Consumer Health Digest #06-45
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 7, 2006
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.
Killer chelationist facing disciplinary action. Roy Kerry, M.D., who ordered the chelation therapy that killed five-year-old Abubakar Tariq Nadama, has been charged by the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine with unprofessional conduct and breaching the standard of care. The boy, who was autistic, died in July 2005 during his third chelation session at Kerry's Advanced Integrative Medical Center in Portersville, Pennsylvania. The Board's Order to Show Cause why Kerry should not be disciplined includes the following information:
- Kerry diagnosed Tariq with "Autistic Syndrome, Heavy Metal Toxicity, Candidiasis, Multiple Food Allergies."
- The treatment included intravenous injections of disodium EDTA (Endrate) even though Endrate is not FDA-approved for the treatment of heavy metal toxicity. (It is approved only for selected patients for the emergency treatment of dangerously high blood calcium levels and for control of abnormal heart rhythms associated with digitalis toxicity.
- Another doctor at the center injected the Endrate over a 5- to 10-minute period despite the manufacturer's instructions that administration to children should take at least three hours because rapid administration can cause a fatal drop in blood calcium levels.
- Tariq's autopsy showed that his death resulted from brain injury secondary to heart damage caused by a drop in blood calcium levels.
Tariq's treatment was based on the unfounded notion that autism is caused by heavy metal intoxication and can be treated by chelation therapy.
"Delusional" chiropractor loses license. James C. Burda, D.C., of Athens, Ohio, has signed a voluntary license relinquishment that permanently revokes his license to practice chiropractic. The state chiropractic board's announcement states:
- Dr. Burda made up the term "Bahlaqeem" to describe a form of treatment in which he claimed to treat individuals anytime, anywhere, who are not in his presence and without physical contact.
- The Board determined that "Bahlaqeem" is not an acceptable form of treatment according to acceptable and prevailing standards of chiropractic care and constitutes practicing beyond the scope of the practice of chiropractic.
- Dr. Burda is also unable to practice chiropractic according to acceptable and prevailing standards of care due to mental illness, specifically, Delusional Disorder, Grandiose Type.
Burda charged $60 per 24-hour period to use mental vibrations to heal by methods that he christened "Bahlaqeem Vina" and "Bahlaqeem Jaqem." He also claimed to be able to go back in time to the moment a patient had been injured. His Web site, which is is still posted, states:
This is what happens when I get a request to be treated. As soon as I get a request for vina, I think of you, the person to whom the correction is being directed, and then silently ask if you can be treated. This is a request for permission to perform vina and is done before all vina is made. If I do not get a positive answer, I stop and nothing is done at that time. I may ask again and if I get the same response I do not attempt the vina. I will communicate this to you. If, however, after asking permission for vina and a positive response is received, the vina is performed right away.
The diagnostic procedure involves asking questions either out loud or silently as to how different bones are misaligned, twisted, rotated or displaced. Once the diagnosis is completed, the correction is made either by telling the bone to shift to its proper position or by hand-directing it. The vina is performed while thinking about the area that needs to change. This is the gift, which I have been given, my ability to tell the body to make changes.
It does not matter that you call what is being done, vibrational vina or jaqem which includes the previously know maneuver where the bones are forcibly pushed back into proper position by hand or mechanical device. The result is the same: increased activity with less pain and more ability to do things. This technique is brand new and being developed every day and therefore current terms of how bones and joints, are reorganized may not be appropriate. Pain is often the result of joint disorganization and twisted or rotated bones, all of which can be affected by what I can do.
Comment from Dr. Stephen Barrett: Much of chiropractic is based on delusions that spinal misalignments ("subluxations") are the underlying cause of disease and that correcting them can restore health. The Ohio Board's action indicates that chiropractic delusions that are not "standard" or "prevalent" may be unacceptable.
Mercola defies FDA warning . Joseph Mercola, D.O., who operates one of the Internet's largest and busiest health information Web sites, has continued to advertise products with claims that the FDA ordered him to stop. In September 2006, the agency warned him that failure to respond within 15 days might result in a product seizure and/or an injunctive procedure. However, the violative claims are still on his Web site.
This page was posted on November 7, 2006.