The revocation was stayed and there was a 180-day actual suspension, but Rader was placed on probation for a period of 7 years.
Rader has been heavily involved in stem cell tourism and more specifically in facilitating patients receiving fetal stem cell “treatments” outside the US in a variety of countries including the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
He also wrote a book “Blocked in the USA The Stem Cell Miracle” promoting these stem cell interventions and did promotion via his Internet presence. Over the years his companies included The Dulcinea Institute, Medra, Inc., and Stem Cell of America, Inc.
A simple Google search reveals that Rader’s involvement with stem cells has been intensely controversial. He was, for example, one of the subjects of a BBC expose (see video below, note that it is just part 1 of 4…curiously I couldn’t find part 4 on YouTube).
If Rader has been so controversial for a very long time, why has it taken the California State Medical Board so long to take action? It’s not clear.
Rader is or was somewhat of a celebrity figure. He was married to actress Sally Struthers for a time. In this recent matter regarding his license and the California Medical Board, celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro of OJ fame was part of his legal team.
The California Medical Board made seven allegations against Rader:
“Complainant has alleged seven causes for discipline against Respondent for gross negligence (Bus. & Prof. Code’ § 2234, subd. (b)), repeated negligent acts(§ 2234, subd. (c)), false and/or misleading advertising (§ 2271 ), disseminating false or misleading statements (§ 651, subd. (a), (b)(l), (b)(2), (b)(3), and (b)(7)), dishonesty or corruption(§ 2234, subd. (e)), general unprofessional conduct(§ 2234), and violation of a provision or provisions of the Medical Practice Act(§ 2234, subd. (a)). The allegations were made in connection with Respondent’s advertising for, recommending, and or participating in the use of fetal stem cell therapy on human beings.”
The court documents would seem to indicate that to some extent Rader acknowledged certain elements of the allegations. Interestingly, a number of specific patient cases are discussed and are very concerning related to, for example, apparent lack of proper informed consent.
Patients would pay a fee of $30,000 per treatment as well as travel costs. It is not entirely clear how many patients actually were administered stem cells via Rader’s efforts, although he has claimed to have treated as many as 1,500-2,000 people. However, the court document shed some doubt on that:
“In the book, Respondent wrote that he had treated over 1,500 patients with fetal stem cell therapy. At the hearing, Respondent claimed that statement was not true, and that he wrote it to give potential patients a better understanding of what he was doing. He testified that the effect would have been “attenuated” (Respondent’s term) if he wrote that he only referred patients to health care professionals practicing in foreign countries. Respondent also wrote that 96 percent of the 1,500 patients he treated had a positive outcome. At the hearing, he admitted that the figure was only a general statement and not the result of a statistical analysis.”
Even if he only “treated” a fraction of that number, say 500 people, then that number of clients would still have potentially generated $15 million USD in income. Given the large sums of money involved here it is notable that there was no apparent fine involved in this medical board action. I’m not sure if medical boards can issue monetary fines. Do you guys know?
Oddly, at the hearing Rader apparently denied treating any patients with stem cells at all directly, but asserted that patients only got the interventions through other doctors:
“At the administrative hearing, Respondent continued to deny having ever treated anyone with fetal stem cell therapy, and he denied that he was the physician for any patient receiving the therapy. He claimed he only referred potential recipients to foreign physicians. In so doing, he admitted the falsity of a great many statements in the book. For example, (1) he could not describe how many disease processes he had treated; (2) numerous references to patients he had successfully treated; (3) he was the only American doctor who had administered fetal stem cells; (4) references to “my” fetal stem cell patients; (5) references to “my therapy”; (6) numerous references to “my patients”; and (7) by the time a certain study had been published, he had been administering fetal stem cells to human patients for over five years.”
The new court ruling from Administrative Court Judge H. Stuart Waxman orders quite a few actions and conditions for Rader: the 180-day suspension, correction of falsities, an education course, an ethics course, a clinical training program, practice monitoring, notification of hospitals, etc. where Rader has privileges, may not supervise physician assistants during the probation, is required to obey all laws, provide quarterly declarations, comply with the general probation requirements, must be available for interviews with the Board, comply with certain requirements related to periods of not practicing, and if he violates any of these probation conditions, the probation may be suspended leading again to active, potentially long-term license revocation.
This action to me seems like a positive for patients and the stem cell arena more generally, but again why did it take so long? Rader’s actions presented significant potential risks to patients on both health and financial levels and posed issues for the stem cell field, where many solid, evidence-based stem cell treatments are in development.
Unproven stem cell clinics are widespread throughout the US and in California. Our state is one of a few particular hot bed states for this stuff. Could this action signal more to come in the way of steps from the California State Medical Board in the dubious stem cell clinic arena?