ROCHELLE, Ga. – A doctor is accused of assisting an unlicensed practitioner who allegedly treats cancer patients with a flesh-eating herbal paste that leaves them with horrible disfigurements, including mutilated breasts.
Georgia's board of medical examiners has accused Lois March (search), an ear, nose and throat specialist, of aiding and abetting Dan Raber's (search) practice over the last three years by providing pain medication to patients who had received the treatments. One patient's flesh was eaten so badly from his shoulder that the bone was exposed.
Raber is under investigation and could face a felony charge of practicing medicine without a license. Raber, who has declined interview requests, claims on his Web site to offer a paste made with bloodroot that dissolves cancerous tissue, and when used in conjunction with his enzyme tablets, can eliminate cancer from the body.
The medical board said seven patients had sought treatment from Raber for breast cancer and that March knew or should have known that his use of the paste "mutilated their breasts and caused excruciating pain."
"All I can tell you is I'm not guilty," March said when reached by telephone at her office. "These are wild accusations that aren't true."
March can respond to the charges, but if her efforts fail she could lose her license to practice medicine in Georgia.
Raber's Web site advises those considering his treatments to arrange for pain management through a licensed physician. "This allows the doctor to help the patient take care of his health the way he, the patient, sees fit! Yet it allows the doctor to stay out of jail," the site says.
The board contends Raber was practicing medicine without a license — which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. No charges have been filed but prosecutors say they are reviewing the allegations.
Raber claims his paste contains bloodroot, an extract from the root of a flower that grows throughout the eastern United States and Canada. Juice from the bloodroot plant is classified as an escharotic, a substance that can kill human tissue.
Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council (search), said bloodroot has been used for years by nontraditional healers to treat skin cancers but he acknowledged "the efficacy has been unproven from a scientific point of view."
Raber's Web site includes disclaimers that note that the products lack government approval but he could still run into problems with the FDA, which has the authority to regulate herbal remedies that make claims about treating or curing diseases.