18 October 2004
This letter is in response to the actions described in the article , Australian Doctor Deregistered after Helping Cancer Patient
Dr. Eckard Roehrich, MB, BS, PhD
Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
4/10 Lorraine Ave
Berkeley Vale 2261
Phone: 02 4388 9533
Fax: 02 4388 9733
24 September 2004
NEW SOUTH WALES MEDICAL BOARD
PO Box 104
GLADESVILLE NSW 1675
Open To Whom It May Concern and Mr. Andrew Dix
Dear Mr Dix,
Re: Suspension of my Registration to Practice Medicine
I am writing this letter to confirm that on Tuesday 21 September 2004 you suspended my licence to practice medicine without giving me a lawful reason for doing so. Moreover, you have failed to send me any reasons in writing since. Your forced suspension is to take effect today, Friday 24 September 2004 at 5:00 pm. You have given me only 3 days to close my practice.
I wonder how I might be able to discontinue my practice in the 3 days when I have over 1000 active patients in my care. Although I am trying to notify them I am afraid it will be impossible for me to reach them in time for them to be able to complete any necessary treatments.
I have at least 20 regular house call and nursing home patients that I have cared for over the last (up to) 20 years. All of these are elderly and immobile. They will find it almost impossible to find another doctor in this area which has an acute doctor shortage. Although I have notified them, now in the short time that you have allocated I do not know what will become of these people without the care that I have provided, as they are unable to leave their homes.
I have the care of a number of disabled people, some of them I was able to see yesterday to tell them I could no longer care for them. Many of my patients so far notified have been so distressed that they have cried in my waiting room and in my surgery along with my staff at the thought of the closing of my clinic.
Although I perform a number of special procedures there is one patient who is currently in a public hospital who has required a special procedure that nobody but myself has been able to do for him over the past 10 years. This patient was recently transferred from the hospital to my clinic especially for this procedure. At other times I was asked by the hospital staff to do this procedure in Gosford Hospital when he was an inpatient.
By 5 pm on Friday 25 September 2004 I must cease to practice medicine in accordance with your requirements and I have found it impossible to administrate this restriction in such a way as to properly hand over to other carers and delegate my services, duties and responsibilities to my patients.
Over the last more than 7 years I have been a methadone prescriber and have managed and stabilized a group of patients on this program. Many of these patients do not have a telephone. The methadone program includes specific protocols which are impossible to implement in the 3 days that you have given me. I do not know what can be done for these patients when their prescriptions become due.
I currently have a large group of patients with serious and terminal illnesses who come to me for special treatment after they have exhausted most other available options. Many come from long distances and from interstate. Over a hundred of these patients are currently undergoing special treatments, but at least 30 of these patients are in the middle of their acute phase treatment, which if discontinued is likely to result in harm and in a few cases death.
I have done my best in the last 2 days to contact and see as many of these patients as I have been able, all of whom have been deeply distressed. So far my forced closure has already made a deep impact in this community and many patients have already contacted their local members.
On Wednesday I called a meeting of some of these patients in my rooms and the entire room full of patients were upset and crying at the thought of having their treatment stopped and being no longer able to attend this clinic. Almost all of these patients had reported an improvement of their condition in the weeks and months prior to this time. The clinic offers a unique healing environment which most patients have commented on positively and claim that it has conferred benefits that they find difficult to find elsewhere.
As to the other 1000+ patients who have been in my care over the last 20 years I do not know how it will be possible for me to notify them and to complete any outstanding needs they might have within the remaining one day.
Although with most of my patients I have extremely good rapport and though they are understanding and good natured on the whole, I do not know what my position is now in the event that interruptions of their care would cause them to suffer harm or death.
I spoke to you on the phone at 2:00 pm yesterday to ask for assistance of how to manage the winding down of my practice and how to assist my 1000 patients in finding medical care. You told me: "You have been given three days. It's up to you to figure out how to deal with it."
Your website states it is the NSW Medical Board's principal responsibility "to protect the public of New South Wales". The Board exercises near police powers. It is necessary for powerful statutory bodies to have lawful, authentic reasons based in fact before they apply their powers that can affect the lives of thousands of even millions of people.
I hope when you do get around to writing me a letter telling me why you have suspended my licence and closed my clinic, you will have good reasons for your actions.
I await your urgent response.
Dr Eckard Roehrich M.B.,B.S.,PhD
Served By Dr Eckard Roehrich M.B.,B.S.,PhD
On Friday September 24, 2004 via: