Consumer Health Digest #12-12
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 5, 2012
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.
Medical groups identifying unnecessary tests. The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation is spearheading a campaign to educate physicians and the general public about unnecessary medical tests. Nine major medical organizations have contributed fact sheets so far, and eight more are expected to do so in the near future. [Rabin RC. Doctor panels recommend fewer tests for patients. New York Times, April 4, 2012] Each group will spotlight five tests. The first lists are posted on the Choosing Wisely Web site.
Montana chelationist has license suspended. The Montana Board of Medical Examiners has suspended the license of Tommatthew T. Thomas, M.D. for failure to cooperate with an investigation of his use of chelation to treat heart disease. Records from the Board state:
- In 2000, the board charged Thomas with treating a patient with mismanaging the care of two patients who died under his care. The case was settled in 2002 with a stipulation under which he served two years of probation.
- In 2002, when another complaint was received, an investigator who visited his office noted that six patients were undergoing intravenous chelation therapy.
- Over a 2-year period, despite many requests, Thomas refused to provide records of these patients.
- After a consultant determined that the patients had received chelation without an appropriate diagnosis of heavy metal toxicity, the board negotiated a settlement agreement with Thomas which he repeatedly agreed to sign but did not do so.
- When it became clear that he would not enter a stipulation, a hearing was held and, in April 2011, he was placed on indefinite suspension until such time that the board determines that he can safely practice medicine.
In 2009, the Montana Board concluded that "chelation therapy has no proven efficacy in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, and in some patients could be injurious." [EDTA chelation for cardiovascular disease. Position paper, May 14, 2009] Quackwatch has additional information about chelation therapy.
British chelationist facing charges. The British Medical Council has begun hearings to determine whether Dr. Jean Anne Monro improperly recommended chelation therapy for a patient. Monro is accused of using an inappropriate test to diagnose lead poisoning, failing to inform the patient's general practitioner about possible complications of chelation therapy, and administering it after learning that the GP had reported her to the Council. The British Medical Journal has reported that Monro has admitted sending normal and provoked urine specimens to a laboratory in the United States and failing to measure the patient's blood lead concentration. [Dyer C. Controversial allergy doctor admits faults in her treatment of a patient with lead poisoning. BMJ, March 26, 2012] Provoked urine testing is not a proper way to determine lead toxicity. The hearings are expected to last about two more weeks.
This page was revised on Apri 18, 2012.