SHA head blasts anti-vax message from local surgeon as `dangerous'
U of S professor appeared in video questioning if pandemic is real
The Saskatchewan Health Authority's CEO calls the messages on the pandemic and the vaccines from a Saskatoon surgery professor who serves in a key SHA role “dangerous.”
Scott Livingstone stressed in an interview on Monday that Dr. Francis Christian does not speak for the SHA, even though he does occupy a position in the organization.
Christian serves as the director of quality improvement and patient safety in the University of Saskatchewan's department of surgery, and with the SHA.
Christian has spoken out publicly against vaccines and has questioned whether the pandemic is real, suggesting it might be part of a global conspiracy.
“I think what he has done publicly is dangerous,” Livingstone said of Christian. “I don't condone it at all. Very disappointed.”
Livingstone declined to say whether Christian might face discipline for his public comments that contradict the message the SHA has delivered throughout the pandemic. In Saskatchewan, 565 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 and 48,490 positive cases have been diagnosed.
Christian is using a public platform to deliver messages contrary to those coming from his colleagues in the U of S College of Medicine and the SHA, Livingstone said.
“What's most disrespectful is his comments relative to pandemic vaccination and the response from this province,” Livingstone said. “And how disrespectful that is to the thousands of people across this province, the health-care people on his team at the university and across this province who've worked so hard over 15 months to keep people in this province safe. I find his comments absurd.”
Christian could not be reached for comment, but he has complained that medical professionals like himself who deliver messaging outside the mainstream on the pandemic are being muzzled.
Christian is a clinical professor in the department of surgery in the U of S College of Medicine. He also serves as editor of the Journal of the Surgical Humanities.
Christian took part in a video with a handful of Canadian physicians that was posted earlier this month to the website Bitchute, which accommodates videos that promote conspiracy theories.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 67,000 times, Christian mocks restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and questions whether the pandemic is real and whether the vaccines work.
He also took part in a demonstration outside Saskatoon's Walter
Murray Collegiate last week in an effort to convince students to refuse to get vaccinated. Christian refused to answer questions from journalists who attended the event.
Dr. Chong Wong, a Saskatoon family physician who also lectures at the U of S, also took part in the demonstration.