Consumer Health Digest #17-07

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 12, 2017

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.

Lawsuit seeks damages for false Alzheimer's diagnoses. The Toledo Clinic, a multispecialty medical center with 150 doctors and offices throughout Ohio, is being sued by more than 40 people who allege that (a) Sherry-Ann Jenkins, Ph.D., who directed the now-defunct Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center, made fraudulent diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease and (b) the medical center's management failed to take sufficient steps when informed of the problem. In addition to Jenkins and The Toledo Clinic, the defendants include Jenkins's husband, Oliver Jenkins, M.D., and the directors, officers, credentialing offices, radiologists, and neurologists on the clinic staff as "John Doe" defendants. The 128-page lawsuit asserts the following:

The most serious case described in the complaint was that of Gary L. Traynor, whom Sherry-Ann Jenkins falsely diagnosed with Stage 3 (the most severe stage) Alzheimer's disease. The complaint states that Mr. Traynor was "devastated" by this diagnosis and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for each of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs are represented by the Zoll & Kranz law firm of Toledo, Ohio. Quackwatch has additional details about the lawsuit.

Trump urged to support vaccination. Led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 350 national and state-based organizations that represent families, providers, researchers, patients, and consumers have sent a 28-page letter urging President Donald Trump to express their unequivocal support for vaccination. The letter appears to be a response to ignorant statements Trump made during the presidential campaign and his recent meetings with antivaccination advocates Andrew Wakefield and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The letter ended this way:

Claims that vaccines are unsafe when administered according to expert recommendations have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature, including a thorough review by the National Academy of Medicine. . . . Attached to this letter is a non-exhaustive list of studies demonstrating the safety of vaccines. Delaying vaccines only leaves our nation's citizens at risk of disease, particularly children. As a nation we should redouble our efforts to make needed investments in patient and family education about the importance of vaccines in order to increase the rate of vaccination among all populations.

Put simply: Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives. Our organizations welcome the opportunity to meet with you to share the robust, extensive scientific evidence supporting vaccine safety and effectiveness.

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This page was posted on February 13, 2017.