A US physician specializing in alternative medicine has lost his license on a case of diagnosing a 4-year-old with bipolar disorder and paying attention to a 30-minute appointment, and prescribing medical marijuana.
Dr. William Eidelman of Hollywood, California wasted no time in September 2012, when he recommended father of then a four-year-old boy to give his son cannabis so he would keep himself in school.
It took doctor Eidelman, a graduate of St. Louis Medical School, only from 20 to 30 minutes to diagnose the child with a "probable combination" of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder, according to the California medical
During the brief appointment, the child appeared normal and alert – although a bit agitated from what could have been a long day in school – according to the doctor's own admission.
Eidelman, who previously prescribed medical marijuana to the boy's father and his older brother to treat similar conditions , heavily relied on family history without taking into account more mundane explanation for the child's temper tantrums reported by his father, the board found.
"Given that it was early in the school year, the child's behavior might have been a function of separation anxiety of the type exhibited by young children when they start school, ” said, noting that Eidelman " clearly did not look to simpler explanations " including that bipolar disorder is extremely rare in the patients of that age and " occurs prior to adolescence in less than one percent of cases. ”
Neither di d Eidelman refers the child to a psychiatrist. He later told the medical board that father was "not enthusiastic" about the prospect, as he had "bad experiences" with psychiatrists himself. The father also told the doctor that it was the child's teacher who believed that the boy should be medicated unless he wanted to be expelled from school.
Following the doctor's advice, the father started giving his son marijuana-laced cookies to school. According to the father, the boy's behavior did indeed improve, but the effect lasted only until afternoon. In order for the boy to receive another, the father instructed a school to administer it to the boy. The nurse, however, alerted the school administration, which, in turn, tipped off the child protective services. However, it was not Eidelman's decision to treat the child with marijuana that cost him his license. The board stated that "it has not been established… that recommendation of medical marijuana with his father's consent, violated the standard of care." The board said that opinions have been split on the issue. , the board said that the doctor was "grossly negligent" in determining the diagnosis without proper examination and a subsequent consultation with psychologist, if it decided to revoke his license starting Janaury, 4.
The board also took into account the doctor's earlier brushes with the law. In 2000 and 2001 he was caught red-handed prescribing marijuana to undercover investigators "a good faith examination" and a proper follow-up.
Eidelman takes a pride in his long history of prescribing cannabis, which he has been doing since its legalization.
"The judge ruled that the revocation was stayed, so yes, I'm still practicing," he said last week as cited by the Los Angeles Times. His lawyer said that the revocation would not take effect until his appeal was heard at a San Francisco County Superior Court in March. The board currently lists its license as revoked.
California has one of the most lax marijuana laws in the US. It spearheaded the legalization of medical marijuana in the 1990s, becoming the first state to legalize it in 1996 and in 2016 proceeded to legalize recreational marijuana. Since January, 1, 2018 it has been selling non-medical pot.
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