Consumer Health Digest #16-41

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 6, 2016

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.

ACLU blasts restrictive Catholic Hospital policies. The American Civil Liberties Union has published a blistering report about women who were severely harmed by being denied medically necessary care at hospitals that adhere to directives issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report states:

The ACLU Web site has additional information and a full copy of the report.

"Toxic mold" promoter sentenced to prison. Gary J. Ordog, M.D., who pleaded guilty last year to Medicare fraud, has been ordered to pay restitution of $1,295,700 and serve 18 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervision. In addition to treating patients, Ordog has served as an expert witness and issued many reports in support of people who claimed to have been injured by chemicals or mold. In 2005, Forbes magazine reported that "for $9,800 up front (plus $975 an hour), Ordog appeared as an expert witness in lawsuits to testify that mold can cause a terrifying array of diseases, from lung cancer to cirrhosis of the liver." [Dr. Mold: The science may be sketchy, but medical "experts" like Gary Ordog keep litigation alive and kicking. Forbes April 11, 2005] That same year, the Medical Board of California charged him with (a) improperly diagnosing four patients with heavy metal toxicity and/or toxic encephalopathy (brain disease) and (b) falsely claiming to have certain credentials. (For example, he claimed to have co-authored a medical textbook when all he did was help edit part of it.) In 2006, the board suspended his license for 90 days and placed him on 7 years probation, during which time he was not permitted to engage in medicolegal or forensics practice. In 2013, after concluding that he had written four more reports, the board extended his probation for another 18 months. Casewatch has the details of the medical board actions.

Another naturopath touts questionable credentials. Dr. Stephen Barrett has evaluated the offerings of Rebecca Hale, who recently began marketing herself as a "natural health consultant" near his community. [Barrett S. My brief encounter with an unlicensed naturopath. Naturowatch, Nov 6, 2016] Hale's practice is centered around Reams testing, in which saliva and urine pH tests are improperly used as a basis for recommending dietary adjustments and supplement products. In a YouTube video, Hale says she can be trusted because she has a naturopathic diploma, is a Registered Natural Health Practitioner, and is a "Diplomat of Pastoral Medicine" ("D.PSc."). Her diploma came from a non-accredited correspondence school, and the other two designations require no additional study. The "registration" is available to all graduates who apply and pay a fee to the International Association of Natural Health Practitioners. The "D.PSc." is included with membership in the Pastoral Medical Association.

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This page was posted on November 7, 2016.