A Chicago doctor’s suicide note suggests he may have forged vaccination records.
Dr. Van Koinis, who died by suicide last September, left a note detailing his regret, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday, though officials say his note was “cryptic.”
Officers investigating the death of the 58-year-old pediatrician say he may have fabricated vaccination records, allowing children of anti-vaccine parents to go to school unvaccinated.
Illinois law requires students to provide proof of immunization to be allowed to attend. Until recently, parents were able to exempt their children from this requirement under medical or religious reasons, according to the Ankin Law Office.
“He was incredibly regretful for what he did and it was the only thing he mentioned in the suicide note. It was this and only this,” Chicago Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told CBS.
Though Dart said nothing in Koinis’ final words indicated that he had gone against parents’ wishes, it’s possible some kids who came in for vaccinations went without.
“The biggest issue is parents who are under the impression their children are immunized when they are not,” Dart told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Koinis garnered a good reputation among “anti-vaxxers” — a term used to describe individuals against vaccination — because of his love for homeopathic remedies, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The late doctor was first reported missing in August, and was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a forest outside of the city in September, the Tribune said.
In his note, Koinis said that he’d become “averse” to vaccinations in the last decade of his career, but regretted his conduct.
“My heart is broken. I am devastated,” one person wrote on Facebook at the time of his death. “My children and I love him so much. He is like a part of our family.”
Another person commented: “Both my children were his patients. I’m so lost for words.”
Per the Tribune, Koinis was never disciplined by a regulatory board during his three decades in practice.
A state agency, the publication reports, may have been investigating a complaint against him, but there is no indication Koinis was aware of it at the time of his death.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.