Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Chiropractor in Botox Probe Gets License


Chiropractor in Botox Probe Gets License

The Associated Press
Saturday, May 14, 2005; 8:54 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A chiropractor who owned the clinic where four people were paralyzed after they were injected with the raw botulism toxin instead of the anti-wrinkle drug Botox has regained his suspended license.

Thomas Toia was placed on supervised probation for three years and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, but the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine ruled Friday that he could begin seeing patients again.

The board made its decision after finding that Toia hired questionable doctors, barely supervised them and offered little help when the four got sick in November.

A doctor at Toia's clinic, Bach McComb, injected himself, his girlfriend and two friends with a super-strength, unapproved research toxin he bought as a cheap alternative to federally approved Botox. McComb did not properly dilute the toxin, paralyzing the four for months, officials said.

The board ruled Toia allowed McComb to practice medicine knowing his license was suspended at the time for over-prescribing painkillers. But Toia was unaware that McComb and Toia's son, a clinic assistant, ordered the raw toxin and that McComb gave the shots, the state said.

McComb is charged along with two Arizona doctors with running a national network that sold 3,081 vials of a knockoff wrinkle treatment for $1.5 million to doctors and clinics nationally.

A California research toxin manufacturer, which has not been charged, supplied both the Arizona doctors and McComb's clinic with botulism, federal investigators allege.

The family of McComb's friends who received the injections has sued Toia's clinic and the manufacturer for negligence. The suit alleges that Toia tried to administer "natural holistic treatments" to alleviate two of friends' symptoms, which delayed their treatment and further complicated their condition.

Toia told the board he could not persuade Bonnie and Eric Kaplan to go to an emergency room when he learned of their condition.

McComb and the Kaplans are recovering at home, while McComb's girlfriend, Alma Hall, is still partially paralyzed at a rehabilitation facility in New Jersey.

© 2005 The Associated Press