California “Sinaiko” Case:  The “Quackbuster’s” Breaking Point…

April 4th, 2005

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen


For years the “quackbuster”  attacks against innovative health practitioners were handled, by health activists, in the “defense” mode.  The California “Sinaiko” case was the turning point.

The reason:  the “quackbusters”  had won so many battles, and had caused so many problems for innovative health practitioners since the “Plan of ’96” took effect, that they were arrogant beyond belief.

That was their downfall.  Because of that, they not only lost the Sinaiko case, they lost California – and the tide turned nationwide.

Below, I’ve copied a letter I just got from Bob Sinaiko MD, thanking me, and the HUGE group of supporters that found the circumstances surrounding Bob Sinaiko’s case to be APPALLING – and decided to band together to do something about this horrible abuse of the North American system.

For good reason, Bob forgot to thank the “quackbusters.  It would seem odd to thank those that attacked you, but in the case of the “quackbusters”, because of the results, credit should be given where credit is due. It was their arrogance that did them in.

Arrogant?  Oh yeah.  When this case started the “quackbusters”  thought they were the cat’s meow.  They’d just come out of the Chicago FSMB convention where the “Plan of ’96”  was hatched – and they were riding high.

As an example of how much power they had in California, a business associate of quackpot Wallace Sampson was a member of the Medical Board.  In a hearing, the (then) Medical Board, in a seemingly childish glee, declared that Sinaiko’s chief witness, recently retired as the Assistant Secretary of Health, Phil Lee MD,“was not credible.”  Dr. Lee, shortly thereafter, took a job with new governor Gray Davis, as his primary health advisor, and picked a new Board to replace the old one.

Also, the Medical Board, and corrupt staff, ignored, and derided,  the Amicus Brief (Friend of the Court Brief) filed by the Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL), the group that WROTE the Medical Practice Act in California.  They did the same for the rest of the Amicus Briefs.

Their sheer, unadulterated arrogance worked for us, not for them.  We won.

Read Bob’s letter…

Dear Tim,

As you know by now, I have good news to share.  While I’ll let that letter speak for itself, I want you to know what a debt of gratitude I and my family owe you.  Tim, your help throughout this ordeal was so helpful.  Without people like you, this good news simply wouldn’t be.  The sustenance we gained from the support you gave us has touched me deeply and I am grateful.

Read on, and enjoy the fruits of our labor!


And then…

Dear Friends,

After a dozen years of fighting the Medical Board, I am pleased to write and let you know that as of February 17, 2005, the entire action against me has been dropped. If you go to the official web site of the Board or of the national registry, my medical license is, at long last, clear and in good standing.  Period.   It’s over.

I and my family could not have withstood over a decade of fighting this injustice had it not been literally for the hundreds of friends, patients, and advocates, all of whom were at our side. We owe thanks to so many.  To Shula Edelkind and Colleen Smethers, thank you for your indefatigable work to raise the medical defense fund. 

To the Children’s Advocacy Institute, the California Medical Association, Disability Rights Advocates, the Center for the Science in the Public Interest, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and the American Association for Health Freedom, we thank you for your role as amici curiae.  It made the difference, we know. 

To Frank Cuny and his grassroots band of warriors, California Citizens for Health Freedom, we thank you for being there time and again, before the board as well as with lawmakers.  To those of you, friends, patients and strangers, who gave money, emotional support, strategic advice, we thank all of you, for your loyalty and your belief in the rights of patients and doctors to work together to find safe and effective treatments for complicated conditions such as ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity.

It’s just possible that the Medical Board now knows, thanks to the fight we waged together, that it can no longer afford to recklessly prosecute doctors who use safe treatments that are supported by clinical observation, emerging scientific literature, and informed patient consent, just because those doctors are not in the majority.

We were also blessed with excellent legal counsel along the way, including most recently, the terrific representation of Dennis Riordan and Dylan Shaffer, who prevailed for us in the Court of Appeal, helping us set the stage for this final settlement.  Their skill speaks for itself.  But numbers also tell a story. 

Recent data compiled by the Center for Public Interest Law show that we beat the odds.  Only 5 out of 75 petitions for reconsideration are granted by the Medical Board.  Our case was one of them.  For the past 3 years, at the appellate level, only 2 out of 19 prevailed against the board.  We did, and we won big.

The Court of Appeal, in particular, noted that the Medical Board – in violation of my due process rights and establishing a precedent that will protect all doctors and their patients  —  had chosen to disregard, completely, the testimony of a number of prestigious medical experts who appeared at my original hearing. 

We thank you, all of you, who were there at in those dark days back in 1998:  Phil Lee, Vince Marinkovich, Henrik Blum, Glenn Elliott, Fred Blackwell, Carol Jessop, Jack Pulec, Deborah Sedberry, and Jeffrey Silvers.  Your collective professional integrity could, ultimately, not be ignored.  Many patients came forward as well, and we thank you.  There, too, we had excellent legal counsel, Nancy Cahill, Judy Moore.  Dick Turner took over where they left off, and we are grateful to him as well.  While never our counsel, e bob wallach was a constant advisor and friend who gave us hope and direction when we could have so easily faltered.

So, what is next for me as a doctor?  I look forward to a time of figuring that out.  As ever, I have a huge passion for working with children, especially children with ADHD and autism.  Scientific rigor has always been at the core of my practice, and research also appeals.  But, until I know what my options are – and only time will tell how much damage has been done to my reputation that can never be undone – I cannot say for sure.

But, life feels better, oh so much better.  Lois and I, as well as Olivia and John, will look back at this chapter with bittersweet feelings, knowing it never should have happened, but also aware that we learned so much about friendship, about principles, about tenacity that cannot be quantified or ever forgotten.

We remain gratefully yours,

Robert J. Sinaiko, M.D.

We are heading for a health care “Nuremberg…”  And, it’s about time…

Stay tuned…

Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate