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Doctors Behaving Badly: Faith Healer Finally Steps Outside Medical Board's Good Graces

Doctors Behaving Badly: Faith Healer Finally Steps Outside Medical Board's Good Graces

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When medical board investigators questioned Dr. Robbi Borjeson about what she had done to treat a patient suffering from a severe case of diabetes, she responded: "I prayed over him."

Borjeson had visited the patient's home in January 2000, where she found him complaining of "fatigue, weight loss, increased thirst, increased urination and sores on his tongue," according to the . She told him take some vitamins.

Two weeks later, his condition was worse. She told him to drink more water.

That night, he became unresponsive and had to be taken to the Mayo Clinic. That was where Borjeson prayed for him, and, in a self-described act of self-sacrifice, became sick because of him.

The staff at the ICU would not speak to me directly but only through his wife. So I prayed to remove his illness through me. He improved steadily through the next three days, during which time I became very ill.

Lucky for him, Borjeson said, because the patient "probably should not have survived this ordeal but was soon moved from intensive care to a medical floor."

In October 2002, a judge awarded the man, who suffered from and , a $1.5 million judgment against Borjeson.

The Arizona Medical Board, like most boards, leaves it up to the doctor to report judgments. If a hospital is involved, they are supposed to report, too. The only reason the board heard about Borjeson's case is because the malpractice attorney for the patient sent a copy of the judgment to the board in April 2007.When it investigated, the board found that the patient had "sustained permanent injury...he was determined to be permanently disabled as a result."

Between 2002 and 2007, Borjeson's medical views veered even father outside medical norms. For example, she claimed that a government-sponsored is spreading "."

The Arizona Medical Board had previous run-ins with Borjeson. In 1996, when Borjeson was five years out of medical school, the board ordered her to "continue psychological treatment with a Board-approved psychologist, to practice medicine only in a structured setting, and to submit to random biological fluid testing." She failed to comply and was in 1997.

Yet, even with a patient hospitalized for lack of treatment, the board was willing to give Borjeson another chance. It decided to ask her if she would consent to be put on probation for two years. That would have allowed her to go on recommending vitamin therapy for people whose kidneys were failing.

But the board couldn't reach Borjeson with this sweetheart deal. It mailed her the proposal in November 2007. The letter was returned. In January 2008, the board tried again at a different address. No response.

It took the board nearly two more years to take Borjeson's license away.

Antidote does not discount the power of faith in the healing process, but licensed physicians should follow the medical laws of their states or stop calling themselves doctors. Similarly, medical boards should give patients a reason to have faith in the integrity of the licensing system.

Comments

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You appear to know a lot about Dr. Borjeson. How did you happen to learn about her and this case?

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