Anti-mask French doctor faces ban over false certificates

A doctor in France who supports the anti-mask movement faces suspension for posting false medical certificates online for people to download to excuse them from wearing masks.

13 August 2020
In France, there is a growing anti-mask movement, mostly on social media
By Thomas Brent

Dr Eve Engerer posted the certificate on social media towards the end of July with the message “for everyone to print out and fill in with your name and surname.” 

Ms Engerer has a medical practice in the Bas-Rhin department in the east of France, and has been active on social media in sharing anti-mask and anti-vaccination messages. 

Dr Jean-Marie Letzelter, the president of the department’s Order des Médecins told Connexion that the regional health agency has reported Ms Engerer to the prosecutors office for posting the certificates online, and it was “likely” that she would have her medical licence suspended. 

Aside from this, Dr Letzelter said that the departmental doctor’s order has checked the advice of the regional order about summoning Ms Engerer for a hearing to understand why she posted the certificates online. He said this could lead to a disciplinary hearing. 

Dr Letzelter said that Ms Engerer had been practising medicine in Bas-Rhin for a long time and that she is someone whose behaviour is “fanatic”. 

“She is a doctor who believes in alternative medicine, she recommends natural remedies, to pray, to get closer to nature, to not get vaccinated, to not follow the recommendations of health authorities saying that all that is the 'big pharmaceuticals' who are making people ill,” he said.

Dr Letzelter said that Ms Engerer had thought that she had been suspended already, but that she had false information and that was not the case at the moment. 

Connexion contacted Ms Engerer but was not able to get a comment from her. On her Facebook page, she wrote, "suspended? Disbarred? So what? I'm going to have even more choices to create beyond this reality."

In France, wearing a mask is mandatory in all enclosed public spaces and now too in some outdoor areas of certain communes. The rules are in place to limit the spread of Covid-19 which has caused a global pandemic and claimed the lives of over 700,000 people worldwide. 

In recent months there has been a growing anti-mask movement, mostly on social media. 

One Facebook group named ‘anti mask obligatoire’ has attracted over 4,000 members since it was created on May 3 this year. 

Some of the arguments put forward by the anti-mask supporters include masks causing asphyxiation, masks forcing you to breathe in your own CO2 or masks causing fungus in your bronchial tubes. 

The vice-president of the doctors’ union médecins généralistes de France, Jean-Christophe Calmes, has criticised this movement saying that there was a “total imbecility” on the part of some. 

“If [these arguments] were true, I would be sorry to inform you of the mass deaths of all the healthcare workers who work every day with masks,” he told French radio station RFI. 

Mr Letzelter agreed. 

“I think, personally, that masks and social distancing measures are the best protections against the virus.”

Read more about coronavirus in France:

France anti-mask movement 'idiotic' says leading doctor

Coronavirus: France, Germany, UK figures compared

France-UK quarantine fears rise with Covid cases

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