Marijuana: Uncertain medicine
California’s medical board has revoked a Hollywood doctor’s license after he suggested pot cookies to treat a 4-year-old boy who had temper tantrums in the classroom, according to board records.
Dr. William Eidelman made the cannabis recommendation for the boy after giving him a “grossly negligent” probable diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder, which are serious enough that they carry “life-long significance” for a patient, the board said.
“Tantrums alone … do not support either diagnosis,” the board’s decision said, adding that nothing in Eidelman’s chart notes from the 2012 visit backed up the diagnoses. “‘Being agitated’ and ‘having trouble sitting still’ hint at ADHD, but could simply hint at a preschooler not happy to have driven many miles to a doctor’s appointment.”
The father said he took his son to Eidelman, 69, to get medical marijuana — just as he had for himself — because the boy was having trouble behaving in school, and his teacher had threatened to kick him out, the decision said. The appointment lasted 20 or 30 minutes, and Eidelman didn’t witness any of the reported tantrums, according to the board.
An accusation filed by the state attorney general’s office said Eidelman didn’t try to contact the school to check on the boy’s symptoms. Eidelman told the father to “determine the dosage to be given to the boy” himself, the accusation said.
No standard treatments for ADHD or bipolar disorder were recommended, according to the attorney general’s office.
Once the father got the pot cookies, he gave them to his son in the mornings, which helped improve the child’s behavior early in the day; but “in the afternoon, however, the behavior returned,” the decision said. Eventually the father went to the school nurse and asked her to give the boy more cannabis at lunch, which launched a child protective services and law enforcement investigation, according to the medical board.
Previously, Eidelman had given a medical marijuana recommendation to the father for his older son, the board said.
Advising the parent to give marijuana to the child wasn’t the problem, according to the board’s decision; the problem was the diagnoses. The board also said Eidelman’s medical record-keeping was “inadequate.”
“Although he did not outright suggest a diagnosis … he all but made one up out of whole cloth,” the board’s decision said.
Eidelman’s license was revoked Jan. 4, but he claims to still be practicing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Tracy Green, Eidelman’s attorney, said the board’s decision has been appealed and that a San Francisco judge halted the license revocation until a March hearing, according to the Times.
“The judge ruled that the revocation is stayed, so yes, I’m still practicing,” Eidelman said, according to the Times.
But the medical board’s website said the license is revoked, and Carlos Villatoro, a spokesman for the board, said the “Medical Board of California has not received a court order indicating that the revocation was stayed. Accordingly, Eidelman’s license is currently revoked,” the Times reported.