Washington Integrative Medicine Association
Washington Integrative Medicine Association

Washington Integrative Medicine Association

Contact us:

Rue Teissere, no.24 0600 Cannes
Phone: +33 (0) 9399 7987
Fax: +33 (0) 5499 7987


Innovation is a cherished goal in all human endeavors but inherent in this drive is risk.  Medical doctors are steeped in the ethos of minimizing risk while enhancing benefit.  Our lineage derives from either Hippocrates or the Roman physician Galen both of whom admonished their students  “Primum Non Nocere”  – “First Do No Harm” .  So that is the rub, how might a doctors innovate without harming or subjecting patients to “unreasonable risk of harm”.

The  practice of conforming to the “standard of care”, by definition   abhors innovation and state medical boards use this nebulous consensus to enforce conformity and discourage innovation.  This is somewhat ironic since, like pornography which, according to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart is hard to define by easily recognized ( “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced but I know it when I see it.”) the standard of care is quite a nebulous construct which on account of its imprecision, can be arbitrarily invoked to constrain even harmless “innovation”.

Furthermore, even practices which exceed the standard of care are considered suspect by state medical boards and require extraordinary collaboration between patient and doctor (i.e. clear informed consents and careful step by step advancement of protocol with careful assessment at each step). Why is this important? Well, when you or a loved one suffers from an illness like cancer and are about to become a traumatized casualty in the universally acknowledged failed “war on cancer”, it is past time for welcoming innovation! Today in our fair state of Washington, the state medical board claims to be “expert” in determining what treatment modalities are harmful. The opinion of the patient who might be gratefully receiving an innovative treatment is demeaned by the state medical board and over the patient’s objection, a ruling of “unreasonable risk of harm” is decreed against innovative doctors who offer treatment which is “above and beyond the standard of care”.

All this harassment of innovative doctors is happening despite an excellent law passed over 20 years ago but who spirit is twisted by the state. Here is the good law and watch what has happened to it!

The Good Law

Over a decade ago, the Washington State Legislature changed the laws in this state to allow alternative and unconventional medical practices. The following is the relevant portion of Washington State RCW 18.130.010 Section 34, lines 4-7, which the citizens and legislators inserted in order to guarantee health care choice, “to wit”…
“The use of a nontraditional treatment by itself shall not constitute unprofessional conduct, provided that it does not result in injury to a patient or create an unreasonable risk that a patient may be harmed.”

That intent sounds reasonable and indeed this law reflects the spirit of citizens of Washington State who think that they are entitled to freedom of choice in selecting among a variety of health care options. However, we have an untenable situation now whereby the state medical board claims to be the sole arbiter of what constitutes harm!  Your opinion, dear patient, is not of interest to the state medical board!

(NOTE: Washingtonians LIKE being able to choose whatever type of health care they consider to be in their best interest!)

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