Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mark Geier On His Last Leg

Dr. Mark Robin Geier, about whom I've written about quite a bit, just can't get a break. Geier is the physician who, after reading a single lab study showing that mercury binds with testosterone when in a hot benzene environment (blogger Prometheus has a good write-up of this), thought that this explained how to treat autism. At the time Geier and his son, David (who has gotten in trouble for pretending to be a doctor), latched onto the two ideas that the mercury in thimerosal and testosterone played a role in autism causation. The former is now discredited, after numerous studies comparing autism rates in children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines and those who did not, as well as failed court cases based on this idea. The latter does have some validity to it, but only insofar as the fetus is exposed to high concentrations of testosterone in the womb. The way Geier, père et fils, decided they could treat autism based on this study that bears no resemblance to the environment of the human body, was to use the chemical castrating drug Lupron to lower testosterone levels in kids, followed by dosing with chelating drugs to remove mercury.

It was this treatment protocol that got the Geiers into trouble, first in Maryland. Dr. Geier was found to have been misdiagnosing autistic children with precocious puberty so he could get insurance companies to pay for his treatment, which also happens to be in violation of FDA regulations. Lupron is not approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of autism, so his spurious precocious puberty diagnoses got around this, as well. At any rate, this protocol, among other problems with how he ran his clinic, resulted in his license being suspended. The investigation also turned up that his son, David, practiced medicine without a license by making diagnoses and prescribing various tests and procedures to patients. The original suspension led to nearly every other state in which Mark Geier was licensed to suspend his licenses. Then in September and October ofearlier this year, Maryland, Indiana and Washington went beyond suspension and permanently revoked his license. Hawaii, Illinois and Missouri, however, have been dragging their feet.

Until now.

On Friday, November 2, 2012, the Missouri Board of Healing Arts revoked Mark Geier's license. According to the order revoking his license, notice was sent to Geier's attorney, James Love, that a hearing was scheduled for October 19. Love responded that neither he nor Dr. Geier would appear at the hearing. The complaint against Geier, filed by counsel for the Board of Healing Arts, cites Missouri law (§334-103.1) stating that:
A license issued under this chapter by the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts shall be automatically revoked at such time as the final trial proceedings are concluded whereby a licensee has been adjudicated and found guilty, or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, in a felony criminal prosecution under the laws of the state of Missouri, the laws of any other state, or the laws of the United States of America for any offense reasonably related to the qualifications, functions or duties of their profession, or for any felony offense involving fraud, dishonesty or an act of violence, or for any felony offense involving moral turpitude, whether or not sentence is imposed, or, upon the final and unconditional revocation of the license to practice their profession in another state or territory upon grounds for which revocation is authorized in this state following a review of the record of the proceedings and upon a formal motion of the state board of registration for the healing arts. The license of any such licensee shall be automatically reinstated if the conviction or the revocation is ultimately set aside upon final appeal in any court of competent jurisdiction.
The revocation of his licenses in Indiana and Maryland were found to be grounds for revocation of his Missouri license. Since Geier and his attorney declined to appear before the board to offer any defense, the board entered judgment against Geier, determining that "this order is necessary to ensure protect the public". Missouri law, however, limits the duration of any such action to a maximum of seven years, after which time, Geier could potentially apply to have his license reinstated.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that he has also lost his license in Illinois, but I was unable to confirm this on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's web site, which still lists his licenses as active. If his license there really has been suspended, as well, that only leaves Hawaii, where a complaint has also been filed against him.

Dr. Geier is on his last leg. The only question remaining is when Hawaii will act to remove his license.
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