Deja Vu. That’s how Dr. Joseph Varon, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM, FRSM describes the response to COVID.
“It was like we pressed the repeat button. The ‘system’ does not encourage independent thinking when it comes to treatment. They want everyone to follow the same protocols — and many healthcare providers do, as they’re afraid of the repercussions.” Dr. Varon laments.
When COVID hit, Dr. Varon was one of the original group of doctors who got together with Dr. Paul Marik, Dr. Pierre Kory, and others to develop the MATH+ protocol. He was fortunate enough to be able to use the protocol without interference at his hospital in Houston — treating patients for 715 days straight! But he couldn’t forget the canceling, bullying, and censorship he had experienced 15 years earlier with his use of therapeutic hypothermia.
In the early 2000s, Dr. Varon had done a lot of research on this therapeutic intervention, which involves lowering the body’s temperature for a period of time after cardiac arrest to facilitate the healing process. He had seen good data on it, and when he got an emergency call in 2005 about a patient who nearly drowned and was in critical condition, he had him flown into Houston and successfully utilized this life-saving therapy.
While the patient survived, Dr. Varon got pushback rather than praise from the hospital’s Chief of Staff. “The Chief said, ‘You can’t just do that Joe. It’s witchcraft, “voodoo science.” Dr. Varon shares “I was reprimanded and shamed . . . for saving a patient’s life. Make it make sense!”
Still, he kept doing what he knew was best for patients, and his maverick doctoring caught the attention of many, including the Vatican. When the Pope John Paul II was critically ill, they contacted and flew Dr. Varon over to Italy to attempt to use this treatment on his Holiness. Once again, Dr. Varon was attempting to save a life – and a very famous one at that.
Regarding his work with fellow FLCCC doctors on creating MATH+, Dr. Varon mentions: “All of these drugs and supplements we were using made scientific sense. We incorporated them to treat the specific conditions that patients were presenting with – inflammation, hypercoagulation, respiratory distress. As critical care doctors, we know these conditions well, and we know how to treat them. To not allow these interventions is, quite frankly, illogical, and insane.”
You can say that again! And while Dr. Varon is realistic about the state of medicine right now – “It’s going down the drain” – he has hope for the future: “We need to go back to a system of trust, where doctors are empowered to do what they know is in the best interest of their patients, where they can spend time with them, and can collaborate with fellow doctors on treatments and new interventions.”
He sees FLCCC as a lynchpin in this new system and champions the organization’s move from acute care protocols, as it provided in COVID, to prevention and treatment protocols via evidence-based medicine.
“We’ve garnered a good deal of trust with the public, which is critical. We’re the troublemakers for sure,” he says jokingly, “but the FLCCC founders are some of the most highly-published physicians in the world. It’s time to shake things up – we have a small window to make this happen, but it is critical. There is nothing more important than empowering people and providers to optimize health and save lives.”