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Texas Medical Board sanctions controversial cancer doctor Burzynski


7 p.m. update:

The Texas Medical Board released a statement about its action in the Burzynski case.

“The violations as detailed in the order, and supported by the judges’ findings, show a pattern of misleading patients at the Burzynski Clinic. These misrepresentations can lead to direct harm to the public if left unchecked. In total there were over 130 violations cited.”

“Among the violations are numerous instances of misrepresenting services billed; failing to supervise and allowing those working in his clinic to misrepresent themselves to patients; and a continued failure of not informing patients of potential risks before and during treatment.”

“The administrative sanctions and penalty levied by the Board as part of Dr. Burzynski’s order are in line with the disciplinary sanction guidelines set out in Board rules. Through the probationary terms of this order, Dr. Burzynski is required to make the necessary changes to his practice to ensure the health and safety of all patients seeking treatment at his clinic.”

12:50 p.m. update:

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski was placed on probation for five years by the Texas Medical Board on Friday and ordered to pay a total of $60,000 in fines and restitution —a substantial reduction from the discipline that had been recommended.

Burzynski’s attorneys called it a win for the doctor, who says he has found the cure for cancer.

Friday’s ruling “means he gets to continue to practice and save lives,” attorney Gregory Myers said.

The medical board, which accused Burzynski of misleading his terminal patients, levied a $40,000 fine and ordered the doctor to pay $20,000 in restitution to a former patient. The doctor is also required to enroll in 72 hours of medical education and allow monitors to review his medical practice.

Earlier

The Texas Medical Board is scheduled to decide today on sanctions for a Houston doctor who has been accused of misleading terminal cancer patients, including failing to disclose potential risks associated with the treatment.

Today’s hearing is the culmination of a three-year legal fight between Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, who developed a controversial treatment for cancer, and the Medical Board. A standing room only crowd — including a number of former patients who continue to vouch for him — has filled the medical board’s hearing room on Guadalupe Street.

The board is considering discipline including a $360,000 fine, a public reprimand, and placing Burzynski on probation with conditions including medical training, intensive monitoring of his patient records, and disclosure of the board’s discipline to every patient and medical facility that works with Burzynski. Violation of the terms of the probation could lead to revocation of his medical license, board records show.

Amy Swanholm, an attorney for the medical board, called Burzynski a “potential harm to the public,” and charged that he is dishonest to patients who come to him “searching for hope.”

Burzynski’s attorney, Dan Cogdell, called the proposed penalty too harsh and pointed out that many of the 400-plus complaints the medical board filed against the doctor were dismissed by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

“His patients have nowhere else to go,” and are often sent home to die before they go to Burzynski, Cogdell said.

This story will be updated as today’s hearing continues.



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