In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Doc who harms no one is punished, but docs who killed can practice.

Posted by seumasach on May 17, 2010

Heidi Stevenson

Gaia Health

12th May, 2010

In typical hubristic fashion, the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) has stripped Dr. Sarah Myhill of many of the functions required to care for her patients, while allowing doctors who have killed patients with sloppiness, lies, and egregious errors to continue in practice. She harmed no one, and no such accusation was made. Not a single patient has complained.

The more I look at this case, the more clear it becomes that Dr. Myhill is being persecuted for holding views outside mainstream corrupt medicine. She is not a full supporter of vaccinations. Pharmaceuticals are not the first thing she considers in treatment. She thinks about what she does, rather than following the party line. Those are unacceptable qualities in modern medicine, and any doctor, no matter how well qualified, can expect to be punished for them.

Doctors Who’ve Killed Are Allowed to Continue Practice.

Dr. Myhill practices conservative medicine. As her website states, her goal is “Empowering you to recover your health”.

While she effectively loses her license to practice, the GMC has allowed other doctors who have killed patients to continue. Here are three cases:

  • Andrew Hall, who cut through the windpipe of Beryl Walters, pictured to the right. He chose to do the surgery using an experimental technique that he’d read about while in the army and had never done before. He did not inform her that he’d be doing it and didn’t let her know the risks involved. When it became obvious that Mrs. Walters was not doing well and getting worse, he ignored the complications. Even after tests showed that air was collecting outside her lungs, he refused to seek advice or take any steps to correct the damage.Mrs. Walters died of both the botched experimental surgery and Hall’s refusal to take appropriate steps to help her over a month-long period during which she deteriorated, but might have been saved.

    Andrew Hall is still practicing.

  • Dr. Nigel Heaton and his Kings College surgical team went to India to do a procedure that was not approved by the NHS, a live adult to live adult liver transplant. Rather than waiting for a viable donor, they encouraged the wife of a man with liver disease to donate part of her liver. Apparently, they didn’t clarify the risks, but painted a rosy picture, saying that her liver would grow back within two weeks. Instead, she end up on life support. Her husband died of sepsis two weeks after the transplant.Neither the wife nor the rest of the family were informed that about 1 in every 100 donors dies. They were also not informed that Heaton and his team were not experienced in live-adult-to-adult liver transplants or that they’re more dangerous than adult-to-child transplants.

    In spite of having concrete evidence of wrongdoing, as the BBC filmed the procedure, the GMC did not take any action against Heaton. The GMC did not even bother to investigate.

    On another occasion, Heaton transplanted a liver into a private patient from a middle eastern state, rather than a British child on the NHS. This runs contrary to NHS rules, which require that NHS patients have the first option on donor organs. In spite of the fury of other doctors, the GMC hasn’t even looked at the incident.

  • Dr. Jane Barton overdosed patients with opiates. One witness stated that it was to keep them quiet.At least 12 of her patients died from the treatment, and as many as 100 may have.

    The GMC decided that her previous 10 years without a known problem and the support of 200 patients were taken into account in allowing her to continue to practice without limitations, though they found her guilty of serious professional misconduct.

    In contrast, more than 800 letters from the patients of Dr. Myhill were considered of no value, and her nearly 30 years of practice without problem were considered irrelevant.

The Complaints Against Dr. Myhill

Two accusations were made against Dr. Myhill. One was by another GP group, who complained she recommended that a patient be given Vitamin B12 injections to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. This was not a recommendation made to the patient.

The other accusation was made anonymously. He posted on the website, Bad Science, stating that he’d made the current complaint. The level of humor exhibited by the complainant is prepubescent, as exemplified by his comment in his discussions of the issue on Bad Science, “Those who live in glass houses should masturbate in the basement.”

Please note the the previous paragraph has been modified to reflect more accurate information. It previously stated that a standup comic had made the accusation. Rather, the complainer had quoted the comic.

Not a single patient has complained about Dr. Myhill’s practice. In fact, more than 800 of her patients sent letters to the GMC supporting her. Many of them are fearful at losing her services, as she is the only doctor who has helped them.

Dr. Myhill’s Punishment for Providing Patients with Genuine Help

There is no sense in the restrictions placed on Dr. Myhill’s practice. She was criticized for recommending to another GP that Vitamin B12 injections be given to a patient, yet her ability to prescribe anything from the British National Formulary was circumscribed.

It’s rather puzzling, but the fact is that no findings against Dr. Myhill were made. Nonetheless, they determined that “it is necessary for the protection of members of the public and in the public interest to make an order imposing…interim conditions on [Dr. Sarah Myhill] for a period of 18 months.” These include:

  • Loss of ability to prescribe any prescription medication.
  • Removal of several pages of information from her website, including any related to cardiovascular disease, asthma, breast cancer, hormonal contraceptives, pharmacological management of vascular disease, immunization, and vaccination.
  • Approval of the GMC before accepting any post for which GMC registration is required.
  • GMC must be informed if she applies for medical employment outside the UK.
  • Any potential employer of any sort must be informed of the restrictions made by the GMC.

In effect, Dr. Myhill has lost the ability to practice as a physician—and she is being gagged.

The GMC Inquisition’s Methodology

The GMC gave Dr. Myhill virtually no time to prepare a defense. She was notified only one day before the planned hearing, usually referred to as an Interim Orders Panel (IOP). She asked for an extension, and was given 13 days—though the expert witness’s report was given to her only three days before the hearing. The GMC’s own rules require that the doctor be given reports at least ten days in advance.

The so-called expert witness was an endocrinologist with no experience in chronic fatigue syndrome or mitochondrial disorders, the conditions that Dr. Myhill has studied and specialized in treating.

Although it’s illegal, Dr. Myhill’s patients’ records were reviewed by the IOP in an obvious attempt to find something—anything—on which she could legitimately be charged. Her patients’ rights were violated, and it served no purpose. They found nothing.

It was supposedly a public hearing, but no member of the public was allowed to record it, not even with a tape recorder. The only recording allowed was the official GMC written account.

Dr. Myhill learned that 47 letters she’d written to the GMC regarding the previous six failed attempts to shut her down had somehow disappeared. When she complained about it, the response was a stonewall. She wrote to the Information Access Officer, Julian Graves, on 24 February 2010, citing the missing letters and their dates. Such requests are supposed to be answered within 21 days. She received an answer 64 days later—on the date of her IOP hearing: The letters were delivered to her office with a cover letter from Graves, stating, “I am sorry that some of these letters were not disclosed to you as a result of your previous subject access requests.”

Dr. Myhill wasn’t accused of harming patients or putting them at risk. No patients made any complaints. She had, though, been harrassed by the GMC for years, without any findings against her. So, without any complaints against her, they apparently decided that years of safe practice with satisfied patients were meaningless.

Her patients wanted to demonstrate their support for Dr. Myhill, but even that was circumscribed. They were not allowed to demonstrate outside the hearing, and very few were allowed to be present during it.

The Loss of Expertise

As the GMC in the UK and state medical boards in the US participate in an inquisition against doctors who think for themselves and put their patients first, other doctors fear to speak out and people in need of medical assistance are unable to get it. Dr. Myhill’s patients are devastated. The treatment that they’ve freely sought—the treatment that has proven safe and effective, while mainstream medicine has been both utterly ineffective and outright dangerous—is being denied to them.

The means for removing access to safe and effective treatment is, effectively, to declare the practitioners as heretics. By taking that approach, no facts need to be demonstrated. No real charges need to be proven or even made. All that’s needed for the witch hunt is an accusation. As can be seen in the Sarah Myhill case, any accusation from anyone—even a stand-up comic!—is enough to charge and convict of medical heresy.

Just as women, and a few men, were burned at the stake as witches during the dark and middle ages for their knowledge of health and medical lore, the same thing is happening today. Practioners of real medicine lose the right to practice. Even the right to give information is attacked. Note that Dr. Myhill is required to remove major sections of her website, though no one has demonstrated that anything on it is invalid.

Even people who do not want alternative medicine should care about what happens to Dr. Myhill. If the powers-that-be have the ability to stop her from practicing, at what point will something near and dear to you be banned?

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