The Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission's revocation of board-certified oncologist Dr. Glenn Warner's license is an affront to reason and humanity. If the State does not reverse this ill-considered decision (an appeal is being filed), I, Patrick McGrady, director of the research referral service called CANHELP, shall lose one of my most sophisticated consultants. The patients who are presently treated by Dr. Warner, many of whom did poorly under 'cookbook' treatments, risk losing far more.
In her attack on Dr. Warner before the Court of Appeals on June 28, the Commission's attorney, Beverly Goetz, argued that cancer patients are 'incapable' and 'unqualified' to know whether they're getting appropriate care or not. Only a body of experts such as the Commission, she stated, were so qualified.
No one is more qualified to understand appropriate care than the patient. Certainly not the Commission members, who comprise not a single cancer doctor or oncology expert. In fact, the Commission's display of its ignorance on cancer matters over the now several years of hearings has been nothing short of astonishing.
Probably no other cancer doctor in the Seattle community can claim to match Dr. Warner's 1000-plus surviving cancer patients. The Commission cites just 6 complaints, several of them malpractice lawsuits, from among the 20,000 cancer patients that Dr. Warner has treated over the past 40 years. Even if one accepts at face value what some observers qualify as these 6 specious charges, the most recent charge is over 8 years old!
And yet Mo. Goetz makes the bewildering charge that Dr. Warner practicing today constitutes a menace to "public health." This despite the fact that, at the behest of the Commission and with Dr. Warner's consent, he has been liable to round-the- clock supervision and monitoring of his practice and files by the Commission over the past year. Note that during this time not a single charge of wrongdoing, error, or malpractice has even been suggested!
Clearly, the Commission has engaged in a most vicious vendetta against a holistic physician, knowledgeable in both conventional medicine and its alternatives. This despite all the evidence showing excellent results from his distinctive, compassionate approach. Even the official Tumor Registry, which was given access to every one of his patient files, determined that his survivals in this dread disease were at least as good as the others in the 13 county area surveyed. (They also commented informally that the quality of life claimed by his patients was vastly superior.)
When charges were first filed against Dr. Warner by this commission, more than 350 patients wrote individual letters protesting against this attack. In the ensuing months, hundreds more letters have been written by patients in his behalf.
The nonsensical allegation by the State of Washington's medical 'experts' that a patient is simply unable to know whether he or she is being properly cared for could not be farther off the mark. Cancer patients are eminently qualified to know:
One administrative law judge said that, despite his worry about the welfare of the patients, he felt compelled to accept the Commission's finding because their charges failed the test of being labeled 'frivolous.' Their charges, however, do pass the tests of monumental stupidity, viciousness, and cruelty. They are also an insult to common sense.
One hopes that the Court will restore Dr. Warner's license, or that the Governor, who till now has refused even to hear Dr. Warner's side of the case, will reverse this Kafkaesque regulatory decision.
Nothing less than the lives of literally hundreds of cancer patients are in jeopardy. Should they suffer from this senseless revocation of a good doctor's license, they will know whom to hold responsible, collectively and singly.
Patrick M. McGrady, Director CANHELP, Inc. Port Ludlow, Washington 360-437-2291 Fax 360-437-2272
Patrick M. McGrady, Jr., a medical writer for over 30 years, is director of CANHELP, a cancer patient advisory service; co-founder, director and past vice-president of the American Aging Association, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Oncology Foundation and the Toronto-based Bassett/Falk/Rowan Foundation. Mr. McGrady, Jr., is co-author with Nathan Pritikin of the best-selling (52 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list) Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise Grosset and Dunlap, Bantam Books, 1979). He is a frequent lecturer on medical and writing topics, a consultant to patient, legal, hospital and pharmaceutical organizations, and a well-known advocate of cancer patients' rights.