sharing information in a manner that does not meet the standards of the profession, in that it is not information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus driven for the betterment of public health. Spreading unbalanced, selective, or inaccurate information about COVID-19 or vaccination against it contradicts that responsibility, threatens to further erode public trust in the medical profession, and puts the health and safety of the public at risk.’
In the correspondence there were numerous implications and much innuendo that the information being shared was inaccurate, not evidence based, not scientifically grounded, not consensus driven, unbalanced, selective etc.
However, no concrete examples were given.
Was it the provisional consent conditions, the RMP, the vitamin D advice from BPAC or the Medsafe Safety Report that was misleading or inaccurate?
Dr Goodwin viewed the suspension (for publicly expressing her professional medical opinion) as draconian and took an appeal to the District Court. The case was filed on 9 Feb 2022 and was heard 16 months later on 28 Jun 2023 by Judge Kevin Kelly.
During the preparations for the appeal Dr Curtis Walker (Chairman of the MCNZ) provided an affidavit with more information. He provided lists of selected quotations of comments made by Dr Goodwin taken out of context, most of which can be demonstrated to be correct, or which provide her professional opinion, or which were questions intended for discussion. He did not go so far as to say “this statement made by Dr Goodwin is incorrect” nor did he provide any evidence to counter her statements.
Example of selective quotation
Submission by MCNZ:
In fact, Dr Goodwin accepts that she may be undermining the national immunisation campaign in a video uploaded on 15 November 2021, in which she states that “the official information that I have been showing and referencing may actively undermine the national immunisation programme”.
The full question that was posed by Dr Goodwin:
“The official information that I have been showing and referencing may actively undermine the national immunisation programme but is it not appropriate to allow people to know that the clinical trials are ongoing, that the mRNA and lipid nanoparticles are new technology, that the vaccine still only has provisional consent, that there were 58 conditions applied to the provisional consent, that Pfizer had no liability?”
The case argued that Dr Goodwin and members of the public both have a right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form; that public speech discussing medical matters with only the potential to cause harm was not sufficient grounds for using s 69 of the HPCA Act to suspend her; that interim suspension was usually reserved for the most serious offences (allegations of serious criminal conduct); that suspension was not “a fair, reasonable or proportionate response” to the concerns and that there were other measures the MCNZ could have used.
Some pertinent submissions made on behalf of Dr Goodwin are below:
- 15) What the Medical Council is really asking this Court to do is uphold a decision to suspend Dr Goodwin for engaging in reasonable debate about COVID-19 merely because her views might have been, at the time, in the minority. That is the thinnest of ice. Allowing the Medical Council to decide whose voice may be heard by other New Zealanders has the potential to cause great harm and is inconsistent with its statutory jurisdiction.
- 16) The best response to speech the Medical Council disagrees with is not absolute censorship, but rather for it to have the courage and strength of its convictions. The Medical Council was free to respond in public to Dr Goodwin’s speech and explain, from a position of significant resources, mana and influence, what it considered she had got wrong. By suspending her, the Medical Council has instead created an impression of trying to silence ideas it has no answer to.
- 65) The refusal to debate ideas during the pandemic has had a corrosive effect on New Zealand society — driving minority views underground in an unhelpful and damaging way.
- 94) If Dr Goodwin’s opinions were of a permissible quality (ie, not knowingly or recklessly false), then it is not a ‘risk’ that somebody might subsequently choose not to be vaccinated with Comirnaty — it is simply an outcome. If the Medical Council believes vaccination is the best choice for everybody, it should persuade people of that opinion rather than try to prevent them from hearing contrary opinions it disagrees with. To conclude otherwise disregards the autonomy of patients, who themselves have:
- 94.1 the right to refuse to undergo medical treatment;
- 94.2 freedom of thought, including the right to adopt and hold opinions without interference; and
- 94.3 the freedom to seek and receive information and opinions of any kind in any form.
- 104) The Medical Council produced no evidence of harm and nor did it put forward any evidence to demonstrate that something said by Dr Goodwin was wrong.
On the other hand, the MCNZ submitted that Dr Goodwin was such a danger to public health that the only option available to it was suspension and that that was a fair, reasonable and proportionate response.
It is significant to note that in each court case in NZ regarding covid 19 matters, the mantra of ‘the biggest public health emergency’ gets repeated and appears to be accepted at face value by the judge. There is no scrutiny of this assertion. In addition, there is the unchallenged assumption that the vaccine is indeed ‘safe and effective’ and that covid 19 is deadly. Not one judge appears to have paused for a moment to consider whether perhaps covid 19 isn’t as deadly as the mainstream media portray, or whether there are serious adverse effects attributable to the vaccine.
Judge Kelly determined that suspension was not a proportionate response by the MCNZ to its concerns and reversed its decision to suspend Dr Goodwin.
Below are a few ‘interesting’ paragraphs from his judgement with our comments:
50) Nor do I accept the submission that Dr Goodwin engaged in a measured and responsible way in what is a significant public policy issue. Dr Goodwin’s comments were such that they instilled doubt in the risks of COVID-19, the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and suggested that vaccination posed a risk to the public.
We say Dr Goodwin was right to have instilled doubt in the risks of covid 19 which has proven to be an illness akin to the flu, and she was right that vaccination posed a risk to the public as evidenced by the thousands of New Zealanders bereaved and injured following injection of the Pfizer product.
51) I accept that the risk arising from Dr Goodwin’s comments is, as was spelled out by Dr Curtis Walker, the Chair of the MCNZ, that:
“Individuals who contract COVID-19 are at the risk of serious illness and ongoing effects, as well as death. The highly infectious nature of the disease means the potential for a rapid spread of COVID-19 and resulting significant strain on healthcare systems is high.
The overwhelming scientific evidence is that vaccinations assist in reducing the risk of serious illness in the event of infection and the risk of transmitting the virus to others. While scientific knowledge of COVID-19 and vaccine efficacy has developed over time, the evidence is and remains that vaccinations are vital in managing COVID-19 in the population.”
We are still waiting to see the ‘overwhelming scientific evidence’ that Dr Walker refers to and that Judge Kelly appears to believe exists. What, because others say it does? Justice Cooke in the High Court at least acknowledged contrary evidence exists when he complained that the Crown’s experts refused to engage with it. We are into our third year of posting evidence for our statements.
It is our view that the significant strain on the healthcare system is due to staff shortages following mandates and vaccine injury, as well as increased demand from New Zealanders suffering myriad adverse effects following injection – strokes, heart attacks, arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, neurological conditions, shingles, stillbirth, premature delivery etc. etc. There is also an outright loss of medical staff who don’t want to participate in what they see as unreasonable and perhaps harmful delivery of medicine.
57) I accept the submission of Mr Mount that MCNZ was not required to provide a lengthy judicial-style analysis of all her statements and am satisfied that Dr Goodwin was not left in the dark as to the basis for the concerns and decision of the MCNZ.
In reality the MCNZ did not provide any analysis of any of Dr Goodwin’s statements. It seems the MCNZ does not have to front up with any evidence.
63) I am satisfied that the MCNZ was well placed to determine that the overwhelming scientific evidence is that vaccinations assist in reducing the risk of serious illness in the event of infection, and in transmitting the virus to others.
There is NO evidence that the injection reduced the risk of transmission. It was not tested in the original clinical trial and Pfizer is on the record stating this. Our own government was advised and aware that there was no evidence of a reduction in transmission to back up the mandates. There was wishful thinking, and the government has admitted this much in the NZDSOS court case questioning the legality of the mandates. Their own Department of Justice told them not to mandate if transmission was not prevented.
64) The objective sought to be achieved by the MCNZ, however, was not directly that people be vaccinated. While that was a downstream goal, the objective sought to be achieved by Dr Goodwin’s suspension was subtly different, namely that to ensure that Dr Goodwin was not able to speak as a medical practitioner in a professional capacity.
Does Judge Kelly think that it is appropriate and right that a doctor can and should be silenced for pointing out harms and voicing her professional medical opinion? Who gets to decide who gets heard in that case? Would discussion not be a better solution? Where is the medical profession (and society) headed if doctors can’t disagree and have a public discussion?
68) I am satisfied that the impairment caused by the sanction was greater than was reasonably necessary to achieve the objective that Dr Goodwin not challenge the COVID-19 response… In other words, suspension was disproportionate to the importance of the objective sought to be achieved.
At least we agree with this paragraph but we remain disturbed that the MCNZ has sought, and fought so hard, to silence discussion. What is its ulterior motive?
Other questions that come to mind in light of the witch hunts and sanctions the MCNZ is pursuing against doctors who are engaging with the science:
Is speaking publicly ‘practicing medicine’ and should it come under the jurisdiction of the MCNZ? The law society recently ruled that Sue Grey, activist, lawyer and politician could speak publicly in her private capacity. What about all the celebrities, politicians, influencers, PhD doctors, media personalities and others who provided medical advice – were they practicing medicine without a licence (a criminal act under the HPCAA) and why aren’t they subject to sanctions?
Do doctors have freedom of speech?
Do patients/public have a right to hear a doctor speaking freely?
Is it not more important in a ‘public health emergency’ to hear from a wide variety of medical voices to decrease the potential for serious harm from mistakes, than to hear from just selected, conflicted ‘experts’ from opaquely funded academia?
Doctors have a duty to speak up when witnessing harm being done to patients and the public. Where or to whom do they turn when no-one will listen and their voices are silenced?
What has happened to science, ethics, debate and discussion?
When does a doctor stop being a doctor?