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Doctor's Attack "60 Minutes" Short Story
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen - January 16th, 2005
CBS has a well-deserved BAD reputation among News journalists. It's a fact one considers when dealing with them. Yet, I wasn't a bit hesitant to let them into Jim Shortt's story - for good reason - the old adage "There's no such thing as bad press."
There's a war going on in North America between the forces of "Health" and "Medicine." "Health" is winning, not because it has more money and power, but because the people of North America, and the world, have found out that there is a definite difference between the two - and that it is better to be healthy than medicated.
In fact, it is becoming clear that the two are opposites.
The CBS "60 Minutes" story about Jim Shortt is accomplishing exactly what we want it to do - public reaction.
One of those many reactions comes from a professional group of doctors who took the time to both analyze the accusations against Jim Shortt MD up front - and write a report, and then offered to speak, on camera, to CBS "60 Minutes" about their professional findings. CBS ignored both their findings, and their offer to speak on camera. I've included a copy of the letter from their President, Robert Rowan MD, below.
Why did CBS do that? Good question.
What CBS did do was to film an elected official with NO MEDICAL training, who was quoting the findings of a medical examiner who, in the Courtroom hearing, testified that he was relying only on a non-professional opinion provided to him by a known crackpot organization, in his decision.
So, why would CBS do that? Again, a good question.
Here's Rowan's letter to CBS Associate Producer Jessica Haddad...
I appreciated your message about the upcoming broadcast, but it came a bit late - only hours before the show. I had other plans tonight. However, I was able to listen to it while out of the office.
Here are my initial comments. I will give you a more detailed response later, when I view the tape of the show that you promised me. I request that you send it.
First, let me say that you promised us a fair and balanced piece. Iím disappointed we did not get it. You had the opportunity to do some tough investigative reporting, but you didnít take advantage of it. Consider the following:
(1) Your report left out substantial amounts evidence on Dr. Shorttís defense. I and the other professionals gave you hours and hours of time and lots of science. You did not present one shred of that science for the public. Your report also didnít mention the position paper of the International Oxidative Medicine Association and the fact that two of its board members (including myself) are past or current sitting members of a state professional board.
(2) Your report made inaccurate medical assumptions. Your team made a passing reference to the fact that the deceased was on the drugs for over a year. Your assumption is that (a) it couldnít have been the drugs, and (b) that if you take drugs that long and there are no toxic effects, the drugs must be okay for you. Please tell that to the 129,000 Americans or their families who were killed by Vioxx. It is public information that they had to be on that chemical for many months for the toxicity to brew to the boiling point. Youíre incorrectly assuming that there could not have been adverse drug effects since they did not happen within the first several months.
(3) Your report didnít look at all the facts. You failed to mention that the symptoms the deceased had at the emergency room. These were exactly identical to the published and listed adverse effects of the prescription drugs she was given the day before. You could have found this information in any Physiciansí Desk Reference (available at your library). No patient in the history of hydrogen peroxide therapy has ever demonstrated these symptoms. Presenting this information would have given the public a fair opportunity to judge the case accurately.
(4) You did not ask the opposition to present even one scientific document demonstrating that peroxide, administered by our standards, causes any significant problems at all. I provided you significant information on its safe continuous use since the great flu pandemic of 1918. You were also provided with data, both scientific and statistical, about hydrogen peroxide therapy. You used none of it. Over one million people have been successfully treated with this therapy worldwide, with NO reports of death. Yet you allowed an elected official, with no medical training, to suggest that people are dying all over the United States from this therapy. Why was that not challenged? You also allowed insinuations that those who benefited must be lunatics suffering from placebo effects. Why are benefits from anything but prescription drugs always placebo effects? Most of those seeking alternatives are people who have tried doctor after doctor and chemical after chemical. Surely a placebo effect would have been seen earlier with the green triangle pill or the blue square pill, rather than a needle stick and IV infusion. Peroxide gets the person better after everything else failed and itís a placebo effect? Peroxide saves a man from a suggested lung transplant because of sarcoidosis-induced respiratory failure and itís a placebo? My own mom had her pulmonary sarcoidosis resolved with peroxide administered by me. Please donít tell me thatís placebo.
(5) Your report allowed accusations against Dr. Shortt to go unchallenged, essentially convicting him in the press of a cancer patientís death. The patient with prostate cancer was near death and was written off by any standard of care by his own oncologist. Dr. Shortt intervened only to improve the quality of life. He acted in good faith trying to ease the patientís suffering? To accuse him of murder would be akin to accusing hospice of killing all the cancer patients it helps every year with pain relievers.
(6) Finally, you allowed a disgruntled patient to accuse Dr. Shortt of a money-oriented practice scam. You should have given Dr. Shortt opportunity to tell what he makes in a year Ė $50,000 (much less than a California office nurse makes)! This is a corrupt money scam? It would have been obvious that heís doing his work to help people.
Right now, 80% of the American public uses alternatives, and I believe you missed a huge opportunity to serve that public with solid investigative reporting. Please consider doing a follow-up report that presents the real facts of this story, which I sent you earlier, and shows the true colors of the drug companies. With the recent Vioxx and Celebrex news, the wave of public scrutiny is moving rapidly against the drug companies. When the truth about this case comes out, you can either ride that wave or you can look bad when it comes crashing down. Iíd like to give you the opportunity to do the former and with very dramatic recently published hard science.
Robert Jay Rowen, MD
President, International Oxidation Medicine Association
Editor-in-Chief, Second Opinion Newsletter