The Academic Freedom of a Tenured Professor Has Been Seriously Violated.
Since January, 2020, Dr. Paul Marik, a tenured professor of medicine, has worked non-stop to try to understand COVID-19, its mechanisms of action; and to develop and share highly effective therapeutic interventions for patients in any phase of the disease—from exposure and early symptoms to critical illness. He has done much of this work alongside his physician colleagues at the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC).
“As a scientist, my goal is to seek the ultimate truth, separated from politics,” said Dr. Marik. “Furthermore as a tenured professor, I am guaranteed academic freedom.”
This essay is about the academic freedom that Dr. Marik was meant to enjoy as a benefit of tenure, and how it was gravely wounded this week by the Virginia hospital system for which Dr. Marik works. The actions of the hospital placed the sanctity of tenure under attack—an assault that will likely send a bitter chill down the spines of tenured university professors across the nation.
Know this at the start: There is no professional, reasonable, ethical, academic or conscionable reason why the hospital privileges of Dr. Paul Marik should have been suspended by Virginia’s Sentara Health System on Saturday, November 20; or that his ability to use the medications he believes will save his critically ill COVID-19 patients in the ICU should have been banned a few weeks before that by the hospital administrators.
But this is where we’re at.
Just to be clear, we’re talking here about Dr. Paul Marik—the world-renowned critical care doctor, with peerless medical and academic credentials. He is America’s most highly published critical care physician; and the second most published physician in his specialty in the world. His papers in dozens of medical journals have been cited tens of thousands of times. The medical books and book chapters he has authored are used to teach medical students around the world. He has delivered over 350 lectures at international conferences and visiting professorships. The effective protocols that he has developed to treat critical illnesses have saved the lives of thousands upon thousands of patients.
So that’s who we’re talking about. The preeminent Dr. Paul Marik.
Dr. Paul Marik is also a tenured professor, teaching medical students at East Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and in Sentara General Hospital Norfolk—with which EVMS shares a campus and an academic affiliation. Dr. Marik’s tenure confers upon him the benefit of unencumbered academic freedom. According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the primary purpose of tenure—an indefinite appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances such as financial exigency and program discontinuation—is to safeguard academic freedom. AAUP considers academic freedom “necessary for all who conduct research in higher education.”
But Sentara Health System and its administration have stripped Dr. Marik of his right and access to academic freedom as a tenured professor within its walls.
According to the AAUP, “When faculty members can lose their positions because of their speech, publications, or research findings, they cannot properly fulfill their core responsibilities to advance and transmit knowledge.”
Yet, that is precisely what has happened here. Dr. Marik’s tenure—well-earned by his innumerable, luminous contributions to the field of medicine—has been devastated. And one of the nation’s most gifted medical minds has been shunned and vilified. All of this is because Dr. Marik’s meticulous research, his publication of several new papers on COVID-19 and his deep clinical expertise led him to develop highly effective protocols that contained components that did not comport with the recommendations of the nation’s public health agencies. The disconnect was this: According to the agencies, there was one way out of this pandemic, and one way only: Vaccines.
Certainly, vaccines are important. But so are therapies designed to prevent the transmission of COVID; to stop the progression of the disease at home — early in the disease process; and to save critically ill patients who, vaccinated or not, can be saved with the right combination of interventions using repurposed drugs.
But the agencies, including the CDC, the NIH, the FDA and the WHO, were not much interested in hearing what Dr. Marik and the other FLCCC physician/scholars had to say. In fact, they censored the FLCCC on multiple social and communications platforms, ordering the operators of those outlets to do everything possible to silence the FLCCC. Why? They claimed that the protocols the FLCCC and Dr. Marik espoused were dangerous.
So…where was the danger really? Was it in the therapeutic components of the proven-to-be-safe protocols developed by doctors who’ve stood at the bedside of critically ill patients for decades? Or was it in the agencies’ refusal to even consider for a moment the cheap, repurposed drugs of the protocols? Was it because their use could not bring in the flood of money that was guaranteed by the vaccines and the novel new antiviral drugs in development by Big Pharma?
Calling the mountains of scientific evidence supporting the FLCCC’s protocols “insufficient” doesn’t make it so. It just makes it a lie. And in this case, the lie has been deadly.
Tenured professors, said the AAUP, are meant to experience “conditions for them to pursue research and innovation and draw evidence-based conclusions free from corporate or political pressure.”
But that’s not what happened to Dr. Marik last week. Yes, he pursued research—doggedly and with a ferocious passion for the lives that would be saved. He innovated by developing treatment protocols and always refining…refining…refining each one as science emerged and as it dictated. He drew evidence-based conclusions—but then, was summarily blocked by both corporate and political pressure.
“The common good is not served when business, political, or other entities can threaten the livelihood of researchers and instructors, and thereby suppress the results of their work or modify their judgements,” noted the AAUP.
Dr. Marik and his FLCCC critical care colleagues Dr. Pierre Kory, Dr. Joseph Varon, Dr. Jose Iglesias and Dr. G. Umberto Meduri know for certain that IV Vitamin C is not affiliated with any political party. Neither is ivermectin, Fluvoxamine, Dutasteride or Finasteride. They exist for the common good.
Similarly, these cheap, repurposed drugs do not modify these doctors’ judgments on their efficacy against COVID-19. Their medical judgements are informed only by medical data, solid scientific evidence and abundant clinical experience.
The actions of the administration of Sentara Health System have violated the terms and spirit of Dr. Marik’s tenure. He has been sanctioned for advocating for the lives of his patients by using the components his research has shown can save their lives. He has been punished for illuminating and publishing the findings of his medical research. And by suspending Dr. Marik’s hospital privileges, Sentara Health System has said, in essence, that their renowned tenured professor of medicine, Dr. Paul Marik, is unfit to care for its patients and to teach in its ICU.
Recently, Dr. Marik received the following note from a physician in Arkansas. It is one of dozens of peer-to-peer testimonials directed to Dr. Marik:
Dear Dr. Marik,
I just wanted to say it was your early explanation of COVID-19 on YouTube that helped refine our treatment plans here.
Everyday we have really sick people get better and avoid the hospital and almost all of the ones that go to the hospital make it home. Patients call us, dance in our parking lots, and send gifts to us. It's extremely rewarding.
I just wanted to let you know that you get credit for all our saves as well, and that you're getting 2 to 4 everyday here in northwest Arkansas for the last 4 months.
We here in northwest Arkansas are singing your praises! Your life’s work is good.
The bottom line is this: Sentara Health System seriously violated Professor Marik’s tenure by taking extraordinary disciplinary actions against him for his lifesaving work that was offensive to powerful interests of business and government.
Support Dr. Marik. Sign the petition.
Many of the links to studies published by Dr. Marik and FLCCC can be found HERE.
END NOTE: On November 9, 2021, the FLCCC announced that its co-chief Medical Officer, Dr. Paul Marik filed suit against Sentara Healthcare System for instituting a policy preventing him and other physicians from administering proven, life-saving treatments. The case was heard on November 18, 2021 in Norfolk Circuit Court.
On November 23, the court handed down its ruling. While we are disappointed that the court did not grant the temporary injunction, we are gratified that the court denied Sentara Health System’s motion to dismiss the case, recognizing Dr. Marik’s standing to move forward with his informed consent claim.
The decision means that the court has agreed to hear Dr. Marik’s lawsuit to establish his right to administer the life-saving treatments that patients have been prohibited access to by Sentara. We ultimately expect to succeed on the merits at trial.