Richard Urso MD
Dr. Richard Urso graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, where he was on the Dean’s Distinguished Honor Roll. He then went on to study medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Urso was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society while studying there. He completed his Ophthalmology residency at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and then concluded with a fellowship in Oculoplastics and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. In 1993, Dr. Urso was appointed Ophthalmologist and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he served until April 2005. During this time, he was also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Urso is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the North American Academy of Cosmetic and Restorative Surgery. He is also a member of the Harris County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, and the Texas Ophthalmic Association. Dr. Urso has also written numerous articles and abstracts relating to a variety of topics in the field of ophthalmology.
His honors include Outstanding Teacher in Ophthalmology from UT-Houston Medical School-Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Hero Award, Dedication and Service Award from Harris County Fraternal Order of Police #39, and America’s Top Ophthalmologist in Oculoplastics, Reconstructive Surgery, and Refractive Surgery.
Big tech has been engaged in a year-long campaign of censoring, shadow banning and deplatforming. Both doctors at the bleeding-edge of COVID-19 treatment and eminent scientists striving to advance the science around it.
Big tech “coincidentally” went rogue at the very start of the “pandemic”. Wherein they collectively and unilaterally decided in lockstep, through some non-transparent means, that the unelected bureaucratic World Health Organization (WHO) would be the “gold standard” of science. An organization with a substantial history of catastrophic errors and significant allegations of corruption.
In effect, big tech colluded in spring 2020, to “ban” and restrict at the “narrative” meta-level, regardless of science. Science would be permitted but only if it fit the “approved” narratives.
“Incidentally” big tech has greatly profited from the “pandemic”, in particular the Western pseudo emulation of the purported Chinese lockdown of Wuhan.
The violation by big tech of freedom of speech as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, did not go unnoticed in Europe. Particularly by countries with recent memory of communism, namely Poland and Hungary. America, by contrast, has accepted the loss of freedom of speech, albeit some murmurings from the state of Texas.
Poland began fighting back against big tech last December, with Hungary following suit last month. Other European countries are expected to follow, possibly also a pan-European legal framework, to protect freedom and democracy against the ongoing big tech assault.
I would strongly advise any European citizen who has had their lawful content or account tampered with by a big tech platform, to immediately start engaging with their political representative/s, with a view to following the lead of Poland and Hungary.
Last December Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, said the proposed changes were necessary because “The censoring of free speech, once the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now back, but in a new form, run by corporations, who silence those who think differently… We do not have to agree with what our opponents write, but we cannot forbid anyone from expressing views that do not contravene the law.”
Judit Varga, Hungary’s justice minister stated last month that they are intent on combating big tech’s “deliberate, ideological” censorship. And “Today anyone can be disconnected from the online space without the possibility of any formal, transparent, fair procedure and legal remedy” and accused “power groups behind global tech giants” of having the power to decide elections.
Richard Urso ➝ 00:00
It’s great pleasure that I have to be here. And it’s an important opportunity that you’ve given me. I appreciate that.
Mass lockdowns and waiting for a vaccine was an unsustainable model for our citizens from the beginning. And I was determined to help.
Allowing patients to go on vents and ECMO goes against the, without treatment, I mean, goes against the Hippocratic oath and I was not going to tacitly support this early on. Many roadblocks and misinformation stood in the way.
And there’s no doubt that COVID-19 has been a great tragedy for the world, our country and Texas but it didn’t have to be that way.
A year ago, it became clear the virus was coming our way. And I have background in drug development, I patented a drug that eventually made its way through the FDA. And I repurposed eight other drugs.
Richard Urso ➝ 00:47
I started looking and found like nine things that might work. I looked at the old coronavirus literature. I found a gout drug that might work. I found a cholesterol drug that might work, and a transplant drug that might work in many others.
I looked in the literature that very day that I had put the list together. And I found that SARS-CoV-2 was very much treatable with in-tissue culture, with hydroxychloroquine. I was super excited. I was on calls, every night, talking to docs around the world, and eventually came down to Seattle, New York and Louisiana as they came here.
And I realized that just attacking the virus wasn’t going to work. This disease had many components, there’s infection, inflammation, respiratory distress, and blood clots. We had to treat all those things if we’re going to be successful.
Richard Urso ➝ 01:37
And I realized it very early on. And you heard earlier today, somebody say just before me, there’s absolutely no reason why a doctor should let somebody get respiratory distress, sats [oxygen saturation] drop to low nineties. They need to be treated. The C-reactive protein and D-dimers are going down. They need to be treated for something for blood clots, aspirin. It’s not hard.
This is not a hard disease. The hard part is you can’t get past the hierarchy telling you not to do these things. This has been the problem. It’s not a hard disease.
I’ve treated 286 people. None of them had died. Four have gone to the hospital. I love all the drugs. Let’s say, attack the pathogen, the monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, arithromycin is also good against that, ivermectin. And what I tell patients is, here’s what I tell them.
Richard Urso ➝ 02:21
The virus is only replicating for eight days. And I tell them this. There’s cars and car parts. Cars can drive, car parts can’t. Viruses can infect. That’s for eight days. Virus particles are all that’s left. All they do is inflame and that’s what people are dying from.
And so it makes no sense at all to not treat inflammation, respiratory distress, and thrombosis early, waiting for patients get to the hospital is insane.
So I was very determined not to let that happen. And we ended up in a tug of war about attacking the pathogen, which is ridiculous. So as you know what we’ve adopted over time is like a multi-drug cocktail, and there’s multiple doctors that are involved.
We don’t need just an infectious disease doctor. He’s not the best for inflammation or respiratory distress. We shouldn’t be just listening to an infectious disease doctor.
Richard Urso ➝ 03:12
That makes no sense. They’re not the best at thrombosis either.
We need a lot of doctors involved and we need an ophthalmologist probably because we think we’re smart, but it’s a whole other thing.
But I got involved and I was very excited because a lot of patients could not get treatment. And they were calling my office. One was a friend from medical school. His whole family was sick and I treated him about a year ago.
And I knew that what we were doing had to be a multi-drug cocktail. So I gave him hydroxychloroquine, arithromycin, baby aspirin, vitamin D, and he couldn’t breathe well, couldn’t breathe well. And I gave him a inhaled budesonide. I was so excited. It worked wonderfully. And I got on social media to talk about it. And immediately about two days later, got a letter from the board saying I had to bring all my records.
Richard Urso ➝ 04:01
And I was making untrue claims and I had to stop, you know, what I was doing. So I decided that I wouldn’t stop because I’m very data-driven. I have the data in front of me, and I knew that I would be vindicated because I had lots of information.
And so I decided to continue, but many patients, many doctors, many other people were frightened by all this. And because of that, many people didn’t get treated. And because of that, many people died.
So when we say that the board did a good job, I think in the end they did. But early on, it was very frightening. I was very scared. I felt like my license might get taken away. And I was right. Eventually, I think there was probably competing voices. And eventually those competing voices were through the influence of other people that saw that these are reasonable things that we were doing.
Richard Urso ➝ 04:56
But what also happened, it wasn’t just in Texas. The NIH said there shouldn’t be early treatment.
The Harvard Lancet study, for anybody who doesn’t know, two CV docs from Harvard, fabricated a study, citizen scientists like myself and Dr. Mccullough put pressure on them. And eventually it retracted. First time in the history of my 31 years, I saw a study retracted. A lot of us stood up and said, this is not true.
So eventually this actually led to the, it was basically the nail in the coffin for hydroxychloroquine nationally. And it became, even though it was fabricated, this is what got out in the media, that it was going to kill you.
At that time, that was in June, I actually ended up in the White House and I ended up talking about hydroxychloroquine. I tried to introduce ivermectin. And at the time the chief of staff said to me, look, I need data.
Richard Urso ➝ 05:42
And we couldn’t get the data through. We had publications. We were trying to get through and they were slow walking them through national journals. It eventually got published in July, but he said, I can’t go forward with anything without data.
So we were finding that multiple places were meeting roadblocks. And again, because of that, early treatment didn’t take place. And again, more people died. So I think, you know, as we go through this, I think the government has enormous power locking down. I have a bunch of papers on lockdowns, masking, school closings. That’s what I first went to Washington for. I went to, they asked me to come for talk about school closings, shutting down doctors. I mean, it’s enormous power. And it’s coming between the sanctity of the doctor and the patient relationship for no reason other than… I am not a political analyst.
I don’t know, but I know it wasn’t right. And a lot of people suffered because of it. And media bias is continuing canceling scientific voices is real. I’ve had it happen many times. Freedom of expression is jeopardized. Every time I present something on YouTube or anything, if I just said what I just said to you, that’s infection, inflammation, respiratory distress, and blood clots. And we need a multi-drug cocktail. Censored.
So I think that as we go forward, the elephant in the room is early treatment works and prevention works. And I would love to see Texas map our own future. That’s all I have to say.
Chair ➝ 07:10
Thank you, doctor. Appreciate. You know, I think the theme here is making sure that we don’t make these mistakes in the future. And there was pretty strong testimony in the previous witness about the doctor-patient relationship. Senator Campbell has a couple of questions.
Senator Campbell ➝ 07:25
Thank you, Madam Chair. And I have to admit, I haven’t seen this witness for 20 plus years. We both trained at University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston at the Hermann eye center. He’s an ophthalmologist. So am I. And Rick, it’s so good to see you.
I’m surprised. It’s just good to see you again, you’ve always been innovative, put patient care first. Thank you for the research that you’ve done. Thank you for your testimony today. I think you probably, I’m not sure if you were in the room or no whenever I talked to the executive director of the medical board, but it was scary when they first came out, they were pretty egregious and hiding behind the oversight.
So I was happy to see at the end how they reframed their restraint or retracted the fear if you will. So hopefully you are through all the obstacles and you’re free and clear up the board.
Richard Urso ➝ 08:27
Well, I thought the board did a good job in the long run. In the short run, they were pretty scary, but I thought in the long run, they’d been very reasonable and I give him credit for that.
Senator Campbell ➝ 08:34
Exactly. Me too. And so that’s what I had said. And so anyway, it’s good to see you. Yes. I agree. In a crisis, you just don’t always know initially, you know, initially we didn’t know anything about the virus and it took a little bit for us to get our footing, but I think, you know, docs realize that there are some things that can be created outside the box and practice.
And hopefully as the Chairman said, we learned from this and the board – not making curative statements is very important, but still treating patients, the whole patient. And as you broke down the pathology, because it’s not just a virus like the flu, it’s got many components that include inflammation and those have to be dealt with. So thank you. It’s good to see you. Thanks for being here to testify. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chair ➝ 09:32
And I’d like to build upon that and, you know, pretty public knowledge.
Our 17 year old son got COVID this summer and gave it to Jimmy. And, you know, Jimmy, middle-aged man, very healthy, skinny. I kind of watched this downward spiral and I just feel really blessed that I had been the Chair of Health and Human and knew lots of options and, you know, my primary care physician and I would have conversations.
I’d say, you know, blood oxygen level down to 92, it’s time to act. And it was really amazing, you know, through my knowledge of just our work group and different things, you know, sleeping on your stomach. Dexamethazone, azithromycin, budesonide and these were things that I will just say our physician was very receptive to, but almost knew in July, that was risky, you know, because of some of the actions and some of the, you know, well, can I prescribe that, it’s off-label, and so forth, so on, and I will tell you that we were able to nip it in the bud in the ambulatory stage, but we were this close to, you know, having to hospitalize Jimmy.
Chair ➝ 10:44
And, I, it was my, you know, gut feeling. We’re not winning here. And that’s part of the message today is that, you know, I just want doctors to understand, you know, you’re smart, you’re scientists, you tinker, you know your patients.
And there are pharmaceuticals out there that can really help. And it’s different with each person as we heard in testimony, but I’m really grateful for your unrelenting messaging. There are things at work. Don’t let it get to a stage where there’s no return. Senator Hall.
Senator Hall ➝ 11:19
Thank you, Madam Chair. And so to Campbell, I would have introduced you sooner if I had known that cause I’ve been working with Dr. Russo since last May, I believe. But anyway, Dr. So thank you. Thank you for being here today and for what you brought up.
And I think what Dr. Campbell was saying and what our Chair is saying is that the most important thing right now is that we have our lessons learned from what we went through. There’s no question that there was lots of things done wrong, and lots of people died unnecessarily.
And the worst thing that could possibly happen is for us to go forward, not recognizing our history and what did take place that what you and other doctors recognize could be treated. And hopefully, what you had to say there actually is not consistent with what we heard from the Texas Medical Board back just a little while ago.
Senator Hall ➝ 12:24
They did not aggressively go after. I heard from too many doctors that had simply tried to treat their patients that were aggressively gone after. Now, maybe they didn’t end up losing their license, but just the threat radiates to other doctors to, oops, I best not do this because they may come after me.
And that I think went a long way in suppressing the other doctors who weren’t quite as courageous as what you were and Dr. Mccullough and the others in saying, you know, I’m going to treat my patients anyhow. And so I think that you coming forward and talking, I think it will help.
And I just think that that is the most important thing is that we not repeat this because I don’t think we’ve seen the last of some kind of pandemic before this is over and we need to recognize a different way to handle it. So thank you for being here today.
Richard Urso ➝ 13:26
I was going to say the timeline was, the board was pretty aggressive early on March, April, May. And then they started, I don’t know what happened, but they started to get more reasonable right around in June, and then issued a statement.
You know, you set up about the, they call it alternative treatment, what they really meant to say was, you know, we can use the drugs off label, but they said alternative treatment. And that statement really helped.
But the problem was a lot of the early treatment alternatives were really beat up in the literature. And I’ll give you an example, Harvey Risch, the top epidemiologist probably in the country has said the chance that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work is one in 44 quadrillion.
Chance that ivermectin doesn’t work is like one in 62 trillion, some ridiculous number like that. And despite all that, when the FDA and other people come down on it, it wasn’t just the Texas Medical Board, it wouldn’t be fair.
And as I said, I thought in the end, they actually were much more reasonable. And like I said, whatever voices were there, the calmer voices went out and I thanked them for that.
But overall, it was an overhang from not only what was going on here in Texas, what was going on nationally that made people just too fearful and just say, I don’t treat COVID
Senator Hall ➝ 14:37
Okay. Well, thank you. And that’s on the treatment side. There were other things that we did that we need to learn from. We had masks, we had lockdowns, we had business closings. We’ve looked at the studies, looked at the data. What is your thought on going forward? Should we consider those as tools to be used in the future or mistakes that we made?
Richard Urso ➝ 15:02
I’d be data-driven. Like lockdowns here came out March 5th. Nature, the most powerful journal we have, “in using 87 different regions of the world, we found no evidence that the number of deaths per million is reduced by lockdowns.” I mean, that came out in Nature. It’s about a 60-page paper. Came out this past week.
When you talk about masks, the only study, RCT, comes back this year, says randomized control trial, the only one that was done, they didn’t work. Alright. That was done this past year. State issued mask mandates.
Actually, it’s kind of interesting because the CDC just came out with the statement. There’s no statistical difference. There’s a 0.7% difference with state issued mask mandates. 0.7% difference. Despite that they do recommend people continue to wear a mask. But the data clearly says that that’s probably not that helpful. 0.7%.
Richard Urso ➝ 15:57
If I told you, I’m going to give you a candy bar 0.7% difference. And I asked you to tell me the difference between those two candy bars. I don’t think you could tell me.
So I think in general, we talk about lockdowns, masking. It doesn’t make sense. And of course, in pediatrics, in school closures, you can easily see that kids are not super spreaders is the end of the statement. But in five different studies, one from Switzerland, two from China, one in France, one in Australia, only one adult transmission that I know of took place from a child to an adult.
So kids don’t spread, we shouldn’t lock down schools. I mean the whole picture is not data-driven. I find that to be a problem.
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Video Source: Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Texas Senate HHS Committee (10 March, 2021)