Seven years ago, the Maryland Board of Physicians suspended the medical license of then Dr. Mark Geier. Geier had been on mainstream medicine’s grievance list for some time due to his belief that vaccines may cause autism. Geier was officially suspended by the board due to “treating autistic children with a drug considered dangerous for young people and not known to alleviate symptoms of the disorder.”
But this morning, according to the Washington Post, those medical professionals who moved to relieve Geier of his medical credentials may now be on the hook to pay tens of thousands of dollars to Geier for “humiliating Geier and his family.”
According to the article in the Post.
The board posted a cease-and-desist order on its website in 2012 alleging that Geier had improperly prescribed medication for himself, his wife and his son while his license was suspended. In an unusual move, the order named the drugs in question. Online critics of Geier took notice, mocking the doctor and his family in blogs and comments for their use of the medications.
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The Geiers say the state publicized those details for vengeance, to punish a doctor with unconventional ideas. State officials say it was an honest mistake.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin feels strongly that the Geiers are in the right and has ruled against the officials to a tune of 2.5 million in awarded damages. Judge Rubin justified his decision citing a severe breach in medical privacy.
“If their testimony were to be believed, which the court does not, it is the worst case of collective amnesia in the history of Maryland government and on par with the collective memory failure on display at the Watergate hearings,” Rubin wrote in a December opinion.
A total of 14 board appointees, as well as the board’s lead attorney and the lead investigator on the Geier case now have to pay half of the damages personally which comes to between $10,000 and $200,000 each (roughly depending on their personal worth).
The defendants, of course, are none-too-thrilled.
“I felt Judge Rubin had a bone to pick with the Board of Physicians. Some of the stuff he came up with is outlandish,” said Jonathan Lerner, who left the board last year. “He set the tone for the future that no one else would want to serve on a board.”