California Appeals Court, in Sinaiko Case, Stomps Quackbusters…

The California Medical Board v. Sinaiko case started in 1996, and hasn’t ended yet…

October 6th, 2004

But for some time, for the “quackbusters,” the Sinaiko case, has been the most devastating loss in their history – for with it, during it, and because of it, they lost ALL influence in California.   And worse for them, and good for California, with this case organized conventional medicine in California turned against them.  California is the fifth largest stand alone economy on Planet Earth.

And now, it’s going to get even more devastating.

Seven days ago (September 30th, 2004) the Third California Appellate District issued a decision ordering the Sinaiko case back to the Medical Board saying:

In its next life, this case may raise fascinating issues involving the standard of care when a physician employs alternative therapies for children suffering from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or adults suffering from a wide assortment of hard-to-diagnose symptoms.  But in the writ proceedings now before us, we are presented with a more basic deprivation of due process — the wholesale disqualification of petitioner’s experts.”

The Medical Board that will re-hear this case is ENTIRELY different, both in person, and in philosophy, than the original decision making Board.  In the original Board, the Board’s president was a business colleague of quackbuster crackpot Wallace Sampson MD.

Sampson, you may remember was reputationally dismembered in the NCAHF v. King Bio case when he tried to inflict his pompous-acity on a Los Angeles Superior Court, and then when that worked the opposite way, on a California Appeals Court.  Both Courts labeled Sampson (and Stephen Barrett), in a decision that looks, and feels like it was written by Tim Bolen, as “biased, and unworthy of credibility.”

The Sinaiko case was the catalyst, and the stimulus, organizing the ultra-powerful California Health Freedom Movement.  The accusations against Sinaiko were so appalling, so outrageous, so provoking, that the case itself became the war cry for thousands of health activists who rode the case to much needed changes in California’s health care profile.

But more than that, the Sinaiko case formed alliances between what sometimes seemed like divergent interests.  For instance, in reading the case decision, note that the California Medical Association, the United States’ second largest medical association, wrote an Amicus Curiae IN SUPPORT of Sinaiko, and most definitely AGAINST the patently stupid view of what constitutes standard of care put forth by the medical board attorney, the dubious Alfredo Terrazas.  The decisions says:

Throughout the hearing, the Attorney General attempted to portray petitioner as a “quack” using “unproven” and “dubious” treatments that were not “generally-accepted” by the medical community.  He suggested that any practice method that is not generally accepted falls outside the standard of practice.”

The Sinaiko case, frankly, would make a great movie, for within was some of the finest, albeit uncoreographed, street theater I’ve ever seen.  The “Attorney General” representative in the case, Alfredo Terrazas, was a hoot.  He, literally, (I’m not joking) HISSED when he talked, trying, I think, to sound frightening and intimidating.  He was the one described above in the Appeal decision calling Sinaiko a “quack,” and more.  Terrazas is, now, pushing papers in a an administrative job.

The Sinaiko case had more repercussions for “quackbuster” influence in health care, than any other case I’ve ever been involved in.  The former Medical Board, the one that ruled against Sinaiko, was, literally, entirely replaced, and the California legislature forced the board to accept an “enforcement monitor,” for two years, watching their every move.  More, the new Board was forced, by the legislature, to conduct a two-year study on “alternative medicine,” with the intent of integrating it into mainstream. During the study, the new board adopted rules forcing the Medical Board staff to have any complaint against an “alternative” practitioner examined, first, by another “alternative” practitioner, of exactly the same practice, before the case could could proceed.

The war surrounding the Sinaiko case has had long range effect on California health politics.  Frankly, I’m VERY grateful for the sheer arrogance of the“quackbuster” manipulations on the opposite side, for it worked against them, completely.   About two weeks ago, Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger signed a bill passed unanimously by the California legislature (SB1691), which, in its introductory language says:

“This bill would provide that a physician and surgeon is not subject to discipline for these particular aspects of unprofessional conduct solely on the basis that the treatment or advice he or she rendered to a patient is alternative or complementary medicine, as defined, if specified conditions are satisfied.”

There were more people involved in the Sinaiko case then I could possibly list here, and give credit too, for their efforts.  Most, for reasons of security, I simply would not even mention.  But three of them need acclaim.  Frank Cuny, for instance, at California Citizens for Health, spends every day of his life protecting and promoting innovation in health care for Californians – and, as you can see, the results are impressive.  Shula Edelkind and Coleen Smethers, of the Progress in Medicine Foundation,  besides organizing the basic strategy and tactics surrounding the Sinaiko case, raised over $500,000 for Sinaiko’s defense.  Go to the“Appeal” page on their website and read the astounding number of “Amicus Curiae” (friend of the court) briefs filed by top California and US organizations on Sinaiko’s behalf.

The Sinaiko case is a prime example of what can be accomplished by a citizen’s group if the can get motivated and organized.

Crackpot Stephen Barrett says on his weirdo website, about the appeal decision, “I still believe that his license will eventually be revoked.”

And the moon is made of green cheese, Stevie…

Stay tuned…

Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate