It has been suggested that this article be merged with Tea Party Patriots#America's Frontline Doctors video. (Discuss) Proposed since July 2020.
|Born||1965 (age 54–55)|
|Other names||Stella Gwandiku-Tita, Stella Gwandiku Fondong|
|Alma mater||University of Calabar (MD)|
Stella Gwandiku-Ambe Immanuel (born 1965) is a Cameroonian-American physician, author, and pastor. She emigrated to the United States after completing her medical education in Nigeria, and currently practices at a private clinic in Texas.
In 2020, she received international attention after claiming hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19, and that public health measures such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing are unnecessary. Social media platforms removed her videos and posts for promoting misinformation related to the pandemic.
As the founder of a charismatic religious organization, Fire Power Ministries, she has made various fringe claims about other medical conditions, especially as it relates to human sexuality, including that endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, and sexually transmitted infections are caused by spirit spouses. She has also endorsed a number of conspiracy theories, including the involvement of space aliens and the Illuminati in manipulating society and government.
Early life and education
Stella Gwandiku-Ambe Immanuel was born in 1965 in Cameroon. She recalled an interest in becoming a doctor from the age of four. Immanuel attended Cameroon Protestant College, a secondary school in Bali, Cameroon. She graduated from the Nigerian medical school at the University of Calabar in 1990 and moved to the United States in 1992. Immanuel completed a pediatric residency at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York City.
Immanuel began her career at the Pediatric Clinic in Louisiana. In December 1998, she began practicing at the Southern Pediatric Clinic in Alexandria, Louisiana. In February 1999, she joined the General Pediatric Care Clinic as a pediatrician. In 2006, she owned the Rapha Medical and Therapeutic Clinic in Louisiana. She is a registered physician in Texas with an active medical license from the Texas Medical Board. In 2019, she began working for Houston's Rehoboth Medical Center, which she also owns.
Immanuel is the founder of Fire Power Ministries and host of a radio and television show entitled Fire Power. She is a self-described "wealth transfer coach", and has authored several books as part of her Occupying Force series. She has been an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, and long-time critic of what she views as sexual immorality, including "unmarried couples living together, homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy" and what she calls "homosexual terrorism". According to Concordia University theological studies professor André Gagné, Immanuel's beliefs trace back to African Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement.
A January 2020 medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Immanuel in Louisiana alleged that a 2019 patient died as a result of negligence, from an infection caused by a lodged needle fragment which another doctor subsequently removed. In April 2020, local deputies were unable to serve notice of the suit because Immanuel had moved to Houston, where she set up a new practice in a strip mall.
Medical claims and other claims
Immanuel's medical claims are sometimes combined with her spiritual beliefs: many gynecological illnesses are the result of having sex dreams with succubi and incubi and receiving demon sperm; endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, and sexually transmitted infections are caused by spirit spouses. She asserted in a 2015 sermon that space alien DNA is used in medical treatments and that "reptilian spirits" and other extraterrestrials run the U.S. government. She also said in 2015 that Illuminati are using witches to destroy the world through abortion, gay marriage, children's toys and media (e.g. Harry Potter, Pokémon, Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana). In another 2015 sermon, she said scientists are developing vaccines to stop people from being religious.
On July 27, 2020, Immanuel appeared in a Tea Party Patriots-backed press event by a group known as "America's Frontline Doctors"[a] in front of the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. She claimed she had cured COVID-19 in 350 patients at her clinic using a combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc (a claim not supported by any strong scientific research; no drug has been approved as a specific cure for COVID-19), and that public health measures such as the wearing of facial coverings and social distancing are unnecessary. Republican Representative Ralph Norman from South Carolina attended the event. The far-right Breitbart News website published the press event's video.
The antimalarial medication hydroxychloroquine had previously had its emergency use authorization for COVID-19 removed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which said it had not been proven to be an effective treatment for the virus.
The video was viewed millions of times and retweeted by Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., before it was removed from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube because it broke their rules on misinformation. When asked at a press conference on July 28 why he would trust Immanuel considering the context of her claims about alien DNA and its supposed use in medicine, President Trump defended Immanuel, saying "I thought she was very impressive, in the sense that, from where she came—I don't know what country she comes from—but she said she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her." Pressed further, Trump ended the briefing abruptly.
Immanuel subsequently said "Jesus Christ would destroy Facebook's servers" if the video was not restored, and took to Twitter to accuse tech companies of censorship, in a post that was also subsequently removed from the platform.
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- "Texas Medical Board".
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- Quotations related to Stella Immanuel at Wikiquote