Quackery right here in River City (plus bonus teething gel warning)

I am thrilled to announce that the Maryland Board of Physicians has finally seen fit to remove the medical license of a quack who has been abusing autistic kids for years. As noted by Kathleen Seidel and the great and powerful Orac: Mark and David Geier have been diagnosing autistic kids with all kinds of wacky stuff and experimenting on them with large doses of Lupron.

Y’know what Lupron is? Ever heard of chemical castration for sexual offenders in prison? That’s the stuff. Because of certain effects on the reproductive system, Lupron is also used as part of infertility treatments (although for various reasons I never had to take it) but it’s strong stuff and certainly nothing I would give to a kid without a damn good reason.

But this doctor and his non-doctor son had some theory about testosterone causing autism and they were “treating” (and I hesitate to use that word, even with scare quotes) these poor kids with Lupron and chelation therapy, which is intended to treat heavy metal poisoning, like with kids exposed to lead paint.

They’ve been torturing kids with painful medical treatments. For years. In my state. In my neighborhood, for Darwin’s sake! I just looked up his office address and it’s in the same building as the kids’ pediatrician, just two floors down. I had no idea.

According to the Board, in some cases the Geiers were giving kids treatments purely based on a telephone consultation! Crap, I wouldn’t give kids amoxicillin without at least getting a quick look at them in an office, let alone diagnosing “precocious puberty” and giving them risky medical treatments.

(Let’s see what the American Heart Association has to say about chelation therapy. Oh yeah, “There’s a real danger of kidney failure…[It] can also cause bone marrow depression, shock, low blood pressure…, convulsions, disturbances of regular heart rhythm…, allergic-type reactions and respiratory arrest.” Yup, that totally sounds like what I want to give my kids. Yes, indeedy. Oh wait, I meant over my cold, dead, and lifeless BODY would someone give that to my kids without a second medical opinion plus a consult at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins.)

I’m glad the Board has finally acted, but I wish it had happened sooner. Now, how do we get the attorney general to investigate? I want these quacks in jail for the harm they’ve done to kids who could have been getting actual behavioral and medical help somewhere else.

If you want a clear and easy-to-read explanation of what the Geiers were doing, geared to the layperson, check out Seth Mnookin’s post about the Geiers. I’m going to have to read his blog more often.

And now I’m going to go back to freaking out about what other quacks might be practicing in Maryland…


In other news…new warnings about using benzocaine (aka Orajel) for teething. My kids never seemed to be bothered by their teeth coming in, so I never used this stuff. But reports have come in about a scary (if quite rare) side effect of lightheadedness, shorntess of breath, rapid heartbeat, and turning blue from lack of oxygen.

The FDA is suggesting that benzocaine should not be used at all in children under 2 and should be used with caution by others. “Patients who have breathing problems such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, patients with heart disease, and patients who smoke are at greater risk for complications related to methemoglobinemia.”

So, uh, let’s all stick to the chilled teething rings, huh? ::shudders::

About mamamara

I'm a 40-year-old, work-at-home mother of two. I'm pro-vaccine, pro-medicine, pro-science, and an avid reader of information about all of the above, and I want to combine my love for my children with my love for science. So here we are!
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2 Responses to Quackery right here in River City (plus bonus teething gel warning)

  1. debc says:

    A part of me wonders how much Orajel one has to take to have lightheadedness? And a part of me is happy both my children are past the teething years.

    That’s seriously scary about Papa Geier and his son. :-(

    • mamamara says:

      I don’t think you need to give a baby all that much for it to cause a problem in certain babies. Fortunately it doesn’t happen to most babies!

      And the Geiers…around the corner from my house! They’ve been doing this downstairs from the office I’ve spent so much time in! Ick! Ack!

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