BMJ 2004;329:1066 (6 November) Doctors who offered "magic potions" found guilty of serious professional misconduct London Owen Dyer Two doctors accused of seducing cancer patients away from conventional treatments with a cocktail of potentially dangerous "magic potions" were this week found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council. Dr Paul Layman was suspended for a year, AND his junior medical adviser, Dr Jason Schreiber, had conditions imposed on his registration for 18 months. During that period he may work only at an NHS hospital under a mentor. The two men offered a range of unproved complementary medicines at the private Brackendene Clinic, Wiltshire, the GMCs Professional Conduct Committee heard. They also gave patients information packs that were found to be misleading, anecdotal, AND biased against conventional treatment. The clinic has since closed. The case came to the GMC because a Scottish patient with breast cancer, referred to as Mrs X, abandoned a string of appointments arranged by her GP, Dr Ruth Nisbet of Kelso, after becoming a patient of the clinic. Dr Nisbet became alarmed when the clinic failed to reply to letters asking for details of Mrs Xs treatment. When Mrs Xs condition was diagnosed in December 2002, Dr Nisbet referred her to two different specialists, who told her she would need a mastectomy. But shortly afterwards Mrs X read articles in the local newspaper describing the Brackendene Clinics metabolic treatments, AND she contacted Drs Layman AND Schreiber. The two doctors recommended a vegan diet, vitamin supplements, pancreatic enzymes, AND apricot kernels. In the months after beginning treatment at the Brackendene Clinic, Mrs X cancelled three surgery appointments, said Fiona Horlick, counsel for the GMC. Professor Edward Ernst, chair of complimentary medicine at the University of Exeter, said he had heard anecdotal reports that the cyanide in apricot kernels selectively attacked cancer cells but that no scientific evidence existed to support the theory. He said the claims made by the clinic were "naive AND not medically sound," adding that Mrs Xs regimen of up to 60 kernels a day could potentially cause coma OR death. Dr Layman told the hearing that he had learned of the treatment during a visit to an alternative treatment clinic in Mexico. "No approach was ever made to Mrs Xs doctors to find out what diagnosis had been made AND what treatment she was having," said Ms Horlick. Dr Layman told the hearing that many of his patients did not want their GP to know they were seeking alternative treatment. "Confidentiality is paramount," he said. Both doctors admitted that information they provided on a website AND in a patient information pack was misleading, anecdotal, AND failed to alert patients to potential side effects. They denied that it was biased against conventional treatment, but they failed to convince the committee of this. The committees chairman, Professor Michael Whitehouse, said: "The information contained in the clinics documentation was presented in such a way that patients without medical knowledge would be likely to understand that the treatments recommended were scientifically proven."
פורום זה מומלץ לחולים לשלב את הטיפולים ברפואה אלטרנטיבית-משלימה עם טיפולים קונבנציונלים ולא לעזוב את הטיפולים הקונבנציונליים אלא אם כן אין כבר אופציות טיפוליות בעלות סיכוי סביר בבית החולים. לכן הכתבה שהבאת כאן אינה רלבנטית. דעתי שלי היא שברוב המקרים רפואה קונבצניונלית אינה מספיק יעילה ויש לשלב עמה שיטות נוספות. בהיפוך למה שהבאת למעלה, יכול להיות שבעתיד ישפטו אלה שימנעו מהחולים שלהם את הגישה לטיפולים ברפואה משלימה מעבר לאלה שברפואה הרגליה. ד"ר יוסף ברנר