Susan Northrup, FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon, Should Resign
By Steve Kirsch
The AOPA published an op-ed containing ad hominem and completely false attacks. Wow. Is that the best they can do? I challenged the writer to a recorded discussion on his hit piece.
An AOPA op-ed is heavy on ad hominem attacks and false claims. The truth is that the Federal Air Surgeon is not doing her job in protecting the pilots, the flight crews, or the public.
On Jan 23, 2023, I wrote an article calling for FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon Susan Northrup to resign. It called out 22 different reasons, even though many of the reasons cited, on their own, were sufficient to justify the call.
Instead of responding to my requests for comment to their press office, on February 22, 2023, the AOPA published a hit piece written by Dr. Brent Blue entitled “LEAVE DR. NORTHRUP ALONE IN DEFENSE OF THE FEDERAL AIR SURGEON” accusing me of making false statements and ascribing my motivation in writing the article as an attempt to get more subscribers. Wow.
Their article deliberately misses the point of my article: that the FAA isn’t investigating the pilot incidents. The article never talks about this. This is the elephant in the room.
I was alerted to the AOPA article today. I wrote the author back immediately asking for a civil dialog to resolve any misunderstandings. I doubt I’ll hear back because these people seem to never want to be held accountable for anything that they write.
This article addresses each of Brent’s allegations towards me (and selected misinformation he’s propagating) and shows that they are false.
“In my opinion, the whole issue has been created by the blogger to increase his online following so he can increase his subscription revenue.”
Dr. Blue has simply provided no evidence to back up his opinion. He just made it up.
If he wanted to know why I wrote the article, he should have called Captain Bob Snow. After my initial call with Susan Northrup where she said she agreed to call Captain Snow, I called Captain Snow and discovered that nobody from the FAA has ever called him about his incident. It was right after that call that the article was written and the article highlights that event. It’s item #1. It can’t be any more clear than that.
“Vaccines are different, and most recommendations have come from the CDC and FDA. Yes, there were problems, mostly with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but even those were as close to statistically non significant as one can get.”
From the Fraiman paper which simply re-analyzes the “gold standard” phase 3 trial data:
Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 vaccinated (95 % CI 2.1 to 22.9); risk ratio 1.43 (95 % CI 1.07 to 1.92). The Pfizer trial exhibited a 36 % higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group; risk difference 18.0 per 10,000 vaccinated (95 % CI 1.2 to 34.9); risk ratio 1.36 (95 % CI 1.02 to 1.83).
This is hardly as close to statistically non significant as one can get. These values are all statistically significant harm.
In addition, Table 1 from the Claussen paper comes to mind. p=.00001 is about as statistically significant as you’ll ever see in a paper.
That paper says:
“Results prove that none of the vaccines provide a health benefit and all pivotal trials show a statistically significant increase in “all cause severe morbidity” in the vaccinated group compared to the placebo group.
Based on this data it is all but a certainty that mass COVID-19 immunization is hurting the health of the population in general.
Scientific principles dictate that the mass immunization with COVID-19 vaccines must be halted immediately …”
If this paper got it wrong, I’d love to hear from Dr. Blue so we can get the paper corrected. Again, this is just analyzing the Phase 3 trial data.
“The blogger used half-truths and unsupported numbers in his attack on Northrup.”
My primary attack on Northrup is that nobody called Snow or any other injured pilot. That’s the only thing that matters. She never called. If Dr. Blue shows the she “half called” Snow (whatever that means), he needs to cite evidence of that. But he completely ducks the main point.
Instead, Blue zeroes in on the most unimportant detail. He wrote:
For instance, he states that airline pilots are 40 times more likely to get blood clots than nonpilots, and without any attribution. That is like me saying airline pilots are 40 times more likely to be cheapskates than the general population. Not scientific data but just another personal observation.
Dr. Blue is just making this stuff up out of thin air. The article itself says (and has ALWAYS said) that “Pilots are 60% more likely to suffer blood clots than the general public and blood clots are a known side-effect of these vaccines.”
Last time I checked, a “60% increase” is a factor of 1.6X and is not the same as a 40X increase. I’m excited to hear how 1.6=40. This must be “doctor math” which is not taught at MIT.
He’s right. I didn’t attribute it. My mistake. I should have added a hyperlink and now I can’t find the reference. So a simple request to ChatGPT of “Are pilots more likely to develop a DVT? By how much?” gave the response:
According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, pilots and cabin crew had a slightly higher risk of developing DVT compared to the general population. The study found that the incidence of DVT was 0.47 cases per 1,000 flight years among pilots and 0.12 cases per 1,000 flight years among cabin crew, compared to 0.07 cases per 1,000 person-years in the general population.
So .47/.07= 6.71, which is a 571% increase, not 60%.
But I couldn’t find the reference that ChatGPT referred to, so I’ll take it out to eliminate points of attack.
“What do I tell people to do? I tell them I got the vaccinations, and my family has as well.”
It’s crystal clear that the health authorities are, as usual, keeping the data hidden. v-safe was kept under lock and key for years before Aaron Siri finally pried it loose from the CDC. The Medicare death/vax records have NEVER been released by the CDC. The BEST system death-vax records? You aren’t allowed to see those either. The VSD records? Nope, those are under lock and key. The US vax-death records? Not being shown to anyone. The UK records? Not going to release them. The New Zealand death-vax records? Nope. Not going to release them even if I pay all the costs.
Do you see a pattern here? World governments keep the data hidden and tell doctors that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective and to ignore the death-vax records. Heck, the CDC even keeps all the hundreds of events generating safety signals in VAERS hidden from public view as well.
Dr. Blue is not your friend. He isn’t calling for data transparency. And he supports people like Dr. Northrup who willfully look the other way when a pilot is injured or killed by the COVID vaccine. This isn’t keeping the pilots or the public safe.
I’ve invited Dr. Blue to a live discussion where we can talk about these issues. He did not reply to my request. Why can’t we talk about it?
LEAVE DR. NORTHRUP ALONE IN DEFENSE OF THE FEDERAL AIR SURGEON
Anyone who reads this column knows that I do not hold back my criticism of some of the FAA’s medical standards and rules. If the FAA medical folks are doing something absurd, I don’t hesitate to call them out. As you can imagine, it hardly makes me an honored person at their dinner table.
However, the recent online attacks on Dr. Susan Northrup, the federal air surgeon, have really made me angry. The attacks a few months ago, led by a blogger, called for Northrup to resign or be fired, citing FAA approval of COVID-19 vaccinations for pilots and other nonsense (“AOPA Stands Behind Northrup,” p. 12). These comments by the blogger on Northrup are out of control. In my opinion, the whole issue has been created by the blogger to increase his online following so he can increase his subscription revenue. I know Northrup can defend herself, but most likely is hamstrung by the FAA lawyers who often encroach needlessly into policy areas and just add to delay.
Northrup is one of the best, if not the best federal air surgeon, during my 40-plus years as an AME. Believe it or not, she is one of the only active pilots in the FAA upper echelon and flies a warbird and other GA aircraft on a regular basis. She is approachable and gives her phone number out to those who need it, like AMEs. Believe me, that is not standard procedure. She meets with the AOPA medical group on a somewhat regular basis and responds to emails I send her. In short, Northrup is a step above anyone preceding her over the past 40 years. And while we are not best friends, nor do we agree on everything, I respect her.
The attack on Northrup is based on the FAA approving COVID-19 vaccinations for pilots’ use. I have taken the CDC and health departments to task over COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. For instance, I believe masking is stupid. After three years, the CDC has started calling masking “source control devices,” which I think is a backhanded way of finally saying they do not protect anyone from catching COVID-19—and I’m not a far right conservative by the way.
Northrup is one of the best, if not the best federal air surgeon, during my 40-plus years as an AME.
Vaccines are different, and most recommendations have come from the CDC and FDA. Yes, there were problems, mostly with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but even those were as close to statistically nonsignificant as one can get. There is no question that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective, and the hospitalizations and death rates support vaccination. My biggest complaint at this point is that the CDC does not want to pressure people into losing weight, even though 78 percent of people admitted to the hospital for infections such as COVID-19 are overweight or obese by definition. Shame on the CDC for not placing more emphasis on the obesity issue plaguing our nation, and for not recommending a healthy diet and exercise.
The blogger used half-truths and unsupported numbers in his attack on Northrup. He used individual cases, which have no relevant implications but are great to heat up the folks who only read headlines and the National Enquirer. For instance, he states that airline pilots are 40 times more likely to get blood clots than nonpilots, and without any attribution. That is like me saying airline pilots are 40 times more likely to be cheapskates than the general population. Not scientific data but just another personal observation.
My job as a physician requires me to have COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations every year, which I would do even without the requirement. It also requires me to prove I have had measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination (or the diseases). If not, I must get an MMR vaccination to practice medicine. Is it unreasonable to require airline pilots to be vaccinated? I do not think so, but I certainly understand how agonizing that choice might be for an individual to keep their job.
Over the years, I have had patients who always get the annual flu shot and others who do not. COVID-19 is going to be recommended annually as well.
What do I tell people to do? I tell them I got the vaccinations, and my family has as well.
And I do not believe a blogger’s quest for more readership and subscribers should make that decision for you.