Lung specialist and Universal Medicine promoter Dr Samuel Kim has been reprimanded by the NSW Medical Council for professional misconduct. The action is the outcome of a NSW Health Care Complaints Commission investigation of a complaint made several years ago by ‘Patient A’, a woman with serious and debilitating illness who can’t be identified for legal reasons. The complaint arose from Dr Kim’s inappropriate prescribing and his referral of the patient to Universal Medicine practitioners for untested ‘therapies’. Dr Kim is an avid promoter of Universal Medicine and its leader Serge Benhayon.
Guardian article 31 May 2017: Doctor rebuked over ‘spiritual healing’ group touting ‘esoteric breast massage’
Full report from the Professional Standards Committee published by the Medical Council of New South Wales
‘The Committee made findings of unsatisfactory professional conduct and determined to reprimand Dr Kim and impose conditions on his registration.”
Click the links above to access the news reports.
I’ve expanded on the info below. A non publication order prohibits any publication that identifies the patient in this case. Legal penalties apply.
Thoracic physician, Dr Samuel Tye-Kyu Kim is based in Spring Hill, Brisbane and Goonellabah, near Lismore, NSW. He practises from rooms at the Universal Medicine clinic and headquarters in Goonellabah. (Please note, the subject of the reprimand, Dr Samuel Tye-Kyu Kim, is not to be mistaken for any other doctors bearing the name Sam or Samuel Kim).
The Committee found Dr Kim had acted contrary to the Medical Council of NSW’s Complementary Health Care Policy. He referred Patient A for non evidence based therapies, including Esoteric Lung Massage and Esoteric Chakra-puncture, without making the distinction between proven and unproven treatments clear to her. He monopolized her care and failed to refer her to appropriate specialists. He failed to declare his conflicts of interest in referring the patient or his relationships with UM and Esoteric practitioners. He was found to have inappropriately prescribed hormone therapy and failed to disclose side effects.
The practitioner failed to adequately explain his association with the Universal Medicine organization, and the interconnections between the practitioners which he referred Patient A to between 2010 and 2012, including Mr Neil Ringe, Mr Serge Benhayon, Ms Jasna Jugovic and Mr Michael Serafin, contrary to clause 3 of the CHC and/or Medical Council of NSW’s Complementary Health Care Policy (September 2011). Committee report
The report is 25 pages, but very much worth reading.
Dr Kim admits Particular 2. For example, in his statement dated 1 December 2016, Dr Kim states:
“In my email to Patient A dated 14 November 2012 I said “…I also feel you should see Serge Benhayon one day sooner than later to help you – as your physical medicine is going well otherwise…..” At the time that I sent the email to Patient A I thought that I was clear that Mr Benhayon was not offering physical medical treatment. Mr Benhayon offers “spiritual healing” which, to my observation, can be used to complement conventional medicine, much in the same way many people find benefit from meditation or religion when they suffer from chronic illness. In hindsight I accept that I did not make that distinction clear to Patient A……….
I acknowledge that I did not make sufficiently clear to Patient A the distinction between the conventional medicine I was providing as her thoracic physician and the complementary therapies I recommended she pursue with Mr Ringe, Ms Jugovic, Dr Serafin and Mr Benhayon.” Paragraph 41
Dr Kim said there had been a campaign to discredit Universal Medicine, describing it as a cult, and when he first received the complaint he felt Patient A may have been part of that ‘conspiracy’. He said he still considers Patient A may have colluded with the people trying to defame both him and Universal Medicine. Paragraph 107
Universal Medicine is doing a very good job of defaming itself. See Our Mission page for a summary of issues of concern and regulatory actions taken so far.
I’ve voiced strong concerns and made official notifications and submissions about UM’s practices for almost five years. UM made national news for bullying those of us who put our names to official complaints. Two of us who’ve put our names to online commentary have been called liars, cyber-bullies and ‘trolls’. Since 2015 I’ve been defending two defamation claims for stating the bleeding obvious.
In 2012 I made complaints to the HCCC about the doctors promoting UM and referring vulnerable patients. The HCCC did not investigate. Instead, it stated in a letter that the doctors are ‘entitled to provide their personal opinions’ and ‘to refer patients to other services as they feel appropriate’. Five years later the Professional Standards Committee of the Medical Council ended up asking the same questions I had, and reached similar conclusions to mine.
The report will also look wonderful in my legal defences.
Referrals to the UM cartel
According to the decision, Patient A was sent to Dr Sam Kim’s soon to be wife for useless Esoteric Lung Massage. Next, the patient paid good money to Neil Ringe for Esoteric Chakra-puncture. I imagine that entailed an earful of how the acupuncture rip off helps patients to be ‘who they truly are’. And little else.
Dr Kim explained that chakra puncture uses needling, but more superficial needling than is used in acupuncture. He said chakra puncture is based on the natural flow of energy as described in the Science of Nadis. Dr Kim believes that it has been in existence for about 16 years, but also has origins in ancient Egyptian times. He stated that chakra puncture is an internationally recognised therapy, although Universal Medicine is the only group which practices and teaches chakra puncture. Paragraph 60
Dr Kim also prescribed unwarranted hormone therapy in consultation with UM’s pharmacist, Dr Michael Serafin of Ballina Compounding Chemist. Serafin is described at paragraph 103 as a ‘non-medically trained pharmacist’. He also has his own serious trouble with AHPRA. Last year he was placed on conditional registration after an adverse event related to one of his intravenous preparations. The story made the Sydney Morning Herald. He is prohibited from compounding, dispensing and supplying ‘Myers Cocktail’ supplement preparations, as well as preparations containing the amino acid glutathione.
In addition, since that investigation, Serafin has also been prohibited from compounding, supplying or dispensing Ketamine. Ketamine is an anaesthetic, also known as ‘Special K‘. It’s a Schedule 8 controlled drug and can only be prescribed by physicians with a special permit. Doesn’t quite fit with UM’s holier than thou Esoteric image, so watch that space.
Serafin regularly plugs UM, and is a presenter for their troubled College of Universal Medicine charity. The charity had its Deductible Gift Recipient status revoked by the ATO following our complaints. None of the directors have answered my questions on the whereabouts of its $600k gift fund. It appears those assets were confiscated.
By the time Dr Kim referred Patient A to UM physiotherapist Kate Greenaway, and the maestro, Serge Benhayon, she’d had enough.
Dr Kim’s referrals to the Esoteric cartel delayed appropriate medical care, prolonging her pain. The useless therapies wasted her money and time.
Dr Yates says that at the time of the referral for esoteric lung massage Patient A was suffering from chest pain, joint/hip/rib pain and generalised symptoms of fatigue and malaise and it would have been usual to refer her to a rheumatologist and/or endocrinologist. Consideration should also have been given to referral to a Pain Clinic. She believes that at the time of the referral the avenues for conventional medical treatment had not been exhausted. (31)
The Committee is satisfied that Dr Kim’s conduct was contrary to Clause 3 of the CHC as he recommended esoteric lung massage, an unproven and unaccepted treatment, without broad professional support when other conventional referrals and treatments would have been the usual approach. He did not provide Patient A with enough information to enable informed consent and he acknowledged that she suffered economic harm in having the treatment. (39)
Dr Yates is strongly critical of Dr Kim recommending and prescribing bioidentical HRT, for which there is no sound evidence base. She is also critical of his failing to refer Patient A to an endocrinologist. The Committee accepts Dr Yates’ evidence and is satisfied, on the basis of Dr Kim’s admissions and the available evidence, that Particular 3 is proven. (56)
The Committee is comfortably satisfied that Dr Kim’s conduct, as well as being significantly below the relevant standard, is also improper and unethical conduct. (81)
From the expert witness Dr Yates:
When asked whether she considered Universal Medicine to be a form of complementary medicine, akin to acupuncture and herbalism or whether it was more like a religion, Dr Yates stated that she didn’t think of it as a religion, but rather as an attitude towards the origins of illness and its treatment. She said it affects an attitude which conventional medicine abandoned in the 19th century and this heightens the need to clearly distinguish for patients the difference between conventional medicine and Universal Medicine. Particularly as it is unclear, given it is a relatively new organisation, how Universal Medicine’s training programs are accredited. Paragraph 73.
It’s not in the report but Dr Kim is one of the ‘honorary Patrons and Consulting Medical Advisors‘ for Benhayon’s in house ‘accreditation body’, the Esoteric Practitioners Association.
From the 2015 NSW Parliamentary Inquiry Report that slammed UM:
3.29 The treatments offered were devised by the organisation’s founder and while the organisation provides courses and qualifications for practitioners, they are not accredited.
UM is not a registered training organization and therefore can’t offer officially recognized accreditation.
The real victim was Dr Kim. According to Dr Kim.
Dr Kim drew a distinction between his personal beliefs and his professional practice, and strongly denied that Universal Medicine influenced his practice as a thoracic physician. The Committee considered that he has not fully understood the extent to which his association with Universal Medicine and ‘esoteric practitioners’ has influenced his practice as a thoracic physician, nor that his bias toward Universal Medicine practices potentially put Patient A at risk.
However, at the end of his evidence Dr Kim said he now appreciates that his connection with Universal Medicine does bias his practice in relation to referrals and that his may have been the case with Patient A. Dr Kim’s delay in coming to this realisation may explain why, from the making of the complaint until the last day of the Committee’s proceedings, he failed to acknowledge the potential harm to Patient A in recommending non-evidence based treatments and Universal Medicine practitioners, in preference to medical specialists and allied health practitioners. He did not express any appreciation of the impact of his actions on a very ill and vulnerable patient. Nor did he express contrition. Paragraphs 104-5
The committee didn’t buy it.
The Committee is comfortably satisfied that Dr Kim’s conduct, as well as being significantly below the relevant standard, is also improper and unethical conduct. Paragraph 86
The Committee found that Dr Kim’s evidence was not always clear or coherent. His oral evidence was at times contradictory and on other occasions, his oral evidence was not consistent with his written statements. When challenged, his responses to these inconsistencies failed to adequately clarify the issue. Paragraph 97
At times Dr Kim did not appear to be a reliable witness. He stated that he was using an information sheet for patients but when asked to provide a copy conceded that the document was still in production and not yet in use. There were also times where he appeared to prevaricate or respond to questions in a tangential manner. For example, he attempted to minimise his association with Universal Medicine by challenging questions asked about that association. Paragraph 99
The Council’s action against Dr Kim may not have been swift but it was decisive. There’s too much to list here, but he’s prohibited from making referrals to complementary health practitioners without seeking a second opinion from a fully qualified specialist. He’s undergoing supervision, he’s now required to align with Medical Council policy and fully explain the difference between evidence based and non evidence based medicine to patients. His practice is being audited. A specialist appointed by the Council will check his files for further evidence of misconduct.
The full conditions on Dr Kim’s practice are summarized on the AHPRA website.
Questions for Dr Kim
Foundational Breast Care is another Universal Medicine front, run by Esoteric Womens Health and the Esoteric Practitioners Association to push Esoteric Breast Massage and the practitioner training swindle that goes with it. It’d be interesting to know what the Committee would have concluded if they’d been able to consider these promotions as part of the complaint. Dr Kim misleadingly links the controversial practice to breast cancer prevention, breast disorders in general, and any other thing he can cook up.
Who knows what this means:
Such promotions don’t get much support from Dr Kim’s non UM affiliated peers.
— #hellomynameis DrTim (@timsenior) June 9, 2016
Otherwise, I’ve taken Dr Kim to task in the past for his bogus ‘research study‘ into Esoteric Lung Massage. He’s also a frequent contributor to UM blogs and websites where he contributes pseudoscience and devotions to Benhayon. Not to mention the concerning remarks Serge Benhayon made on audio to a large UM audience stating Dr Kim had assisted patients to die.
Questions for UM’s invested health professionals
As I’ve asserted for years, Dr Kim is not the only compromised medical specialist mindlessly banging the UM marketing drum. Five other specialists grace the internet selling ‘miracle cures’, with NHS surgeon Eunice Minford extending the madness to promoting the enterprise’s commercial exorcisms and pseudoscientific butchering of quantum physics. For the love of Serge.
None of the six medical specialists and three GPs selling Serge have risen to answering our questions.
Finally, we shouldn’t forget the group’s psychologists flogging ‘miracle pain relief‘ that isn’t, and supernatural entity possession. One was put on conditional registration for her public devotionals. Another directed to undergo counselling.
Unfortunately it took four years for the Health Care Complaints Commission to reach the decision on Dr Kim. We may never know how many vulnerable patients have been adversely effected by this group. The fact more of UM’s health professionals haven’t been investigated or faced tougher disciplinary action is a matter of serious public concern.
Universal Medicine slammed by NSW Parliamentary Inquiry – excerpts Professor Dwyer’s testimony at the public hearing