Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

The License to Slice, Maim, Violate

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

The License to Slice, Maim, Violate

Article excerpt

The License to Slice, Maim and Violate

We are fortunate that so many medical doctors practice responsibly and within guidelines laid down by their local professional boards. It is also a matter of luck that few of them range beyond their capabilities because no constraints exist that keep a physician from performing surgery in which he is not qualified.

The license to practice medicine permits every doctor to use the knife. The most conscientious of practitioners prolong their studies so that they can qualify in the field of surgery. Such certification by medical boards provide some protection for patients. It would take a scalpel-happy maverick to violate all of a professional board's restraints. Yet, if he did, the probability of his being stopped is remote.

Consider the case of Dr. James C. Burt, a Dayton, Ohio, physician who has been accused of performing crude experiments on hundreds of women without their consent.

The Ohio State Medical Board recently formally charged Dr. Burt with "gross immorality" and "unprofessional conduct" in surgery performed to restructure his patients' genitals, procedures the board said often caused permanent physical damage.

The physician detailed some of his procedures in a book written in 1975. If the Ohio State Medical Board is now horrified by Burt's surgical techniques, the fault does not lie with lack of information. Many of his colleagues read the book and knew of his methods. …

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