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).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Doctor's suspension overturned

Doctor's suspension overturned
Judge blasts state for delays in case vs. chiropractor
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
By Ron Fonger

FENTON - A Fenton chiropractor accused of massaging the breasts of two teenage girls who were his employees and patients is back in business, and a judge says delays by the state Department of Community Health in attempting to strip him of his license were "inexcusable."

The decision Monday by Administrative Law Judge Erick Williams means Dr. Robert J. Moore can return to work- at least until a full hearing - and probably will, his attorney said.

"A summary suspension was not appropriate. ... (The decision) was something we were hoping for," said Richard C. Kraus, Moore's attorney.

Moore, 40, a chiropractor at TLC Chiropractic Care, 1549 N. Leroy St., has been accused by the state attorney general's office of negligence, incompetence and lack of good moral character for allegedly having provided unorthodox breast manipulations of the two girls.

He has denied touching the girls inappropriately, and his attorneys argued that the complaints against him were too old to warrant an emergency license suspension by the Department of Community Health in September.

Williams agreed, criticizing the state Department of Community Health's slow handling of the complaint, saying the state must take formal action within four months of it having been filed or else dismiss it.

The Flint Journal was unable to reach a spokesman for the department for comment.

In Moore's case, the state did not act against the doctor until a year after a Fenton police detective brought the case, almost ready-made, to the state's attention, the judge wrote.

"The delays in this case prior to the summary suspension order were, in other words, inexcusable. Standing alone, those delays would not be enough to warrant dismissal of the Moore complaint," Williams' 14-page decision said. "But combined with a summary suspension, which is clearly prejudicial, they might be."

Williams said the emergency suspension amounted to punishment before Moore had even been charged with a crime.

"At its root, this is a case of one person's word against another's, and as Mr. Kraus argued, that is what trials are for. It would be unfair to punish Dr. Moore before he has a chance to present a defense," Williams wrote.

"What Dr. Moore is really accused of is a crime. And everybody understands what it is. He allegedly abused his status as a chiropractor to touch patients' breasts for purposes of sexual gratification or stimulation. ... Dr. Moore is under investigation for that crime. He has not been convicted. He has not even been charged. ... Punishing Dr. Moore at this stage is premature."

The first complaint against Moore came in 2003 by a former 16-year-old file clerk who said the doctor told her that her breasts were uneven and needed an adjustment.

The state's complaint says Moore pushed on the girl's breast bone and cleavage with his fingers for approximately 10 minutes during one of several manipulations.

In 2004, another teenage file clerk had breast adjustments at Moore's home, where she worked as a baby sitter, the girl testified in October.

In the October hearings, the director of insurance and government relations with the Michigan Chiropractic Society testified that Michigan limits chiropractic care to treating spinal problems, back pain, neck pain and other joint dysfunction, but that "never involves manipulating breast tissue."

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