ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: Patients Protest Medical Board Discipline
Nearly 100 "followers of the growing alternative medicine movement" showed up Saturday at the California Medical Board's quarterly meeting in Santa Ana, the Ora nge County Register reports. Many of the activists came to defend Dr. Ronald Wempen, "an Irvine physician whom the medical board says was negligent and incompetent" but whose followers contend is "under attack." The dozens of protesters "said they will follow the board from meeting to meeting this year and work for legislation because a larger issue is at stake: their right to doctors who provide so-called unproven treatments in the country's incubator of unconventional ideas -- California." Frank Cuny, one of the activists, said, "This is a health-freedom movement -- just like there was a civil rights movement." Medical Board Executive Director Ron Joseph insisted the board "is not targeting alternative-medicine doctors," but said that Wempen failed to run adequate tests on one of his patients, instead "ordering her to take minerals." Wempen's supporters have "been working for three weeks gathering testimony," and plan to raise $100,000 for his defense. Joseph said "board members will discuss patients' concerns but that they will never promise to look the other way when an alternative practitioner -- or any other type of doctor -- practices in a way that harms or has the potential to harm patients." The Register reports that the medical board will hold a hearing in April to decide whether to revoke Wempen's medical license (Kowalczyk, 2/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.