Sepsis, a life-threatening condition triggered by a systemic infection, causes 1 in 5 deaths globally. An estimated 11 million people, including children, die from sepsis every year.1 Fortunately, a protocol of intravenous (IV) vitamin C with hydrocortisone and thiamine (vitamin B1) has been shown to dramatically improve chances of survival.2
Dr. Paul Marik, a critical care doctor formerly with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia, developed the treatment — known as the “HAT” protocol (hydrocortisone, ascorbic acid, thiamine)3 — and published a peer-reviewed study about it in 2017, in the journal Chest.4
In March 2022, Marik found himself the victim of unsubstantiated fraud allegations put forth by Dr. Kyle Sheldrick, an Australian physician, costing him his reputation and casting doubt on the effective HAT protocol for sepsis — costing an unknown number of people their lives.
In June 2023, however, Marik was cleared of the allegations and his study found to be sound — hopefully restoring faith in the treatment among the medical community and granting Marik long-deserved vindication.
Marik’s Sepsis Protocol Saves Lives
Marik’s retrospective before-after clinical study showed that giving septic patients 200 milligrams (mg) of thiamine every 12 hours, 1,500 mg of ascorbic acid every six hours and 50 mg of hydrocortisone every six hours for two days reduced mortality from 40.4% to 8.5%.5
“Our results suggest that the early use of intravenous vitamin C, together with corticosteroids and thiamine, are effective in preventing progressive organ dysfunction, including acute kidney injury, and in reducing the mortality of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock,” Marik and colleagues wrote in Chest.6
Research published in 2020 found Marik’s sepsis vitamin C protocol lowered mortality in pediatric patients as well.7 As noted by the authors, “Our results suggest that HAT therapy, when administered early in the clinical course, reduces mortality in children with septic shock.”
Writing in the journal Nutrients, Marik, who is also chief scientific officer and founding member of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), explained that more than 100 pharmacological agents targeting specific molecules or pathways have failed to improve sepsis outcomes. His protocol may work better due to its ability to target multiple pathways:8
“HAT therapy is based on the concept that a combination of readily available, safe and cheap agents, which target multiple components of the host’s response to an infectious agent, will synergistically restore the dysregulated immune response and thereby prevent organ failure and death.”
Baseless Complaint Prompts Year-Long Investigation
In March 2022, Sheldrick sent out a tweet regarding Marik’s study:9
“This study by a “Paul E Marik” and others claiming a reduction in Sepsis mortality with Vitamin C at “Sentara Norfolk General Hospital” contains obviously fabricated data. I will write to the Author, Hospital and Journal tomorrow requesting retraction.”
He then posted a copy of a complaint he filed with Chest, claiming that aspects of Marik’s study were fraudulent.10 The complaint prompted an investigation by the journal, but in the meantime, Sheldrick set out on a media blitz. According to The FLCCC Alliance Community:11
“Tragically, Sheldrick’s fraudulent and demonstrably baseless complaint against Dr. Marik — America’s most highly published critical care physician — made news. A lot of news.
While the CHEST Journal investigated Sheldrick’s bogus complaint for months, the erstwhile complainant went media hopping … appearing on numerous news programs, granting interviews to print journalists, and posting on social media with a confident cockiness that his complaint letter to Chest would do its job: That is, to publicly and thoroughly disgrace Dr. Marik’s work.”
In April 2023, Chest revealed the results of its year-long review of Marik’s study,12 finding no methodological errors as Sheldrick alleged.13 The journal only cited two minor revisions that have nothing to do with the outcome of the study — and amounted to the addition of two words, “nonconsecutive” and “target.”
The first is to clarify that patients in the control group were “nonconsecutive” while the other stated that the 1.5 grams of vitamin C given every six hours for four days was a “target” dose, which might not have been reached in all patients due to varying clinical factors.14 In a statement, Marik said:15
“I welcome the two words changed by the journal as they make the description of our methodology clearer and have no impact on the research results. However, this whole process was unnecessary as it raised unneeded concern about a life-saving treatment that we know is effective and used worldwide. I hope patients were not deprived of this vital treatment because of these false allegations.”
Defamation Suit Forces Sheldrick to Publicly Apologize
Marik and the FLCCC filed a defamation suit against Sheldrick, resulting in a requirement that he publicly apologize. In an updated statement published May 27, 2023, Sheldrick wrote:16
“On 22 March 2022, I posted a blog post called ‘This scattrd corn.’ This post was a copy of a complaint I filed with the journal CHEST identifying features of a study led by Paul Marik titled ‘Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock’ published on 3 February 2017 in CHEST, identifying that I believed them to be signs of fraud, and linked to this on twitter.
Those complaints have since been formally rejected by the Journal CHEST, which I consider to be the definitive conclusion to the matter. I realize that this letter was used to imply that Dr. Marik personally acted deceptively, and falsely reported study data, which was not my intention, and this caused him significant hurt and distress.
I regret this hurt to Dr. Marik. I will inform those who have reported on this complaint that it has been rejected by the journal. Dr. Marik has also indicated to me that some subsequent controlled studies have found some positive outcomes for vitamin C in Sepsis, and I accept this. This statement is not an endorsement of the use of Vitamin C in sepsis.”
As for Marik’s response to being exonerated, he explained:17
“It was highly unprofessional that Kyle went to such lengths to accuse my colleagues and me publicly of academic fraud. I hope that as he gains more experience as a researcher, he will understand that there are protocols in place for questioning the results of research that prevent harming reputations by making baseless accusations in public.”
How Many Lost Their Lives Due to the Unfounded Allegations?
While Marik was ultimately vindicated, much damage has already been done, including to an unknown number of people whose lives were lost because they didn’t receive the HAT protocol for sepsis.
As FLCCC noted, one of the outcomes of Sheldrick’s outspoken allegations on social media was that “medical providers treating patients with severe sepsis became reluctant to use the effective “HAT” Protocol (Hydrocortisone, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine) as outlined in the study.”18
FLCCC published one excerpt from a voicemail it received that they say is “emblematic of the cataclysmic human toll an unconscionable action like Sheldrick’s can take”:19
“In 2022 … in September … when my mother sat in a very reputable hospital, I was laughed at by every single one of her doctors and I mean literally laughed at when I proposed the fact of using the HAT protocol for my mother to stop her sepsis. I can say they basically disparaged Dr. Marik and on top of that, they did not give her the protocol — whereupon days later she died of sepsis.
That’s a lot of damage done since 2017. I feel absolutely incredibly confident about the fact that had the protocol just been given to my mother, so many things would have fallen into place … Do doctors know the difference now?”
Marik Attacked Over Effective Math+ Treatment for COVID-19
The Chest study saga is only the latest affront to Marik’s professional career and reputation. In 2020, Marik developed the MATH+ protocol, which grew out of his HAT protocol for sepsis. The initial MATH+ protocol the FLCCC developed in early 2020 got its name from:
- Intravenous Methylprednisolone
- Intravenous Ascorbic acid
- Thiamine (B1)
- Full dose low molecular weight Heparin
- Plus optional treatments zinc, vitamin D and melatonin
The protocol has since been revised several times as more data became available, including the addition of near-infrared sauna therapy. Additional protocols have also been developed, including one for long COVID and COVID jab injuries. You can find them all on the FLCCC’s website.
In our 2023 interview, Marik explained that when he introduced MATH+ at his hospital’s ICU, COVID mortality was half that of his peers. But the hospital banned the protocol from being used. “The first week I went to work after this ban, I had seven patients with COVID and all seven died because I was basically put in a position that I wasn’t able to treat my patients,” he said.
Marik sued to get MATH+ reinstated, at which point he was put through a sham peer review. The hospital levied fabricated charges against him and his hospital privileges were immediately suspended. He explained:
“What hospitals do to get rid of doctors who are inconvenient to them, or who want to tell the truth, is they basically falsify a number of accusations.
They accused me of seven most outrageous things, including that I was forcing nurses to give patients medications to which they were allergic. Can you imagine something as outrageous as that? I think you would have to be completely moronic to actually think that a doctor could ever do such a thing.
They claimed I was forcing nurses to put the medications down the NG [nasogastric] tube. These were outrageous accusations and there was no documentation. There were no names or patient records or anything to support these claims, and based on these outrageous claims, they suspended my hospital privileges immediately.
I was found guilty. There was no due process. I wasn’t allowed legal representation. They basically stopped me practicing medicine based on these false accusations.
At that time, I didn’t know what was going on but I recognized subsequently, it’s a process called ‘sham peer review,’ where hospitals invent accusations against doctors, and the system is such that because you don’t have due process, you’re assumed to be guilty.”
Clinical Career Cut Short, Contributions to Health Continue
After Marik’s long tenure, the hospital reported him to the National Practitioner Data Bank, which makes it near-impossible to get a medical license again in any state. This effectively ended his clinical career.
“And here I had data to prove that in my ICU, under my care, the mortality was at least half that of my colleagues,” Marik said in our interview. “That was irrelevant. They had to get rid of me because I was challenging the system. Essentially, I was forced to resign because they have enormous power and influence … That essentially ended my career.”
Now, however, Marik is busy researching and developing health protocols using lifestyle modification, diet and repurposed drugs. The vindication his HAT protocol for sepsis received should also help restore this life-saving treatment in the eyes of medical practitioners so it can continue to save lives. As FLCCC put it:20
“The welfare of all humanity is the reason why the FLCCC’s legal effort to bring Sheldrick to account for his conscienceless attack on Paul’s medical integrity — still sterling and unblemished — was essential. It is scurrilous attacks like his that led to yet another patient being tied to the tracks … unable to get out of the way of a speeding bullet train.
Dr. Marik you are one of the world’s most honored, brilliant, and compassionate heroes. This vindication will now rescue hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people today, well into the future and far, far beyond.”