Cult doctors: the official complaints process

With their high social status and influence and the qualifications to perform hazardous, invasive procedures, prescribe powerful pharmaceuticals and literally hold lives in their hands, medical doctors are rightly subject to the most rigorous codes of conduct. As recruiters and apologists for destructive cults like Universal Medicine, they have the highest capacity for harm. Relevant sections of the Australian code of conduct for doctors follow, with directions for making official complaints.

So why the cats?

Because Serge Benhayon, unqualified ‘healer’, former bankrupt, über-reincarnate and purveyor of all things ‘gentle’ and ‘loving’, hates them. Cats are ‘spirits’ – a derogatory term on planet Esoteric – have no souls, and are controlled by the mythical ‘Lords of Form’. How do we know this? SERGE SAID SO!! :-O

And those pillars of the Esoteric community, the esteemed medical doctors, endorse all of his pathogenic, money grubbing, brain frying balderdash.

Recently, I’ve communicated with a number of non UM doctors, including a couple of prominent public health activists, and all have expressed dismay and disgust at the conduct of the doctors associated with Universal Medicine. All have unanimously supported my efforts to make notifications of their breaches to AHPRA, and have urged me to keep pushing if I don’t get satisfactory responses to my complaints.

Why? Because most doctors, like the majority of healthcare practitioners, conscientiously continue their professional education, pay their professional dues and rigorously adhere to the codes and laws put in place to protect the vulnerable from unsafe practices and exploitation. Most doctors care about the health of their patients.

For cult apologists who want to interpret our action as some sort of persecution, too bad. I personally don’t give a monkeys what the doctors do in their spare time. If they want to meditate, practice auto-indoctrination, believe in reincarnation or that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by anger at one’s parents, or that Serge Benhayon is a fifth level initiate who landed here on a flying gluten free pizza dish from Arcturus, that’s their problem. However, they need to make sure their private beliefs and personal associations stay out of their consulting rooms and out of their public dealings and discourses as representatives of their profession. Inflicting their private beliefs on vulnerable and impressionable patients and members of the public is exploitative, abusive and does nothing but harm.

In previous posts, I’ve outlined relevant sections of the codes of conduct for unregistered practitioners such as naturopaths, counsellors and Esoteric healers in NSW, as well as registered practitioners, such as physiotherapists, dentists and psychologists, Australia wide, with details of how to make complaints.

Medical doctors in Australia are also subject to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and a code of conduct adopted by the Medical Board of Australia under section 39. Breaches of the code may be reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Authority, AHPRA, in all states. Their phone number is 1 300 419 495.

In the UK, medical practitioners are also subject to similar codes of conduct (with the exception of advertising guidelines, which seem more rigorous here) and breaches may be reported to the General Medical Council. UK patients link to list of ethical guidance here, and GMC complaints here.

Grounds for complaint against medical doctors in Australia

The following is extracted from Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia, endorsed by all state medical boards and the Australian Medical Council, consistent with the National Law. Full PDF version is available from the Medical Board Codes page on the AHPRA site.

1.4 Professional values and qualities of doctors 

While individual doctors have their own personal beliefs and values, there are certain professional values on which all doctors are expected to base their practice. 

Doctors have a duty to make the care of patients their first concern and to practise medicine safely and effectively. They must be ethical and trustworthy. 

Patients trust their doctors because they believe that, in addition to being competent, their doctor will not take advantage of them and will display qualities such as integrity, truthfulness, dependability and compassion. Patients also rely on their doctors to protect their confidentiality. 

Doctors have a responsibility to protect and promote the health of individuals and the community.

 2.2 Good patient care 

Maintaining a high level of medical competence and professional conduct is essential for good patient care. Good medical practice involves: 

2.2.6 Providing treatment options based on the best available information. (SERGE SAID SO is not the best available, evidence based medical information.) 

2.2.12 Ensuring that your personal views do not adversely affect the care of your patient.  

Relevance: Do you feel your doctor or loved one’s doctor’s professional conduct was compromised by their belief in reincarnation, or their belief in PRANIC! energy, or their unreasonable aversion to gluten and dairy products, or any other personal view related to the teachings of Serge Benhayon? 

2.4 Decisions about access to medical care 

Your decisions about patients’ access to medical care need to be free from bias and discrimination. Good medical practice involves: 

2.4.2 Not prejudicing your patient’s care because you believe that a patient’s behaviour has contributed to their condition. 

2.4.7 Not allowing your moral or religious views to deny patients access to medical care, recognising that you are free to decline to personally provide or participate in that care. 

Relevance: Do you believe your medical care may have been affected by a doctor’s belief in PRANIC! energy, ‘lovelessness’, or because you smoke, drink alcohol, have tattoos, play sport, have sex rather than ‘make love’, eat dairy products or gluten or engage in any behaviours frowned upon by Serge Benhayon?

3.2 Doctor–patient partnership 

A good doctor–patient partnership requires high standards of professional conduct. This involves: 

3.2.6 Recognising that there is a power imbalance in the doctor–patient relationship, and not exploiting patients physically, emotionally, sexually or financially. 

Relevance: Were you told by a UM affiliated doctor you suffer illness because of energetic imbalances in your body or that your illness has an emotional origin, such as unresolved anger at your parents or ex partner, or because you’re not living gently enough or not practicing self nurturing or self loving?

Were you advised to avoid gluten or dairy products although you have no signs or symptoms of intolerance? (Chronic digestive complaints or immune reactions such as rhinitis, sinusitus or skin complaints which are alleviated by cutting out those foods.) Did the doctor ask if you had those symptoms or symptoms of intolerance or allergy? Did cutting out gluten or dairy products or other items on the ‘Esoteric diet’ either fail to improve your condition or cause deterioration?

8.2 Professional boundaries 

Professional boundaries are integral to a good doctor–patient relationship. They promote good care for patients and protect both parties. Good medical practice involves: 

8.2.1 Maintaining professional boundaries. 

8.2.2 Never using your professional position to establish or pursue a sexual, exploitative or other inappropriate relationship with anybody under your care. This includes those close to the patient, such as their carer, guardian or spouse or the parent of a child patient. 

8.2.3 Avoiding expressing your personal beliefs to your patients in ways that exploit their vulnerability or that are likely to cause them distress. 

Relevance: Did a UM associated doctor talk to you about reincarnation or past lives in relation to your medical care?

Did a UniMed associated doctor give you blessings while under their care?

Did a UM associated doctor talk about your illness or condition as something you caused? Did they say you are ill due to a lack of self loving, or a lack of stillness or gentleness, or because of your emotions, or separation from the soul, or that you could get well by being self loving or getting in touch with your sadness etc?

Were you told you could become well by clearing negative energy?

8.6 Advertising 

Advertisements for medical services can be useful in providing information for patients. All advertisements must conform to relevant consumer protection legislation. 

Good medical practice involves:

8.6.1 Making sure that any information you publish about your medical services is factual and verifiable. 

8.6.2 Making only justifiable claims about the quality or outcomes of your services in any information you provide to patients. 

8.6.3 Not guaranteeing cures, exploiting patients’ vulnerability or fears about their future health, or raising unrealistic expectations. 

8.6.4 Not offering inducements or using testimonials. 

Relevance: Have you read anything written by the doctors attesting to the efficacy of  Esoteric healing modalities? (None of which are tested, have any clinical basis and therefore any claims made to their efficacy in treating illness are not factual or verifiable.)
Have you read anything written by the doctors saying you can get well by being self-loving or reuniting with the soul? Or anything along the lines of being returned to ‘true health’ by being still and being who you truly are?

8.11 Conflicts of interest 

Patients rely on the independence and trustworthiness of doctors for any advice or treatment offered. A conflict of interest in medical practice arises when a doctor, entrusted with acting in the interests of a patient, also has financial, professional or personal interests, or relationships with third parties, which may affect their care of the patient. 

Multiple interests are common. They require identification, careful consideration, appropriate disclosure and accountability. When these interests compromise, or might reasonably be perceived by an independent observer to compromise, the doctor’s primary duty to the patient, doctors must recognise and resolve this conflict in the best interests of the patient. 

Good medical practice involves: 

8.11.1 Recognising potential conflicts of interest that may arise in relation to initiating or continuing a professional relationship with a patient. 

8.11.2 Acting in your patients’ best interests when making referrals and when providing or arranging treatment or care. 

8.11.3 Informing patients when you have an interest that could affect, or could be perceived to affect, patient care. 

8.11.9 Not allowing any financial or commercial interest in a hospital, other health care organisation, or company providing health care services or products to adversely affect the way in which you treat patients. When you or your immediate family have such an interest and that interest could be perceived to influence the care you provide, you must inform your patient. 

Relevance: Were you referred to an Esoteric healing practitioner by one of the UM associated doctors?
Were you told Esoteric healing modalities could assist in healing your symptoms?
Do you feel you would have been better served had you been referred to another doctor or a non UM affiliated healthcare professional?
Were you informed by the referring doctor of their financial or personal relationships with Universal Medicine and the Benhayon family?

8.12 Financial and commercial dealings 

Doctors must be honest and transparent in financial arrangements with patients. Good medical practice involves: 

8.12.1 Not exploiting patients’ vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge when providing or recommending treatment or services. 

8.12.2 Not encouraging patients to give, lend or bequeath money or gifts that will benefit you directly or indirectly. 

8.12.3 Avoiding financial involvement, such as loans and investment schemes, with patients. 8.12.4 Not pressuring patients or their families to make donations to other people or organisations. 

8.12.5 Being transparent in financial and commercial matters relating to your work, including in your dealings with employers, insurers and other organisations or individuals. In particular: 

  • declaring any relevant and material financial or commercial interest that you or your family might have in any aspect of the patient’s care 
  • declaring to your patients your professional and financial interest in any product you might endorse or sell from your practice, and not making an unjustifiable profit from the sale or endorsement. 

Relevance: Similar to above, did a UM associated doctor tell you or lead you to believe Esoteric healing modalities or healers could assist healing of symptoms or illness?

Were you told your tattoos carry the energy of the tattooist, and that if the tattoo artist uses alcohol, drugs or porn, you will be negatively effected by that energy? Were you referred to a UM affiliated doctor to have your tattoos removed? Were you informed the doctor has a financial and personal relationship with UM and the Benhayon family?

Did a UM associated doctor encourage you to donate, lend or bequeath to UM building funds or charities, or to enter any other financial relationship with Universal Medicine?

Did a UM associated doctor invite you to or recommend Universal Medicine lectures, courses or meetings, or to learn meditation with UM?

In addition, from the Australian Medical Association Code of Ethics:

1.1 Patient Care

g. Ensure that doctors and other health professionals upon whom you call to assist in the care of your patients are appropriately qualified. (Serge Benhayon? And the rest of the Esoteric ‘healing’ brigade with no formal therapy qualifications?) Did a doctor refer you to an unqualified Esoteric practitioner?

v. When referring your patient to institutions or services in which you have a direct financial interest, provide full disclosure of such interest.

w. If you work in a practice or institution, place your professional duties and responsibilities to your patients above the commercial interests of the owners or others who work within these practices.

 2.2 Advertising 

b. Make sure that any announcement or advertisement directed towards patients or colleagues is demonstrably true in all respects. Advertising should not bring the profession into disrepute.

 4. THE DOCTOR AND SOCIETY 

f. When providing scientific information to the public, recognise a responsibility to give the generally held opinions of the profession in a form that is readily understood. When presenting any personal opinion which is contrary to the generally held opinion of the profession, indicate that this is the case.

Again, I’d like to appeal to anyone adversely affected by the conduct of UM affiliated doctors to make their complaints official. I have made a certain number of notifications, but these are more likely to be acted upon if the complaints come from patients or members of the public who have dealt directly with the doctors. AHPRA needs to know details of how you’ve been affected and cannot and will not act if they are not notified. 

AHPRA  1 300 419 495

In an upcoming post, I’ll provide some more detail on advertising guidelines for all registered healthcare practitioners, including the doctors.

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3 thoughts on “Cult doctors: the official complaints process

  1. Here's an interesting quote from Victoria Lister, basically dropping the registered medico's in it, explaining how they breach their codes by referring people to a non-proven treatment therefore abusing their positions of trust with their patients. Should be interesting reading for those considering recently lodged APHRA complaints about this very disturbing and unethical behaviour. Thanks Victoria, you're contributions are always revealing." Mainstream medicos and Universal Medicine— September 20, 2012 by Victoria Lister, MBus(Philanthropy&NpSt), Brisbane, AustraliaI find it curious that the Courier Mail has chosen to highlight the relationships Universal Medicine enjoys with the many respected medical practitioners who refer their clients to Universal Medicine practitioners for complementary health services (New age ‘medicine’ of Serge Benhayon leaves trail of broken families, 8 Sept, 2012).Elsewhere in the media – in the press, online and on TV ­– an array of journalists have strongly inferred, if not overtly stated, that the services the organisation and its practitioners deliver are nothing short of quackery; sound bites from well-known medical commentators have been used to bolster these claims.Yet here, the fact that increasing numbers of mainstream medicos are actually choosing to refer clients to Universal Medicine is clearly stated: ‘Universal Medicine… is drawing a growing number of clients to its Brisbane clinic via referrals from eye and lung surgeons, rheumatologists and GPs’. ­And earlier: Universal Medicine is ‘…expanding its… enterprise with the help of Brisbane’s medical mainstream’.We can infer from these statements that a growing number of doctors actually see merit in the modalities Universal Medicine offers: endorsements that are stunning counterpoints to the portrayals mentioned above.So which is it to be? Universal Medicine practitioners as new-age quacks; or a Universal Medicine that offers something so significant that doctors and surgeons are now directing their clients its services?It seems the Courier Mail, in its haste to deliver a sensationalist piece of weekend news, has been clumsy in its attempt to malign the organisation. It has instead endorsed it."

  2. Thanks for reposting this here. It's a fine example of an esoterically 'truth-full' propaganda post, which as usual has a precarious relationship with the facts. Apart from its delicious testimonial to breaches of the code for doctors. Increasing numbers of mainstream medicos? No. There are six doctors. Or is that five now, or less? I notice Maxine Szramka the Esoteric rheumatologist pulled her blog article from the Medicine & Serge Benhayon site a while back. Not before I got screen shot though. Maybe she wised up. Rachel Mascord the eso-dentist also came to her senses. Perhaps.Even prolific apologista, Eunice the Esoteric surgeon, has gone quiet. Stopped blogging. And what a disservice to humankind it is to not be assailed with her protracted, windy missives every time a journalist mentions UM.'Universal Medicine… is drawing a growing number of clients to its Brisbane clinic via referrals from eye and lung surgeons, rheumatologists and GPs’ That turned out to be precisely one of each, and I've said it here before, there are more specialists at my local medical centre than there are endorsing UM. There are more local medical centres within 5km of here than doctors endorsing UM. But lets not kid ourselves the doctors endorsing UM don't have clout. I'd attribute most of the boom in UM's recruitment to the irresponsible and unethical endorsements of that air headed handful.

  3. It demonstrates a lack of understanding generally within the group of what is really happening, doesn't it? Of course, banging around in their heads is the idea that UM is special and the 'truth' and therefore mainstream medico's (elsewhere denounced by Serge as having wasted 10 years studying) are able to make a special exception for Serge.I think Serge also thinks he has special exemptions as well from adhering to the rules everyone else is compelled to obey, whether as a 'alternative (ahem) healer" (the healers healer in fact, LOL) or as a (cough, splutter) businessman.Let's see what the next 12 months has to offer in ways of exposing the "truth" of Serge's 'integrity', and more interestingly, the response from the students to the revelations as they become apparent, because I for one find it AMAZING that the students, many of them intelligent professionals (like Victoria) cannot see the noses on their faces when it comes to UM and 'Sergio the 5th Level master from Sham-ballah', AKA Montevideo, Uruguay via Matraville NSW…

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