Things are fermenting in the cheese State.
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
The State of Wisconsin is taking positive steps to rid itself of the influence of the quackusters. Yesterday, Governor James Doyle’s appointee, Donsia Strong Hill, Secretary of the Department of Regulation & Licensing (DORL) announced the reversal, by her office, of a decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) under her command.
James Polewski, a DORL prosecutor, had attacked a licensed Nurse practitioner, Barbara Lemke, with “practicing medicine without a license” for engaging in the practice of NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique). Polewski, in a deposition, was forced to admit under oath, that he was in fact, a member of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) and a Skeptic.
Polewski, who had been unable to convince the Wisconsin Medical Board to prosecute Lemke, had never-the-less, in typical quackbuster obsessive fashion, gotten a DORL colleague, and ALJ, to rule that Lemke should be ordered to stop practicing NAET. Lemke appealed to DORL management.
Two weeks ago, on July 15th and 16th, DORL Secretary Strong Hill’s top assistant sat through the trial (cross-examination) of NCAHF’ s president, hair removal specialist Robert Baratz of Braintree, Massachusetts. Strong Hill was seen talking to her assistant in the hallway outside the hearing room on more than one occasion during the hearing. Polewski, also, was seen several times outside the hearing room, with a dismal look on his face during the hearing. Polewski’s office is nowhere near the hearing room. Baratz was so humiliated, during the hearing process, about his credibility, that the Judge stopped the hearing process at the end of the first day, gave the attorneys a half day to wrap up, and forced both sides to negotiate a settlement.
Baratz, during the hearing, admitted that he had run into two separate stopped vehicles, allegedly while jogging, and had proceeded with actions against the vehicle’s owners. In the last incident, occurring in about 1991, Baratz claimed to have been running “30 miles an hour” and ran into a car that had turned into a parking lot in front of him. Baratz, after screaming at the driver, watched the 74 year old man drive to the far end of the parking lot. Baratz called the police, demanding that the driver be arrested – and the police refused. Baratz then went to a magistrate making the same demand – the magistrate refused. Baratz then went to the District Attorney with the demand – the District Attorney refused. Baratz then sued the man – and three years later, after a jury trial and nine minutes of jury deliberation, Baratz lost his case.
Coincidentally, the injuries Baratz claimed to his left arm from the alleged person-car accident, were remarkably similar to those he claimed were inflicted on him by 72 year old Florence Wilson MD, in 1998, before his termination at Harbor Medical Center. Baratz, had also claimed in his lawsuit,against the man, that he (Baratz) had lost his sexual capacity.
Judge Schweitzer, in the Wisconsin case, had ruled to withhold the disciplinary letters by Harbor Medical written to Baratz from the medical board record as “too prejudicial.” The set of letters (I have copies) included one letter detailing Baratz’s sexual harrassment of a female employee under his control and the disciplinary action given to Baratz. Baratz’s employment was terminated one month later.
But Wisconsin Leaders Are Paying Attention…
Wisconsin State Senator and Representative Sheryl Albers had said the other day “According to the NCAHF’s 2001 tax return, the non-profit organization reported just $17,967 in contributions, including $13,000 from one individual. “No matter how big or grand it tries to appear on paper, this organization is hardly a major player in the medical field”
“As taxpayers, we are outraged that a person with such a questionable record has soaked us to the tune of $50,000,” Schultz added. “We’re paying $50,000 to fly in some character from Boston who has entire websites devoted to questioning his expertise. Sounds to me like a bad investment of our tax dollars.”
What happens next?
Nurse Barbara Lemke is looking to get her attorney fees back. She’s looking real hard at the quackbusters. It seems that Polewski has claimed that he was relying on the expert opinion of a secret witness he hasn’t yet named. Lemke’s petitioning DORL upper management for the name of that person.
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate