Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ima Fake, MD, PhD

P = M.D.

That was the most important formula in medical school. If you passed your course work and clerkships, did it satisfactorily, and made the grade, you’d get to place those initials after your name.

But the path was not easy: countless hours of study, testing, ward rounds, sleepless nights and call. The day a student of medicine graduates from medical school is one of the proudest days of their lives: it culminates years of disciplined study and hard work.

A PhD designation after one’s name is equally (and some would argue even more) arduous, requiring years of study, a long dissertation, oral examination, and peer review process that is daunting.

But for those who want to put the initials "MD" or "PhD" (or both) after their name, there’s an easier way: push-ups, sit-ups, and payment of a $5000 “fee” to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation:
(NYT) Dr. (Ronald M.) Klatz and Dr. (Robert M.) Goldman are not afraid to take on their critics. In the last few years, they have been embroiled in legal disputes — with the State of Illinois, over offshore medical degrees they received in the late 1990s, and with professional critics whom they sued for giving them a “silver fleece” award in 2004 for promotion of questionable anti-aging products. (That suit was settled last November; its terms are confidential.)

Through his lawyer, Dr. Goldman said that he had received two doctoral degrees from “distance learning programs,” which he said had required “work with a mentor, textbook reading and testing.” A fitness buff, he says in a biography posted on that he has held world records for one-armed push-ups (321) and consecutive sit-ups (13,500).

Both men received medical degrees in 1998 from the Central American Health Sciences University in Belize, without, they acknowledged, ever having studied in the country. Dr. Klatz and Dr. Goldman say through their lawyer that they earned their medical degrees with transfer credit from previous academic work and a year in clinical rotations in Mexican hospitals.
Licensing authorities in Illinois did not recognize the Belize degrees, and in 2000 fined the doctors $5,000 each for adding M.D. after their names. They agreed to a cease-and-desist order with an exception: books already printed or being reprinted with the contractual requirement that they be identified as M.D.’s. They were also allowed to continue using the M.D. designation on their résumés.
It seems Dr. Goldman gets to use the PhD designation, too.

I’m so glad the medical licensing body in Illinois is so careful to protect our medical profession – never mind the patients subjected to the questionable practices of Drs. Goldman and Klatz in the use of human growth hormone injections as a fountain of youth.

But then I better not say anything else. I might get beat up.


Drs Klatz and Goldman are licensed doctors of osteopathy (DO) in the State of Illinois.

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