Consumer Health Digest #12-27

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 9, 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.

David Geier fined for practicing medicine without a license. The Maryland State Board of Physicians has fined David A. Geier $10,000 for practicing medicine without a license. Geier and his father, Mark R. Geier, M.D., operate a chain of clinics that offer dubious treatments to autistic children. Last year, the board summarily suspended Dr. Geier's medical license. The emergency suspension order stated that he had misrepresented his credentials, operated an institutional review board that did not meet state and federal regulations, and rendered substandard care to nine autistic patients. In six of the patients, the board charged, he inappropriately diagnosed precocious puberty (a rare condition) and administered Lupron, a drug that reduces the body's production of the male hormone testosterone and is used to castrate sex offenders. In three of the patients, he administered inappropriate chelation therapy. The emergency order was subsequently upheld and nine other states in which he was licensed suspended his license pending resolution of the Maryland charges. In 2012, Maryland charged Dr. Geier with violating its emergency suspension order. The charges against David were related to his dealings with a mother who sought services for her child.

Notice of error: Andrew Weil, M.D., founded and contributes money to the Weil Foundation for Integrative Medicine, a nonprofit organization based in Arizona. On August 11, 2012, I mistakenly criticized Weil based on information in tax returns from the Weil Foundation of Fairfax, Virginia, an unrelated organization. In response to notification from a reader, I have removed my critical comments and regret the error -- Stephen Barrett, M.D.

De-licensed psychologist loses malpractice suit. A woman who charged that psychologist Julian Metter, Ph.D., had improperly drugged her with carbon dioxide has received a $16.5 jury award. Among other things, the suit charged that Metter had manipulated her to falsely believe that she had been raped by family members. [Carroll M. Jury awards $16.5 million in State College suit. Centre Daily Times, Feb 17, 2012] In 2009, he pleaded guilty after being charged with billing Medicare for more than $50,000 for approximately 200 psychotherapy sessions at his office in Centre County on dates that he could not have met with and treated patients. The court ordered him to pay restitution of $13,423 and to serve 5 months in prison followed by 2 years of supervised release. Following the plea, he entered a consent agreement and order with the Pennsylvania State Board of Psychology under which he permanently surrendered his psychology license. The consent agreement indicates that the board had evidence that he displayed "gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct" and "provided services outside the scope of his license to practice psychology," both generally and in his management of two families. The oddball treatments he offered include carbon dioxide therapy, craniosacral therapy, neurotherapy, quantum energy rebalancing, thymus stimulation, and about 20 others.

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This page was posted on August 13, 2012.