White Coat Underground

Archives for February, 2010

Quackery, pure and simple

What constitutes quackery depends very much on how quackery is defined. If part of that definition is making false or unsubstantiated claims about a medical product you are selling, then Dr. Rolando Arifiles is a quack. Dr Arafiles and his cronies in the Winkler County government may not realize is that this “internet” thing works…

I love writing about quackery and other medical shenanigans, but there are some activities and organizations that are so distasteful that I can rarely force myself to write about them. One of these is the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). This is an organization that has supported the lie that abortion leads to…

A lurker in the forest

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a fascinating little bugger. Certain strains can interfere with tumor suppressor genes leading to cancer, especially cervical, anal, and some mouth cancers. Other strains cause genital warts. The vaccine offered in the U.S. (Gardasil) protects against the two strains that cause most cancers and against two strains causing warts. The vaccine…

Texas nurse acquitted!

Good news out of Texas. Anne Mitchell, the nurse who filed an anonymous complaint about a doctor with the Texas Medical Board, was acquitted of felony charges. Mitchell brought her concerns about Dr. Rolando Arifiles to her hospital administration, and when she got nowhere, she felt forced to bring her patient safety concerns to the…

CardioFuel—another magic pill

I get a lot of email asking me about various alternative therapies and supplements. A recurring theme on this blog has been the hyperbolic claims of alternative practitioners and supplement makers, and while I can’t answer every email, I can at least address some of them in the blog. Supplements are often marketed using unsupported…

There have been some disturbing rumors circulating about Dr. Rolando Arafiles, the Texas doctor who enlisted a local sheriff to harass and ultimately prosecute local nurses. The nurses filed anonymous complaints with the state medical board about Arafiles’ practices, and one of them is now in court facing felony charges for doing her job. One…

A travesty in Texas

There’s a prosecution going on in Texas that sounds so corrupt, and could have such a chilling influence on the pursuit of quackery nationwide, that it cannot be ignored. I urge you to read the story in the Times, but here’s a brief recap. In Kermit, a small Texas town, two nurses at local hospital…

More on narcotic contracts

I recently raised some questions about narcotic therapy contracts and my readers raised even more issues. Some of these questions deserve further discussion. First, despite the examples I gave, when I’m speaking about narcotic contracts I am talking about people chronically on narcotics. I don’t normally use contracts for people with self-limited problems. That doesn’t…

Nursing students dressed in white

Medicine has traditionally been full of hierarchies. Employees’ uniforms make their role easy to identify: one color for radiology techs, another for secretaries, etc. When I was a resident, medical students wore short white coats, residents long blue coats, and attendings long grey coats. Medicine is also a traditionally male-dominated field, and despite the fact…

More on Lacks ethics

I’m heartened by the discussions of medical ethics arising out of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. From reading and listening to interviews with writer Rebecca Skloot, and from my brief conversations with her, I know that medical ethics were very much on her mind during the ten years it took her to create the…