Consumer Health Digest #10-32

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 12, 2010

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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.

Public Citizen criticizes medical board disciplinary actions. Public Citizen has updated its ranking of state medical and osteopathic boards which is largely based on the number of serious disciplinary actions (revocations, surrenders, suspensions and probation/restrictions per 1,000 doctors) from 2007 through 2009. The top five were Alaska (7.89 serious actions per 1,000 physicians), North Dakota (6.01), Kentucky (5.67), Ohio (5.43), and Arizona (5.20). The bottom five were Minnesota (1.07), South Carolina (1.09), Wisconsin (1.59), New Hampshire (1.65), and Connecticut (1.80). The report concludes:

Most states are not living up to their obligations to protect patients from doctors who are practicing medicine in a substandard manner. . . . Action must . . . be taken, legislatively and through pressure on the medical boards themselves, to increase the amount of discipline and, thus, the amount of patient protection. Without adequate legislative oversight, many medical boards will continue to perform poorly.

The full report, Ranking of State Medical Boards' Serious Disciplinary Actions: 2007-2009, plus similar reports that cover back to 1998, is posted on Public Citizen's Web site.

Leading quack device expert dies. Robert W. ("Bob") McCoy, 83, died on May 23rd after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease. A hobby printer and mechanical wizard, he founded and for many years maintained the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, which is now located at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Some of his findings remain on the Web. Many more are reported in his book Quack!: Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices.

Old chiropractic books posted. Chirobase has posted complete copies of three chiropractic textbooks plus a 1922 catalog from the Palmer College of Chiropractic. All four illustrate the grandiose claims made by chiropractic's developers.


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This page was revised on August 14, 2010.