Mishandling medications can be incredibly dangerous. Especially if the person handling them has no business handling them in the first place. A Kentucky doctor is learning the consequences of this the hard way. He is being suspended from practicing medicine, among other things, because he allowed his wife to handle vaccines.
Dr. Paul E. McLaughlin was been placed on immediate probation, and is being made to pay a $5,000 fine in agreement with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. He was delegating responsibilities, including handling vaccines, to his wife who doesn't have a medical license. His decision to do so contributed to a "public health crisis."
Location Vaccination, a private company owned by McLaughlin's wife, was hired last year during flu season to administer vaccines. They were working with adult employees across Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana at their places of work. Earlier this year, the the Kentucky Department of Public Health was alerted to McLaughlin's vaccines and flagged them as a public health threat. People receiving the vaccines were complaining of swelling, tenderness and hard lumps at the injection site of the shot. The public health officials say this is likely due to improper handling of the vaccines.
As people started complaining to the McLaughlin's, the wife began to prescribe antibiotics and steroids. But she was taking all the “medically appropriate” steps, which could have had dire consequences. She wasn't looking into their medical histories or understanding anything about them as individuals, which could kill someone who is immune compromised or allergic to something.
Between November and December 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and the Clark County Health Department in Kentucky received complaints. People who had gotten their flu shots were complaining about nodules at the site of their injections. No other doctors could figure out where they were coming from or how to treat them. Then the state health department got notice from patients saying Dr. McLaughlin's wife had contacted them about free antibiotics.
When he was called before the medical board in June 2019, he denied all allegations. “While some patients reported reactions to vaccines … there has been no determination that these reactions were anything other than well-recognized side effects associated with most vaccines,” says McLaughlin's lawyer, Tracy Prewitt.
As apart of his probation, he must attend ethics training, hours of medical training, and write up a plan on how to properly store vaccines. No word if his wife is receiving any sort of punishment.