Dear Kansas Board of Healing Arts: Roger Marshall is not well

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall hustles to put on a mask at the end of his Facebook live debate against Democratic Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier on Sept. 19. (Screenshot/Kansas Reflector)

Dear Kansas Board of Healing Arts:

I’m filing a complaint against Roger Marshall, a physician presumably still licensed by the state of Kansas, whose campaign relies heavily on his medical credentials.

I understand you are empowered to receive complaints from “patients, family members, interested parties, medical staff, co-workers, medical facilities, licensees, or insurance companies.”

I understand complaints “must pertain to the practice of the healing arts, and must allege facts constituting a violation of the laws administered by the Board.”

Marshall has endangered public health.

He has done so by campaigning without a mask.

As many in your profession have said repeatedly, masks are one of the simplest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, Deborah Birx, begged state leaders to encourage everyone to wear masks.

Yet Marshall has said wearing masks should be “up to the individual” and that he’s “not going to be in favor of any federal mandates that state that you have to wear a mask.” While he professes to honor the wishes of individuals and places of businesses that request visitors wear masks, and advises they should probably be worn in nursing homes and around sick people, he has suggested they’re part of “a crisis of our civil liberties.”

While Marshall has campaigned without a mask in places that seem relatively safe, such as at outdoor events where everyone seems to be maintaining the proper social distance, he also has shown clear disregard for public health guidelines in other instances.

Just last week, he and a companion ripped off their masks for a conversation where, though outside, they were only about two feet from each other. Had Marshall been an asymptomatic carrier due to his frequent non-mask campaigning, he could have endangered the health of an 84-year-old man.

 

Earlier this month, while standing in a field of antique cars in southeast Kansas, Marshall held a mask like a prop for about 25 seconds before carelessly dropping it:

 

Especially reckless was Marshall’s mask-free campaign stop for an indoor event in Wyandotte County in August.

This wasn’t just bad form in one of the state’s most dangerous places. It was also a clear violation of the Local Health Officer Order:

This appears to be in direct violation of Chapter 65, Article 2886 of Kansas’ Public Health Statutes:

Marshall’s rule violation is especially distressing coming from someone in the “law and order” party.

There’s an additional area where Marshall appears to be in violation of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts’ Statutes and Regulations.

Chapter 65, article 2836, says a doctor’s “license may be revoked, suspended or limited,” or the doctor “may be publicly censured or placed under probationary conditions” for, among other things, committing “an act of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct or professional incompetency.”

This includes using “fraudulent or false advertisements.”

Many of us have now seen, with our own eyes, the false advertisements in which Marshall has manipulated video to distort the words of his Democratic opponent, Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier. This isn’t the first campaign in which Marshall has been caught lying.

“The campaign for congressional candidate Roger Marshall inserted fake images of some Kansas newspapers in a TV ad,” the Hutchinson News reported back in 2016, when Marshall was running his ultimately successful race against then-Congressman Tim Huelskamp.

These fraudulent and false advertisements also appear to be in violation of Chapter 65, Article 2837, where “professional incompetency” includes “conduct likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public.”

In summary, Marshall has failed to assist in basic public health efforts, apparently violated a municipal ordinance and conducted himself in a way likely to deceive the public.

For this, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts should suspend his medical license, at least for the duration of the campaign.

If the board deems this action too extreme, I request at least a public censure and the requirement that Marshall cease and desist using “M.D.” and “Dr.” in campaign materials until such time as he is no longer in public office.

Respectfully,

An interested party