From: "Russell Olinsky" <[log in to unmask]>
We have great news --- it's OVER over there in California -- and the good
Over the past decade, many of you have been following the story of the
Medical Board of California (MBC) vs. Dr. Robert Sinaiko. Many of you have
sent donations to the Medical Defense Fund of the Progress In Medicine
Foundation to help Dr. Sinaiko pay for this fight -- in total more than
$450,000 was raised and spent for his defense.
For those of you who are new, Dr. Sinaiko, who studied under our Dr. Ben
Feingold, is an internist and immunologist of international renown, and is
one of the medical advisors to the Feingold Association.
Beginning in 1993, Dr. Sinaiko was accused of "inappropriately treating" a
child with ADHD -- he had recommended the Feingold diet, performed IgG
allergy testing, and treated the child with antifungal medication for
exposure to aspergillus mold. Meanwhile, as part of an ugly custody
battle, the boy's father lodged a complaint against Dr. Sinaiko in an
effort to disparage the mother's choice of doctor.
The MBC contacted other patients, searching for more information that could
be used against him. They obtained three adult cases to use as
"evidence." One of these patients had been treated for allergic fungal
sinusitis, one had a serious mold allergy and chemical sensitivity, and one
had chronic fatigue and a behavioral disorder. All of these patients had
improved under the doctor's care, and none of them actually complained or
testified at the hearings, but they allowed the MBC to read their
records. The one with mold allergy, unfortunately, had left California
and moved to another state where he became much more ill and committed
suicide some years later. Amazingly, the MBC actually attempted to blame
the suicide on Dr. Sinaiko.
Concerning the patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical
sensitivity, Dr. Sinaiko was also accused of "treating a disease that did
not exist" since the MBC insisted that these are not "real" disorders but
only a psychiatric problem. (Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), also
known as environmental illness, is a condition that typically comes about
as the result of heavy chemical exposure.)
The only person the MBC could find who actually DID complain about Dr.
Sinaiko does not even exist -- but was a make-believe entity called
The MBC has a long history of silencing physicians who use what is
generally called "alternative" medicine. Most doctors just give up. Dr.
Sinaiko, however, chose not to bow to the intense pressure and huge
financial punishment the Board can, and did, dole out to him.
The case is well described and outlined in a cover article in the
prestigious magazine "Medical Economics"
and you can see the legal
documents and history at
The heart of the case is this: Does a doctor have the right to select a
treatment for a patient -- when this treatment is supported by good medical
research and scientific studies -- even if it is not generally a treatment
used by other doctors in the area? The California Medical Board maintains
that a doctor does not have the right to treat a patient according to
emerging information found in medical research. The MBC calls such
innovative treatment "outside the standard of care." Thus, the only
treatments doctors would be allowed to use are those which are currently
being used by other doctors. Even if a new treatment is clearly superior
to the old methods, and is supported by good research, and is beneficial
for the patient....it would be illegal for a doctor to use anything new.
As far as the care of children with ADHD, the MBC invented a "ladder of
treatment" that would allow only drugs and psychotherapy. The ladder would
start with drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and as the child went up
the ladder, progressively stronger drugs would be added.
The case is shameful on many levels, not the least being the blatant lies
and unethical practices on the part of the prosecution. The Medical Board
and the office of the Attorney General used the money and resources of the
citizens of California in an attempt to deprive them of some very basic
rights. (This is easily verifiable when you read the legal papers.)
Well, after 12 long years, the doctors and patients won. But the road has
been long and hard for Dr. Sinaiko.
The final success did not occur in the courtroom; rather, under orders from
the Court of Appeals to hear the case again, the Medical Board, now
composed of all new members, decided they had been wrong. They agreed to
drop all charges against Dr. Sinaiko if he would just please agree not to
sue them. (The change in the makeup of the MBC had come about when the
fraudulent behavior of the old board became too obvious for Governor Davis
to ignore. The individuals responsible for this entire fiasco, however,
have never been disciplined.)
It almost seems anticlimactic to end the long battle so quietly, but the
importance of this case cannot be overestimated. It was a catalyst, a
watershed case, which has changed the history of medicine in California --
and thereby the whole country. In an unprecedented move, the California
Medical Association (NOT connected to the MBC) stood up for the rights of a
doctor, opposing the authority of the Medical Board; the national medical
magazines "Medical Economics" and "The Townsend Letter" ran major articles
supporting Dr. Sinaiko and raising awareness of the criminal behavior of
the MBC. There is a new law now in California which protects a
physician's right to use alternative medical treatments.
It is now Spring, just past Easter -- a time of rebirth and new hope -- and
just before Passover, a time of celebration of freedom. It's an
appropriate time to win a case like this.
Below is a letter from Dr. Sinaiko which he wishes to distribute to all
those whose prayers and donations have helped pave the way to today's success:
After a dozen years of fighting the Medical Board, I am pleased to write
and let you know that as of February 17, 2005, the entire action against me
has been dropped. If you go to the official web site of the Board or of the
national registry, my medical license is, at long last, clear and in good
standing. Period. It's over.
I and my family could not have withstood over a decade of fighting this
injustice had it not been literally for the hundreds of friends, patients,
and advocates, all of whom were at our side. We owe thanks to so many. To
Shula Edelkind and Colleen Smethers, thank you for your indefatigable work
to raise the medical defense fund. To the Children's Advocacy Institute,
the California Medical Association, Disability Rights Advocates, the Center
for the Science in the Public Interest, the Union of American Physicians
and Dentists, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and the
American Association for Health Freedom, we thank you for your role as
amici curiae [official letters to the Court]. It made the difference, we
know. To Frank Cuny and his grassroots band of warriors, California
Citizens for Health Freedom, we thank you for being there time and again,
before the board as well as with lawmakers. To those of you, friends,
patients and strangers, who gave money, emotional support, strategic
advice, we thank all of you, for your loyalty and your belief in the rights
of patients and doctors to work together to find safe and effective
treatments for complicated conditions such as ADHD, chronic fatigue
syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity.
It's just possible that the Medical Board now knows, thanks to the fight we
waged together, that it can no longer afford to recklessly prosecute
doctors who use safe treatments that are supported by clinical observation,
emerging scientific literature, and informed patient consent, just because
those doctors are not in the majority.
We were also blessed with excellent legal counsel along the way, including
most recently, the terrific representation of Dennis Riordan and Dylan
Shaffer, who prevailed for us in the Court of Appeal, helping us set the
stage for this final settlement. Their skill speaks for itself. But
numbers also tell a story. Recent data compiled by the Center for Public
Interest Law show that we beat the odds. Only 5 out of 75 petitions for
reconsideration were granted by the Medical Board. Our case was one of
them. For the past 3 years, at the appellate level, only 2 out of 19
prevailed against the board. We did, and we won big.
The Court of Appeal, in particular, establishing a precedent that will
protect all doctors and their patients, noted that the Medical Board - in
violation of my due process rights -- had chosen to disregard,
completely, the testimony of a number of prestigious medical experts who
appeared at my original hearing. We thank you, all of you, who were there
at in those dark days back in 1998: Phil Lee, Vince Marinkovich, Henrik
Blum, Glenn Elliott, Fred Blackwell, Carol Jessop, Jack Pulec, Deborah
Sedberry, and Jeffrey Silvers. Your collective professional integrity
could, ultimately, not be ignored. Many patients came forward as well, and
we thank you. There, too, we had excellent legal counsel, Nancy Cahill,
Judy Moore. Dick Turner took over where they left off, and we are grateful
to him as well. While never our counsel, Bob Wallach was a constant
advisor and friend who gave us hope and direction when we could have so
So, what is next for me as a doctor? I look forward to a time of figuring
that out. As ever, I have a huge passion for working with children,
especially children with ADHD and autism. Scientific rigor has always been
at the core of my practice, and research also appeals. But, until I know
what my options are - and only time will tell how much damage has been done
to my reputation that can never be undone - I cannot say for sure.
But, life feels better, oh so much better. Lois and I, as well as Olivia
and John, will look back at this chapter with bittersweet feelings, knowing
it never should have happened, but also aware that we learned so much about
friendship, about principles, about tenacity that cannot be quantified or
We remain gratefully yours,
Robert J. Sinaiko, M.D.
Feingold Association of the United States
554 E. Main St., Suite #301
Riverhead, NY 11901