Liz is a protective mother who—amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and mass vaccination campaign now focused on children—fiercely looks out for her son’s best interests. On Oct. 20, Liz took her sophomore son to the RediMed Urgent Care clinic located at 315 E. Cook Road in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. While there, the treatment she and her son endured from Dr. Julie Stark is disturbing.
In an exclusive interview, UncoverDC spoke to Liz about her alarming experience at RediMed. We found her to be a sensible and extremely reasonable woman who is without question a compassionate and well-informed mom.
Liz and her son went to RediMed last Wednesday because, like clockwork, her son was not feeling well due to the seasonal allergies he experiences each fall. Upon arrival at the clinic, a nurse immediately suggested he take a COVID test, stating his school would want the results. Liz informed the nurse that the school had made no such request and, sure her son had a sinus infection, asked the clinic to go ahead and examine him to confirm.
Liz explained that the nurse, who was listening to Liz as one should expect of health care provider with a parent, suggested that if it turns out her son did not have a sinus infection, they would have to wait another twenty minutes for him to get tested for COVID. Still, Liz said “no thanks” to the second suggestion of a COVID test for her son, and the nurse replied, “OK, less work for me!” and left the room.
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the clinic then diagnosed Liz’s son with a sinus infection, ear infection, and bronchitis. Liz and the NP discussed the antibiotic she would prescribe him (augmentin). The NP also suggested her son get a COVID test while there, stating she couldn’t rule it out. Again, Liz—who didn’t want something shoved up her son’s nose and knew the treatment wouldn’t change even if he did have COVID—replied, “no thanks, I don’t think it is necessary for him to be tested at this point with having three infections.” The NP replied, “OK,” and left the room to get their paperwork and prescription so Liz and her son could go.
About two minutes later, Dr. Julie Stark barged into the examining room. Dr. Stark informed Liz that the NP “didn’t know the rules.” At this point, Liz was not aware that the health care provider Dr. Stark accused of not knowing the rules was an NP. Dr. Stark continued, explaining that—according to their policy—to get a school note for her son, Liz HAD to submit him to a COVID test. For the third time, Liz responded “no thank you” to the test. She explained to Dr. Stark that her son had just been diagnosed with three infections and simply needed the antibiotics he’d been prescribed. At this point, Liz said Dr. Stark denounced her, saying she “was stupid, wasn’t a doctor, and needed to go to school.”
Frustrated, Liz reminded Dr. Stark, “your doctor just diagnosed him with all three of these infections.” Dr. Stark rebuked that a NP, not a doctor, had diagnosed Liz’s son. Dr. Stark proceeded to tell Liz that she had two choices—get her son tested for COVID or leave the clinic. In disbelief, Liz asked Dr. Stark, “Are you saying you won’t treat my son unless I make him take a COVID test!?” Dr. Stark, refusing to treat Liz’s son, replied, “Yes, you need to leave.” Liz explained to UncoverDC her exasperation surrounding the situation:
“So it started out as a school note. And then, what I had said to them is, that’s fine, I don’t need the school note. There’s no reason to test my son. At that point, his school was not asking me for a test for him to go back to school. So what I continually told them was that I wanted to wait to get him tested. At that point, since they were pushing getting the test so much, I’m like, no, I’m not letting you test him.
If it’s a requirement for school, then I can make that decision later. But right now, I’m not doing that. So, that’s when Dr. Stark said, no, you have to get a test, or we are not going to treat him.”
Immediately realizing “nobody is going to believe this happened,” Liz began filming the situation. The video below starts at the moment Dr. Stark informed Liz that she and her son needed to leave and walked away. Liz remarked that at the beginning of the video, Dr. Stark says something that sounds like “he needs a vaccine,” but it isn’t audible.
As seen in the video, Dr. Stark tried to grab Liz’s phone and threatened to call 911. Liz left the clinic and called the police, who went and spoke to Dr. Stark. Liz explained:
“So I called the police, they went and talked to her, and she was trying to get me banned from their facility forever. The police officers told her, no, no, we can’t do that. And we’re not going to do that. And then the police officer came and talked to me. He said our stories matched up except for the fact that she tried to deny grabbing my phone.
The police officers told me they’re not going to drag her to jail for grabbing my phone. I said, okay, I don’t want her to go to jail, but I at least want a record of it.”
After giving Liz the case-control number, the Ft. Wayne police officers informed her she could go to the prosecuting attorney and press charges against Dr. Stark if she felt so inclined. She indicated she didn’t. Still, with her insurance billed by RediMed for their visit but no paperwork or prescription in hand, the officers advised Liz to call another local RediMed to get her records. Affiliated with Lutheran Health Physicians, the clinics are linked together.
Liz spoke to a “phenomenal” lady at the clinic on Jefferson Blvd., who shared her story with someone named Kelly in the regional office upstairs in the same building as the clinic. Kelly called Liz and apologized for her experience, explaining it should have never happened. Kelly, who asked Liz to remove her post on Facebook about the encounter, indicated they would do everything possible to get Liz her son’s prescription. Nonetheless, knowing he needed antibiotics, Liz informed Kelly she had made an appointment with their family physician as a backup. However, having already been billed for a visit and prescription, she hoped to promptly receive the paperwork from RediMed.
Finally, Liz told UncoverDC that as she was about to leave for the other appointment, she received a phone call from RediMed’s regional director, who apologized repeatedly for her experience. She explained:
“A guy called me, and he is the regional director. He was apologizing, apologizing, saying that it is definitely not their policy. They have no such policy regarding this. That basically, she was kind of doing whatever she wanted to do.
He said to me that she is a good doctor, but she’s got a lot going on right now! I said, I’m sorry, but I don’t care. She’s here to do a job. Well, actually, she wasn’t even there to do that job. The nurse practitioner was. There was no reason for her to even come in the room.”
— Michelle (@michellesouth1) October 23, 2021
In an added twist, Liz shared that it has “come to light” that Dr. Stark’s children go to the same school as Liz’s children. Liz explained that for months she has been active at every school board meeting, pushing for the unmasking of kids. Liz elaborated, telling UncoverDC:
“So apparently, so this is what I’m finding out. This is coming to light. Her children go to the same school as my children. She knew that because the clinic asked me what school my son attends. I go to all the school board meetings because I’m very involved in the fight for unmasking our children.
Our school district is currently masked. Mandated. I am in the fight for it. I’m at every board meeting. I’m protesting. I’m pretty prevalent right now with all of that. Have I ever noticed her [Dr. Stark]? No, but these people wear masks and scrubs and things when they come to the school board meetings. Some of them wear four masks and a face shield.”
Indeed, after Liz posted the video of Dr. Stark on Facebook, several people that saw it said to her, “Oh my Gosh, that’s the chick that came up to us when we were protesting and was screaming in the faces of the protestors that were for unmasking children.” Liz revealed that Dr. Stark was screaming in the face of parents to the point where police officers at the protest had to tell her to leave.
Describing the RediMed experience as “the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life,” Liz still doesn’t understand why Dr. Stark came into the examining room and interjected herself after her son had already been treated and they were about to leave. The NP (who is sitting next to Dr. Stark in the video) had done her job and was wrapping up the appointment. Perplexed, Liz concluded:
“So the interesting part to me is, did she recognize me from the board meetings? If so, she would obviously know that my son went to the same school as her kids. Did she just refuse it because she knew my views and was like, hell no, because you don’t think the same way I do?”