First up, thanks for everyone that read “What’s my Pin?”, the essay from my friend Jez Brown who’s living with Long Covid. And thanks for sharing it! Thanks to you, it lead to the likes of Clementine Ford and Taylor Lorentz sharing it too, two humans I admire and who have huge platforms. Thanks for getting Webworm out into the world.
Jez documented — in both a harrowing and darkly hilarious way — what Long Covid has done to his various organs, and his psyche. And it was his essay I had in the back of my mind when I came across a doctor who kinda made my blood boil.
His name is Dr. Dan.
I stumbled on Dr Dan’s official Facebook page — @DrDanOfficial — where I found him sharing screenshots from a study called “Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection”:
“We’ve known that ivermectin helps reduce COVID mortality for over a year now” wrote Dr Dan. “When will the guidelines change?” he pleads. “Why haven’t they?”
He posted the study on his Facebook page on June 20 — the same day it was reported that one of the largest ivermectin studies had been withdrawn:
Large Ivermectin Study Retracted
A large Egyptian study of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients has been retracted over concerns of plagiarism and serious problems with their raw data, the publisher confirmed to MedPage Today.
Michele Avissar-Whiting, PhD, editor-in-chief of the preprint server Research Square, said in an emailed statement that the study was withdrawn “because we were presented with evidence of both plagiarism and anomalies in the dataset associated with the study, neither of which could reasonably be addressed by the author issuing a revised version of the paper.
What is Ivermectin? It’s a horse dewormer that’s become a common talking point for those in the anti-vaxx community:
According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center, the right-wing obsession with Ivermectin may be important to that demographic merely because it sows distrust in science in general while stirring up vaccine skepticism.
“Politics got injected into it, and then Ivermectin became a crusade for certain individuals, as a way to kind of deflect the importance of the vaccine,” Adalja told Salon. “It’s the same kind of story of the politics of this pandemic that’s driven a lot of the interest in Ivermectin — and when I do interviews on ivermectin I get a slew of hate mail."
And Dr Dan seems to be a big fan — at the bottom of his Instagram profile he directly links to the same study he posted on his Facebook:
Flicking through @DrDanOfficial’s Instagram account is bleak. It’s more celebrity chef Pete Evans than medical doctor. Most of his posts appear to relate to Covid and “alternative” Covid treatments.
He reposts the mask exemption form that was being widely shared at the time by anti-vaxx groups as a way for perfectly healthy individuals to avoid wearing masks.
In August last year he cryptically posted “What do you think of the advance NZ / NZ public party?”. Remember, the NZ Public Party was one of New Zealand’s main conspiracy theory parties in the last election, led by QAnon adherent Billy Te Kahika. I tracked Te Kahika’s descent into QAnon here on Webworm.
At one point Dr Dan posts a takedown notice from Instagram, captioning it “Instagram continues its war on science”.
Dr. Dan’s real name is Dr Daniel Quistorff. He practices at Millhouse Medical in Howick — a suburb in Auckland, New Zealand
According to the the New Zealand Medical Council’s register, he is a practicing doctor. His practicing certificate is listed as 1 March 2021 - 28 February 2022.
The Medical Council’s website notes that “Dr Quistorff is required to practice medicine under supervision in the GPEP training programme” (GPEP is the General Practice Education Programme).
(UPDATE: Being “under supervision” means he is essentially a trainee working under a senior GP until he passes all of his training requirements. Training as a GP in New Zealand takes 11 years from the start of medical school.)
I reached out to the Medical Council for comment, but in the meantime turned to Google to find out more about Dr Dan — where I found this report from 2015:
Sick-note doctor censured
A doctor convicted of 37 charges of forging sick notes has been censured without being given a period of suspension by the Health Practitioner's Disciplinary Tribunal.
Daniel Lawrence Quistorff was found guilty of two charges brought by the Medical Council's professional conduct committee before the tribunal in Auckland today.
The charges were for being convicted of a crime with a maximum term of imprisonment of three years and for practicing medicine without a current practicing certificate.
Quistorff never saw the inside of a jail cell:
Dr Quistorff — who referred to himself as “Mr McLovin” in an old social network profile — was convicted and sentenced to community work and supervision in the Auckland District Court last year.
An earlier article from 2014 explains why Quistorff escaped jail time: a very kind judge had looked favourably on “McLovin”:
Crown prosecutor Julia MacGibbon said Quistorff's remorse was not genuine, but the judge disagreed. “I do accept your remorse, and the consequences to you are immense,” she said.
“I hope you'll be reinstated as a doctor in due course and serve the community in a way you’ve worked so hard to achieve.”
And it appears Dr Quistorff is indeed back serving his community at Millhouse Medical.
Millhouse Medical. Dr. Dan. That facial hair. It all screams The Simpsons.
But it’s not The Simpsons, it’s real life.
I was curious what Dr Daniel Quistorff was talking about before ivermectin, and it appears it was basically anything but the vaccine. In March it was hydrogen peroxide:
By June, he’d turned to hydroxychloroquine:
To be very clear, clinical trials confirm hydroxychloroquine does not prevent illness or death from Covid 19 — and yet his post remained up as of yesterday.
And before Ivermectin, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxychloroquine, Dr Dan was mostly talking about Vitamin D:
Anything but the vaccine.
Last night I tweeted about some of these findings, and approximately 1.5 hours later Dr Dan had taken his Facebook page offline:
Not long after that, I was blocked from his Instagram account (which is still available publicly):
With Dr Dan / McLovin’ pre-emptively avoiding me, I’ve reached out to his medical practice seeking some clarity on his views. I am curious what advice his patients are getting about Covid 19 prevention — especially at the vaccine rollout is currently taking place in Aotearoa.
The way I see it — his patients are lucky New Zealand doesn’t currently have any Covid outbreaks.
Before I was blocked or his pages removed, I flicked through some of the comments under Dr Dans various posts about natural cures, memes and screengrabs.
And I found he had a lot of support. Hundreds of comments of agreeing with his various photos and captions — “good on you” type stuff. Thanking him for telling the truth.
And I was reminded — it had slipped my mind — that Dr Daniel Quistorff was a doctor. This wasn’t a celebrity chef “just asking questions”: this was a medical professional.
Look — I have no doubt Dr Dan is knowledgeable in certain areas. I am sure he’s helped patients in a variety of ways. And that’s great.
But there is a simple assumption many people make about doctors: that they are smart, informed and logical about everything. But I’d argue that isn’t always the case. And we forget that.
It’s my very strongly held belief that there is a built in arrogance that comes with certain people in the medical profession. Perhaps it comes with the territory: no-one wants a nervous, anxiety-riddled doctor. They want confidence. They expect an expert.
And sometimes doctors think that being an expert in one field makes then an expert in all fields. I can’t help but recall the fake medical AI I wrote about in 2018, in which two medical professionals insisted I was wrong. When I was so bold as to ask one of them if they were perhaps being fooled, they insinuated I was a conspiracy theorist.
Being a GP doesn’t make you an expert in Covid 19. It doesn’t make you a virologist. It doesn’t make you an expert on pandemics. But put the word “Dr” in front of your name, and a certain part of the population is going to trust you.
In this piece, I’ve written about one doctor, in one tiny practice, in one tiny country called New Zealand. But there are doctors like this everywhere — and I think it’s important we keep this in mind when we seek medical advice.
I mean — how many people Google their doctor’s name before they take all their advice to heart?
Before I wrapped this thing up, I wanted to give some specific examples of comments from Dr Dan’s followers on Instagram. Perhaps some of them are even his patients. But he’s now set his entire profile to private:
He’s probably call it patient doctor confidentiality.
If you want to support Webworm, you can become a paying subscriber. Subscribers help keep this newsletter ticking, and they also mean I can keep more important stuff like this free and un-paywalled. You can become a monthly or annual member here. It’s cheaper than Netflix. Only do this if it doesn’t cause you any kind of financial hardship.
Hi David and all the Webworm posse, this man puts my profession to shame no question. I wish I could get all these people struck off. But anyway, can I please clarify that his status on the medical council register of doctors is not of concern. I myself for instance would have the same conditions but having to be supervised under the pathology training programme as I am in training to be a pathologist. Anyone training to be a specialist doctor (GPs are specialist doctors of genera practice) is the same. I’d hate people to search their doctor and assume something bad has happened from that.
As NZ doctor myself, there are a few of these around - pretty much anyone who signed the plan b petition is on the list. One on flipping YouTube is Sam Bailey - nz trained doctor but has no vocational registration (not a gp or on any training program) and has no practicing certificate but is still peddling misinformation. She has a profile from being in tv in some form or another but was reported to the medical council. Sounds like dr Dan also needs to be flagged. The vast majority of us are fully vaccinated and terrified of how we’ll cope if the pandemic takes off here.