Doctor who gave patient medical history to Universal Medicine ‘cult’ stands down from AMA ABC News Online 2/5/18
Last year, the NSW Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) investigated a complaint that private medical information was improperly disclosed by lung specialist Dr Samuel Kim to head of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon. The IPC made its finding in March.
The specialist has also stood down from his role as a Council member for the Australian Medical Association’s Queensland branch.
Dr Kim was elected last year as a greater Brisbane area representative on the AMA Queensland council, which makes “by-laws about ethical considerations (including handling complaints related to the profession)”.
Last May, shortly before his election, a medical professional standards committee of the NSW Medical Council found Dr Kim made “significant ethical errors and failings in respect of proper professional standards” in another case of referring a patient to UM practitioners, including Mr Benhayon. ABC News Online
Dr Kim practices from the Universal Medicine clinic in Goonellabah, is a long term adherent of UM’s Way of the Livingness spiritual movement, and is a passionate promoter of UM’s commercial quackery. He was in the news last year after being reprimanded by the Professional Standards Committee of the Medical Council of NSW. He was found to have inappropriately prescribed medication outside of his specialty and to have improperly referred a patient to UM affiliated Esoteric practitioners whilst failing to refer her to appropriate medical specialists. The Committee found Dr Kim to be an unreliable witness who showed no insight or remorse over his misconduct.
The ABC also reported on the despicable outing of a former UM client. Universal Medicine’s vicious propagandists named the person as someone diagnosed with a mental illness, and published photographs of him and his partner. The UM Facts Team, spearheaded by Alison Greig, vilified him in a grossly discriminatory way – attacking his credibility on the basis of a mental health diagnosis. It was payback from UM, similar to Scientology’s policy of ‘Fair Game’. He’d blogged about his experience of UM toxicity. In UM, no challenge to its coercive orthodoxy goes unpunished. The victim had blogged under a pseudonym, and did not identify themselves at any point.
Former Queensland mental health commissioner Lesley van Schoubroeck said it was “entirely inappropriate for any organisation, particularly one purporting to be a health organisation, to publicly reveal identifying information of anyone’s diagnosis, be it mental health or physical health”. ABC News Online
No consequences for improper disclosure of private information
I first blogged concerns about UM’s predatory privacy invasions in 2013. I questioned why a complementary ‘healing’ corporation headed by an unqualified, self-styled guru, that employs no health professionals, was seeking very detailed medical information from participants at five hour healing workshops. UM sought disclosure of HIV and Hepatitis B status, medical and psychiatric history, medications, and ‘major life events’. The disclosures were made under the guise of ‘consent’ to the terms and conditions of attending Livingness workshops.
In 2016 I revisited the issue when UM come out of its occult closet and for the first time in 16 years began publicly promoting its commercial exorcism services. NHS surgeon and Esoteric dogmatist, Eunice Minford authored one of the promotional articles. UM to this day seeks detailed medical information from everyone who registers for any of their one day workshops.
Even those who bought tickets to the the nasty Girl to Woman grooming festival, recently held in Melbourne, had to sign a waiver allowing UM to photograph them and their kids, and to use the photographs in cult publicity and for ‘internal purposes’.
Whatever that means.
What is Universal Medicine doing with this information? The consent and registration forms come with no explanation of why participants are required to make detailed personal disclosures or how that information will be used.
It’s not needed for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes because the UM corporation proprietors and practitioners, the Benhayon tribe of overrated underachievers, don’t have any qualifications to warrant the gathering of such info.
We can only surmise that it’s used for predatory marketing, or potentially for the improper purposes that other unscrupulous groups have used private disclosures. For blackmail, extortion and payback.
Scientology is known to keep very detailed files of disclosures made by its targets in auditing sessions, and to use that information against dissenters. Multimillion dollar personal development racket NXIVM (Nexium), whose leader Keith Raniere and his deputy, Alison Mack were recently indicted in New York State for sex trafficking offences, has been described as running a ‘blackmail based pyramid scheme‘.
The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal woke a lot of people up to the fact that personal data is a commodity. Cults and other high demand groups have long been exploiting the privacy of members. Such groups metastasise via dishonesty and bullying. They mislead people into joining, manipulate followers into becoming operatives for the cause, and then bully those who witness their misconduct into silence.
We have a gaping hole in Australian law in that there is no established tort of privacy. Dr Kim was found to be in breach. At present victims can only hold him liable through the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal at the victim’s expense. The awards of damages are unlikely to cover legal costs. That has to change. Currently there are no serious consequences for this unethical behaviour.
Moreover, UM’s conduct with its clients’ personal information demonstrates that the corporation isn’t just actively harvesting data, but more than willing to maliciously use it against perceived enemies. To try and keep them quiet.