Chelationist Disciplined for
Alleged Unsanitary Conditions

Stephen Barrett, M.D.


In 2007, Leonard Haimes, M.D., who practiced chelation therapy in Boca Raton, Florida, was fined $7,500, assessed $3,730.64 in costs, and ordered to take certain continuing education courses. The Palm Beach County Health Department investigated his clinic after two of his patients developed infections. The administrative complaint (shown below) charged that two subsequent visits revealed that he had not followed the recommendations for correcting the situation. The case was settled with a stipulated agreement under which Haimes did not admit fault but agreed to the above-mentioned provisions. This was the second time Haines was disciplined by the Florida Medical Board. In 1999, he was reprimanded, ordered to submit to professional evaluation, and fined $1,500 based on failure to keep adequate medical records.

Haimes came to my attention in 2010 after NIOSH investigators evaluated a suspected outbreak of antimony toxicity among fire fighters in Boca Raton, Florida who had been wearing fire-retardant pants that contained various chemicals. The investigation was triggered by inappropriate hair and urine tests Haimes had ordered. A thorough evaluation found no real evidence of toxicity.

In 2012. Haimes's license was suspended and ultimately revoked for prescribing large quantities of oxycodone and other controlled drugs to several patients without medical justification. He died in July 2014.


STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH,

PETITIONER,

v.

LEONARD HAIMES, M.D.,

RESPONDENT.

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CASE NO. 2006-03148

ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT

COMES NOW, Petitioner, Department of Health, by and through its undersigned counsel, and files this Administrative Complaint before the Board of Medicine against the Respondent, Leonard Haimes, M.D., and in support thereof alleges:

1. Petitioner is the state department charged with regulating the practice of medicine pursuant to Section 20.43, Florida Statutes; Chapter 456, Florida Statutes; and Chapter 458, Florida Statutes.

2. At all times material to this Complaint, Respondent was a licensed physician within the State of Florida, having been issued license number ME 7603.

3. Respondent's address of record is 7300 North Federal Highway, #100, Boca Raton, FL 33487.

 4. On or about May 18, 2005, the Palm Beach County Health Department, Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control (PBCH), conducted an inspection of Respondent's· office (Haimes Centre Clinic). .

5. PBCH conducted the investigation following reports that two of Respondent's chelation therapy patients became infected with Enterobacter agglomerans (a bacteria associated with serious systemic infections).

6. On or about June 27, 2005, PBCH sent a letter to Respondent outlining several violations of standard infection control practices as follows:

a) The staff member who administered IV (intravenous) solutions needed current education about the preparation and administration of intravenous solutions;

b) The staff member who prepared and administered IV solutions did not wash his hands between patients nor before and after glove use;

c) The laboratory specimens were not processed and stored away from areas used for the preparation of IV's;

d) The IV preparation area was inappropriate because it was open to the patient area and it was carpeted;

e) The area where patients rested their arms while receiving IV therapy was covered with cloth and needed to be covered in an easily cleanable vinyl;

f) The small pillows placed under patients' arms while receiving IV therapy needed to be replaced with pillows with changeable covers, so they may be cleaned;

g) Single dose vials were inappropriately being used more than once;

h) Outdated medications were not discarded properly;

i) Patients received IV therapy on fabric chairs when vinyl chairs were available and more sanitary.

7. The letter offered recommendations and requested Respondent's compliance with the recommendations within fourteen days.

8. On or about December 8, 2005, PBCH conducted another unannounced visit to Respondent's clinic.

9. PBCH discovered that Respondent failed to follow the previous recommendations in several ways.

10. On or about January 23, 2006, PBCH wrote a letter to Respondent addressing the findings of the December 8, 2005 visit.

11. The letter sent by PBCH noted that Respondent failed to provide education to the Staff member responsible for the administration of the intravenous solutions; failed to move the IV preparation area to the kitchen; failed to implement the use of vinyl chairs in the area where patients receive therapy; and failed to discard all out-dated medications.

12. On or about February 13, 2006, PBCH made another visit to Respondent's clinic.

13. Following the February 13, 2006 visit, PBCH noted that the person administering the IV fluids still had not been educated and all food items had not been removed from the IV preparation area.

14. Section 458.331(1)(g), Florida Statutes (2005), provides that failure to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensed physician constitutes grounds  for disciplinary action by the Board of Medicine.

15. Rule-64.B8-9.0075(1), Florida Administrative Code, requires Florida licensed physicians and physician assistants to provide their patients appropriate medical care under sanitary conditions.

16. Respondent failed to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon him as a licensed 'physician due to one or more of the following:

a) By failing to operate his clinic under sanitary conditions;

b) By failing to timely comply with the recommendations of PBCH.

17. Based on the foregoing, Respondent violated Section 458.331(1)(g), Florida Statutes (2005), when Respondent failed to operate his clinic under sanitary conditions; and/or when Respondent failed to timely comply with the recommendations of PBCH.

WHEREFORE, the Petitioner respectfully requests that the Board of Medicine enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties: permanent revocation or suspension of Respondent's license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fee, issuance of a reprimand, placement of the Respondent on probation, corrective action, refund of fees billed or collected, remedial education and/or any other relief that the Board deems appropriate.

M. Rony Francois, M.D., M.S.P.H., Ph.D
Secretary, Department of Health

_____________________
Allison M . Dudley
Assistant General Counsel
Florida Bar No. 159913
DOH, Prosecution Services Unit
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin # C-65
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3265
(850) 245-4640 Office

This page was revised on Marchh 23, 2016.

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