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2005-11-02 09:04:53

Bogus Doctors Alarm

The Bahamas Medical Association has sounded the alarm over pseudo physicians who are reportedly posing a serious threat to public health.

The Association says it is "concerned that there are a number of persons practicing medicine [who] are not registered or licensed medical doctors."

The group of medical professionals went as far as running advertisements in local dailies warning members of the public about the problem.

"The Medical Association has a duty to protect our people from those posing as medical doctors without suitable qualifications," the ad says. "In order to protect life and health, we must notify our Bahamian public of this dangerous trend."

Director of Public Health Dr. Baldwin Carey, who is also chairman of the Medical Council, said yesterday he is aware of the doctors' concerns and the Council "shares those concerns".

However, Dr. Carey said due to the serious nature of the allegations he could not comment further given that the Council may have to carry out investigations.

The Council is entrusted with licensing and verification of medical qualifications and the Association is urging anyone who is unsure whether their doctor is duly registered and licensed to contact the Council to find out.

Dr. Harold Munnings, a member of the Association, said yesterday if the problem is not dealt with, it could mean a difference between life and death.

"It's a big concern," Dr. Munnings said.

"The medical profession is very strictly regulated. The government decided decades ago that you ought to have gone to medical school and have a medical degree to practice medicine in The Bahamas and the law states that you can't practice medicine or even hold yourself out to be a doctor or diagnose or treat illnesses unless you have a medical degree and unless you have been licensed."

He added, "The Association is concerned because we believe that patients are being harmed by unlicensed physicians who take patients off their medications and are treating with unproven, untested so-called alternative medicines."

The Association has raised specific concerns regarding a Dr. Kevin King, who operates in New Providence.

Dr. Carey indicated that he is aware of the concerns the Association has about Dr. King, but declined to go further.

But Dr. Munnings said, "The Medical Association of The Bahamas' information is that he does not have a licensed medical facility."

Dr. King declined to comment on the issue when contacted by The Bahama Journal yesterday.

But he commented extensively on his controversial practice when he appeared on the Love 97 programme "Issues of The Day" in August with Jeff Lloyd.

During that interview, Mr. Lloyd informed that he had spoken with patients who had said their legs were about to be amputated as a result of Diabetes, but Dr. King was able to save them from that sad fate.

But Mr. Lloyd said despite these success stories there are those in the mainstream medical field who consider Dr. King, who runs the Centre for Natural Medicine, to be "a quack and not up to snuff".

Dr. King explained while on the programme that there are many people who don't understand the concept of natural medicine.

He explained that, "When you're ill and you pray and you ask God for healing, he has a choice of doing two things: he can perform a miracle and restore your health instantly or he can let you go through a healing process.

"What I've just learnt in my studies is that God is not a god of instant. We are the ones that want everything done instantaneously-to get healing there's a process in healing, granted, when you have a surgical procedure the rule of thought is 'problem solved'-we know that's not true-although it has its place."

Mr. Lloyd asked Dr. King how it was possible for him to heal without ever touching a patient.

Dr. King explained, "You have to know your strength. Certain things mainstream medicine just can't do. You can't restore someone back to health using mainstream medicine-mainstream medicine is really not trained in solving problems."

Dr. King added, "I'm not dealing with emergency medicine. I'm dealing with restoring people's health and that's what healing is all about."

He said no one in this country should have to have a limb amputated because of Diabetes.

"This is where there is no communication between those of us who are supposed to be practicing medicine for the better good," he said.

Dr. King indicated that local physicians see no value in what he is doing, although he claimed that Health Minister Senator Dr. Marcus Bethel sees value in his practice.

Dr. Bethel said last night that he had not heard the programme and was unaware of the context in which Dr. King was speaking.

He said he would wish to hear a recording of the show before responding.

Asked to respond to doctors who think he's a "quack", Dr. King said on "Issues of The Day", "If I'm a quack, I want to be the best quack there ever was. But on a more serious note, I'm hurting awful bad-our people are dying; our young women are dying in their 20's, in their 30's, in their 40's [from breast cancer]."

He suggested that alternative medicine could reverse this situation.

"Why don't people wake up?" Dr. King asked. "When a Bahamian contracts cancer of any kind, the chance of survival is slim to none."

Still, mainstream physicians remain concerned about Dr. King's practice and the practices of others like him.

They believe that patients should be equally concerned.

Speaking yesterday, Dr. Munnings said, "I expect that the Association in short order will be calling on the regulatory bodies to enforce the nation's laws."

He said that patients ought to be on their guard against doctors who are really not doctors at all.

Dr. Munnings added, "I know that the Association is in dialogue with the Council and has urged the Council to take some action."

He said that there are several issues at play, including respect for the laws of the land.

The Association reminds that under the Medical Act any person who "not being licensed under this Act, practices, or holds himself out as a practicing [physician] or being prepared to practice medicine or surgery is guilty of an offense."

It also says that any person who "willfully and falsely pretends to be or takes or uses the name or title of doctor of medicine, surgeon or medical practitioner-shall be guilty of an offense."

Dr. Munnings said, "The Council takes pains to make sure that persons who do not have a degree from an approved medical school or who practice without a license are not allowed to operate.

"If one is allowed to do it, then how can we stop any person who claims that he's a doctor and can treat illnesses whether it is by traditional or alternative medicine? How do we regulate them?"

By: Candia Dames, The Bahama Journal

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