More on injustice in Texas---now with quackery?

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 of the complaints that nurse Anne Mitchell registered was regarding Dr. Arafiles alleged that he was hawking supplements to patients. While this is not necessarily illegal, it is ethically questionable, and if the patients were in the ER and not under his care, that would be a bad thing indeed.

Now, my initial stance on supplements is usually negative, but since further specifics weren't available, I withheld judgment, at least in writing. But now Arafiles' own words show us just how scary this guy is (and to thicken the plot further, court filings allege that the sheriff in this case is actually in the supplement business with Arafiles---a whopping conflict of interest).

Blogger Mike Dunford of The Questionable Authority has done the legwork to uncover some of these disturbing connections.  Among some of the most disturbing revelations:

Dr. Arafiles has appeared on infomercials on "God's Learning Channel" about so-called Morgellons syndrome, a form of delusions of parasitosis.  Arafiles has aligned himself with Randy Wymore and Marc Neumann, two big boosters of this non-disease:


Arafiles appears from this video to be one of the doctors who tells patients what they want to hear, instead of the truth.  But even more cynically, he tells patients they have this non-disease, and then sells them worthless "cures" such as colloidal silver.

His medicine show on God's Learning Channel continues on his commercial website  where he sells colloidal silver for everything from Morgellons to diabetes.  This last is particularly horrid, as nearly 10% of adult Texans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and effective treatments are readily available.  He even hawks "water alkalinization systems", helping perpetrate one of the stupidest medical myths after homeopathy.
This is one of the worst cases of outright quackery (at least, in my opinion) that I've seen from a licensed physician. He appears to make up diagnoses for patients, and then conveniently has just the right (unproved, profitable) cure to sell them.  This is no Pharma Shill gambit---when I prescribe medication for diabetes, it often costs a patient pennies a day and I do not profit from it, other than to see my patient get better.  When a doctor either invents or plays up a disease, and then profits from selling the cure, this is the most cynical, unethical, and immoral form of abuse.  
In this small Texas town, a nurse is now being subject to a malicious prosecution brought by a huckster and his partners who are not only using law enforcement to advance their business needs---they are the law.  There is nothing here that doesn't stink, and it keeps getting worse by the day.

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OT but I assume your podcast is defunct? I was a big fan, btw. I've linked to Orac's post about this hideous story on my FB page as well as to the TX Nurses association defense fund. I encourage all FBers to do the same.

The video doesn't work. It says it's private. I guess they didn't like the attention?

Dear PalMD,

I take great exception to the way you refer to Morgellons Disease as a "non-disease." This disease is currently being studied by the CDC and the results have not yet been publicly released. You may want to save yourself some embarassment by using a little less definitive language on a currently undefined condition as non-existant.

The study is easily found on the CDC's website under "unexplained dermopathy."

Thank you


La maladie du morgellon est hélas bien réelle. Le silver colloidal et l'homéopathie donnent de bons résultats au niveau des symptômes. Ce docteur a bien raison d'en prescrire. Avec le morgellon la médecine traditionnelle est impuissante.

Peut etre, la "medecine" traditionnelle est impuissante parce que le morgellon n'existe pas.

By MonkeyPox (not verified) on 12 Feb 2010 #permalink