Now that’s what I’m talking about! A state medical board appears poised to act

Many are the times that I’ve discussed the issue of quack doctors. I’m not just referring to naturopaths, whose abbreviation ND stands to me for “not a doctor.” In fact, I’m referring to actual, real physicians, doctors with an “MD” or “DO” after their names, doctors who have graduated from reputable medical schools, completed residencies at reputable hospitals, done fellowships, and are respected members of their communities. I’m referring to MDs who have embraced quackery and thus made themselves indistinguishable from NDs. Actually, they are worse than NDs, because, as MDs and DOs, they retain all the privileges that we as society, through our state medical boards, grant them, the power to prescribe drugs, even controlled substances., to do minor surgery, and, if they are surgeons, to do major surgery. They retain all of that but add to it quackery.

One such physician is one that I discussed last month, Dr. Daniel Kalb, a physician at Cool Springs Family Medicine (CSFM) in Franklin, TN. His 15 minutes of fame occurred when he wrote an antivaccine manifesto, announcing to the world that he would no longer administer vaccines at all. When unwanted attention came in the form of press and blog coverage, and, instead of having the courage of his convictions, rapidly deleted his post. Maybe it was embarrassment over the sheer brain dead ignorance of his post, which was full of easily refuted antivaccine tropes that I’ve discussed more times than I can remember. Or maybe it was the attention that was brought to bear on his practice, which offers colon cleanses, hyperbaric oxygen, and “detox” programs. As I said at the time, being antivaccine goes hand-in-hand with integrative medicine; i.e., “integrating” quackery with conventional medicine.

It appears that the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners has also taken notice. It looks as though it is about to do what I keep hoping state medical boards will do but so seldom ever actually do. I learned this when a GoFundMe page was pointed out. This page is called Stand With Kalb:

Following a week of extensive continuing education courses at the 2016 AutismOne conference, Dr. Daniel Kalb posted on his blog and Facebook page that he would no longer administer vaccines from his office. His opinion that in some cases vaccines may be linked to Autism and other neuroimmune problems, created tremendous opposition from many people, including physicians, who promised to report Dr. Kalb to the TN Board of Medical Examiners to have his license suspended. Less than 72 hours later, the Board initiated their investigation and currently shows no signs of stopping. They are not only questioning Dr. Kalb about his statement regarding vaccines and autism, but they are investigating his treatments of patients with other immune dysfunction disorders including PANDAS/PANS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Lyme Disease.

Well, well, well, well, well. Isn’t this interesting? Could it be, I wonder, that the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners might actually do something this time? Who knows? As I’ve learned time and time again, an investigation of a quack by a state medical board doesn’t necessarily mean that the board will take action. However, the flip side to that is that no action can occur except after an investigation. Moreover, if this account is in any way accurate, it sounds as though there is a real investigation going on and not a perfunctory one.

There’s a lot to investigate, too. I went back to Dr. Kalb’s Cool Springs Family Medicine website, expecting that he would have scrubbed it of the worst quackery. Nope. It all appears to be there other than his now deleted antivaccine manifesto. For instance, he still advertises hyperbaric oxygen for basically every condition under the sun. (OK, maybe his indications are not that broad, but they are certainly very broad:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Brain Injury
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Surgical Recovery
  • Chronic Pain
  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stroke
  • Sports Injury
  • Lyme Disease

I don’t want to give the impression that HBOT is always quackery. For instance, it is useful for chronic ulcers, burn wounds, necrotizing soft tissue infections, and carbon monoxide poisoning. But for Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, brain injury, chronic pain, autism, cerebral palsy, lyme disease, etc.? Not so much. For such conditions, the use of HBOT is, based on evidence, quackery.

Then there’s the colon hydrotherapy Dr. Kalb offers. His website touts a device called the Hydro-San unit. Colon hydrotherapy is, of course, quackery as well, as I first discussed way, way back to the very beginnings as of this blog. However, I had never heard of the Hydro-San Plus colon cleanse unit; so I Googled it and soon found the company selling these units, Specialty Health Products, which touts colon hydrotherapy thusly:

Professional colon hydro-therapy benefits are being rediscovered globally and regarded as the foremost among cleansing treatments and technologies. Long before the word “colonic” came to use, popular healers of ancient times understood the need to cleanse the colon. Archeologists’ uncovered writings on colon health and cleansing set down by ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies dating back to 5,000 B.C.

As people explored new land and spread across the globe, the medical practice of colon cleansing and healing also expanded and evolved. Since ancient times, from continent to continent and over thousands of years, the cleansing of the colon remained a staple method of healing the intestinal tract and promoting internal health.

The writings of Plato, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Pare’ and Da Vinci reveal that the founding fathers of modern medicine understood and practiced early methods of cleansing the colon for a wide variety of health conditions and afflictions.

From average citizens to aristocrats and royalty, cleansing the colon was the recognized protocol for intestinal cleansing. No matter the reference, (i.e., enemas, high colonics, colon cleansing, colon irrigation) the result was a sense of good health and being. With SHP equipment, tapping into the healing benefits of colon hydro-therapy can now be fully realized

I do so love the appeal to antiquity to sell a “machine that goes ping.” This particular machine that goes ping offers:

  1. COMPLETELY ISOLATED ELECTRICAL: We are the ONLY Company in the world to completely Isolate our Electrical System from any water Usage. (We are not Shock Resistant – WE ARE SHOCK PROOF).
  2. Energy Efficient, LED Full Spectrum Light, 50,000 Hour Lifespan, relieves eye strain and improved color diagnostics.
  3. The World’s FIRST and ONLY Dual Lighting System. (Full Spectrum and U. V. Diagnostic Black LED Lighting). Clinical Black Light Diagnostic capabilities combined with our Chemical / Parasitology Curriculum and the FUTURE of Professional Colon Hydro-therapy.

Is it just me, or do you find it disturbing that this company would feel compelled to point ot that it is the only company in the world to completely isolate its electrical system from any water usage? Isn’t that just common sense, a necessary design prerequisite, for any electrical device that uses water? But what is it about these “color diagnostics” that are supposed to decrease eyestrain? How does one get eyestrain with this device? Be that as it may, at least the device uses disposable speculums. In any case, why does Dr. Kalb have one of these devices? If you believe his website, it’s to:

  • Rid of body of toxins
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Help the body heal itself
  • Boost metabolism
  • Balance hormones

All of these, of course, are the vague, science-y sounding invocations of biology, particularly the appeal to unnamed “toxins,” which are almost never actually identified. Yet, like all quacks, Dr. Kalb is heavily into “detoxification”:

If the natural detoxification processes are disturbed, (and there are many potential environmental and genetic causes for disrupting this system), then you develop symptoms, a variety of them. If left unaddressed, these symptoms can progress, worsen, and can lead to disease, in fact, they can potentially cause autoimmune disease (there is an epidemic of autoimmune disease).

At CSFM we address the root cause of your illness. Hippocrates said “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health”. When our bodies do not detox properly, we begin a cycle of illness that is difficult to manage and overwhelming for most people. We offer our patients various detoxification programs that help begin to regain balance in their body. We educate our patients about detoxification cleanses from 10-28 days, elimination diets that help eliminate the top foods that cause inflammation in our bodies and the use of digestive enzyme and probiotics to begin to heal the gut. We utilize an infared sauna, colon hydrotherapy, yoga classes as well as an nutritionist to help our patients educate themselves on decreasing inflammation and detoxifying their bodies.

Here’s the thing. The body is very, very good at detoxifying. I don’t mean “detoxifying” fantasy “toxins” that naturopaths and Dr. Kalb like to invoke as the One True Cause of All Disease. I mean real detoxification or real toxins that can be measured and the effects of whose excess can be measured. That real detoxification occurs through the kidneys and the liver.

So why the GoFundMe page? Why is there ever a GoFundMe page for anything? Money. Someone named Erin Crawford created the page. Whether the page was created at Dr. Kalb’s request or not is unknown. What is known is that the page claims that Dr. Kalb needs money for legal bills. Now, it’s only been less than two months since then. It’s really unknown if he needs $50,000 for legal bills or not. The only way I could see him needing that much money is if the state is definitely going to try to strip him of his medical license. I checked the Tennessee State Board of Medical Examiners website, and there’s nothing mentioned about him there yet, but that’s not surprising, given how recently this whole kerfuffle reacted.

What I can say, though, is that this GoFundMe page suggests to me is that Dr. Kalb is worried. If it really is true that the Tennessee State Medical Board is preparing to go after Dr. Kalb, I have only one thing to say: Good. As I’ve said before, state medical boards tend to be reluctant to go after doctors who use unscientific treatments like “detoxification” and colon cleanses because it forces them to enforce a standard of care, because such cases are harder to prove, and because there is so much pushback. State medical boards are generally good at going after doctors who commit easily identified, clear-cut breaches in trust, such as substance abuse, defrauding insurance companies, or diddling patients. When it comes to making judgment calls about doctors practicing outside of the standard of care, they’re a lot more reluctant to do so.

So I say: If it’s true that you’re preparing to go after Dr. Kalb and take his license away, good for you, Tennessee. Good for you. Maybe your action will inspire other state medical boards to do the same thing with their local quacks. There are so many of them to stop.