Refugee, GP, Renegade: Suspended doctor My Le Trinh
My Le Trinh was a true immigrant success story, until her hard-won new life in Australia fell apart during the pandemic
My Le Trinh was a true immigrant success story, until her hard-won new life in Australia fell apart during the pandemic. After 27 years of practicing as a GP, Trinh fell afoul of the medical regulator’s strict rules around COVID treatment, leading to the suspension of her medical registration. Trinh is now fighting to have her registration restored and for the ‘COVID lies’ to be properly investigated.
Originally published by Umbrella* by
Escaping Cambodia after the murder of her mother in a Khmer Rouge prison camp, Trinh arrived in Australia at the age of twelve, without a word of English in her vocabulary. She worked hard, sewing clothes in the family business after school into the evenings, and learning English as best as she could.
It was not a happy time for Trinh, who told podcaster Michael Gray Griffin that she felt “used and exploited,” sewing zippers and pockets into business suits for cents. “I needed to find a way out. And the way out was to study really well and to succeed in life.”
After spending school holidays sewing and studying, Trinh graduated high school third in her class, going on to study at the University of Sydney. Trinh says she was grateful for the opportunity to study medicine in Australia, at a time when tertiary education was free. Had she stayed in Cambodia, “I don’t think I would have had that opportunity,” she says.
Trinh attained her medical degree and began working as a GP in Sydney’s northwest as she set about creating the successful life she had dreamed of as an immigrant refugee. “I got somewhere in life. I had a family, I had a career, I had a business, I used to own a medical centre,” she says.
As a doctor, Trinh went on numerous mission trips to Cambodia, where she treated people for free in rural villages. Trinh searched for her mother’s grave, but although she never found it, she was able to reconnect with people who had known her mother and was able to begin healing from the trauma of her childhood.
Then the pandemic hit, and Trinh felt, “a responsibility, a duty as a doctor, to treat the people who were going to be sick. I was praying to God to put me on the front line,” she told Umbrella News.
Trinh paid close attention to the US, where the spread of COVID was prior to that in Australia. She read studies and clinical reports of doctors who were successfully treating COVID, and found the Front Line COVID Critical Care (FLCCC) alliance, which she describes as “a group of very renowned physicians” who were treating COVID patients using scientifically supported drugs and methods.
Of all the promising treatments for COVID, ivermectin in particular made sense to Trinh, as it is widely used in Cambodia, where she had been prescribing it for over a decade on her mission trips. “Ivermectin is available over the counter in Cambodia,” says Trinh. “It’s essentially one of the safest drugs, much safer than paracetamol.”
Trinh noted the success of a Monash University in vitro trial published in June 2020, which showed that ivermectin stopped the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in cell culture within 48 hours. Medical experts were speaking out in favour of using ivermectin in conjunction with other drugs like azythromycin, doxycycline and zinc, similar to the FLCCC protocol, and governments around the world issued ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to citizens for early treatment of COVID, including in El Salvador, Brazil and in parts of India.
However, the Australian Government took a different tack. On 10 September 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) placed prescribing restrictions on ivermectin, prohibiting its use for the treatment of COVID. This ban was later lifted (on 3 May 2023), but in the interim, GPs who prescribed ivermectin for the treatment of COVID, though not breaking the law, would be subject to disciplinary action from the regulators, AHPRA and the Medical Boards.
Nevertheless, when COVID started spreading in Australia, Trinh applied her research in her GP practice, using the evidence-based FLCCC treatment protocol, which included ivermectin. “I knew it was controversial, but I knew that ivermectin works and is safe, so I was prepared to deal with any consequences from the regulators,” says Trinh. “It’s my moral value. I cannot deny people a treatment that’s safe and effective.”
In late August, just prior to the TGA’s prescribing restrictions on ivermectin, Trinh was approached for help by the family of a woman who was on her ninth day of COVID infection and appeared to be in a life-threatening condition. Trinh recommended that the patient go to hospital, but she refused to go because of a previous bad experience, putting Trinh in a tricky situation.
With no approved treatments to offer the patient outside of the hospital, Trinh says she gave it her “best shot,” using the FLCCC protocol. The patient recovered from her COVID infection, and Trinh directed her to check in with her GP as she tapered off the medications.
Trinh heard nothing more until 6 October, when, to her surprise, she received a notification from the Medical Council of NSW that two complaints had been made against her via AHPRA. Suspiciously, both complaints had been made on the same day, 27 September 2021.
One of the complaints related to the COVID patient who presented at Westmead Hospital two weeks after being treated by Trinh. The patient had experienced psychosis, which Trinh believes may have been induced by the high dose steroids she had been prescribed, or by the virus, or both. The patient later recovered from the psychosis but still had residual anxiety.
Concerned about the patient’s welfare, Trinh called the hospital. “I rang the doctor who made the complaint, a junior doctor, and she told me that she didn’t know why she made the complaint against me, but that she was just following orders from her superior,” recounts Trinh.
The superior was Dr. Naren Gunja, a toxicologist and Chief Medical Information Officer at Western Sydney Health. Dr. Gunja was known in the media for his strong anti-ivermectin stance for the treatment of COVID.
In early September, Dr. Gunja went public with the case of a different patient at Westmead Hospital, reporting a suspected ivermectin overdose. This resulted in a scare campaign against the medication (totalling around 50 articles across various outlets in just three days).
It is Trinh’s view that Dr. Gunja’s media blitz gave the TGA the justification to place prescribing prescriptions on ivermectin the following week. Trinh says she made three attempts to contact Dr. Gunja to discuss the complaint made against her by his junior doctor, but that he did not respond to her messages.
Trinh says it is regrettable that the patient experienced possible side effects from steroid treatment, but that saving her life was the highest priority. “I felt I saved this patient’s life by treating her COVID infection,” says Trinh. “I think she would have died without treatment.”
The other complaint against Trinh was made by an anonymous ‘John Smith’. Trinh claims that the associated email address bounces back, the landline number provided is disconnected, and there is no address.
The mystery complainant alleged that Trinh’s medical centre confirmed over the phone that she is “anti-vaccine.” However, Trinh’s colleagues at the medical centre denied that such a call had taken place.
John Smith also alleged that Trinh had inappropriately prescribed ivermectin for treatment of COVID, and submitted a copy of an ivermectin prescription claiming it belonged to a friend.
The name on the prescription was redacted, but the Medicare number was left unredacted. Trinh was able to ascertain that the prescription belonged to a family member of hers, and she had left it at pharmacy while waiting for ivermectin to be restocked.
Trinh went straight to the chemist to find out what had happened to the script. “The chemist informed me that AHPRA had requested all ivermectin scripts to be handed over, and an AHPRA agent had collected the script,” she says.
This led Trinh to suspect that the complaint was fraudulent, originating from within AHPRA. However, despite raising this with the Health Care Complaint Commission, Trinh says her concerns were disregarded.
On 27 October 2021, Trinh was suspended from practicing medicine. “At that moment they deemed me to be a danger to the public,” says Trinh. Since then, she has been in protracted legal proceedings and regulatory limbo. “They leave you indefinitely suspended,” she says, echoing suspended doctor Duncan Syme, who said, “the process is the punishment.”
Trinh believes her suspension is wrongful and she is challenging it via all the available channels. To date, Trinh says she has spent $200, 000 on legal fees, which has drained all of her savings. Yet, she remains resolute. “I’m not fighting for myself. It’s the injustice of what they’ve done to the people and the doctors, lying about ivermectin.”
With the recently announced COVID Inquiry on the cards, Trinh says, “I’m hoping that the lies about COVID will be exposed. The harm that has been caused by the vaccines, and the denial of ivermectin and early treatment.”
Reflecting on the last few years, and her experience as a Cambodian refugee, then a successful GP, and now a renegade doctor in a time of unprecedented medical censorship, Trinh says quietly, “Australia is becoming like Cambodia. People dobbing on each other, government lies, unnecessary deaths. There’s just so much deception.”
APHRA and the Medical Council of NSW were contacted for comment but both advised that they were unable to comment on individual cases. Dr. Gunja was contacted but did not respond before publication deadline.