Steven Harris- Reprimanded for intravenous garlic

Chronic Lyme royalty

Steven Harris is a bit of a VIP in the chronic Lyme alternate universe world. He is the son of IgeneX founder and ILADS cofounder Nick Harris. He also has taken active roles in ILADS and Lymedisease.org, formerly CALDA.  All three of these organizations are known for spreading inaccurate information about Lyme disease.

In 2008, Steven Harris gave a talk at the “Lyme-Autism Connection Conference” in which he disclosed that he was a “clinical consultant” (i.e. financially connected) to IgeneX and on the medical advisory board of QMedRx. There is no connection between Lyme disease and autism.

A 2010 scathing review by the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) of the ILADS guidelines called them “not evidence-based” and “poorly constructed”.  HPA also warned that use of the ILADS guidelines “will result in a very high risk of misdiagnosis” and “result in inappropriate treatment and potentially serious morbidity.”

Steven Harris was treating actor and musician Kris Kristofferson, according to his wife Lisa Kristofferson.

Treats “Lyme disease” where it is rare

Steven Harris is board certified in Family Medicine and has no recognized certification in infectious diseases. He practices in California, where real Lyme disease is fairly rare.

A 2014 study of ticks in Northern California showed Lyme bacteria in only 3.6% of ticks collected. California had 90 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2016.

Serious charges and horrific-sounding treatments

In 2013, the Medical Board of California charged Steven Harris with Gross Negligence and/or Repeated Negligent Acts and/or Incompetence with respect to three patients, T.L., A.P., and L.H.. Most people would consider the alleged treatment of the patients appalling.  Also, all these drug cocktails, lab tests, and doctors visits for unsubstantiated diagnoses must have cost a fortune.

These are depressing stories. You have to think that California’s Lyme quack protection law was effective in protecting Steven Harris from receiving more than a slap on the wrist (though we don’t know for sure what led to the weak disciplinary action). In the end, L.H. was ignored. The Reprimand only applies to the intravenous garlic prescribed to Patients A.P. and T.L.

According to the Complaint, L.H. was 13 years old when Steven Harris began treating her in 2006. He treated her for years with bizarre drug combinations. Negative tests didn’t stop him. There wasn’t any good evidence L.H. had Lyme disease or Bartonella. Lyme disease in children is treatable and has an excellent prognosis. There’s no good evidence Bartonella is a tick-borne disease or even requires treatment in most cases.

L.H. suffered life threatening complications from the central line installed to dose her with intravenous drugs:

On or about February 9, 2012, L.H. was admitted to El Camino Hospital with fevers and chills. She was diagnosed as having sepsis due to a Hickman catheter infection, which had been in place for 4.5 years. According to the emergency room physician, L.H.’s mother presented a medication list that identified over 70 medications and homeopathic remedies, including IV Cefuroxime, IV glutathione, and IV Freamine, as well as oral Penicillin and Zyvox.

Steven Harris received no punishment for his treatment of L.H. and continued his “Lyme literate” practice. He even gave a talk in Australia, where there is no compelling evidence of Lyme disease.

Based on the Complaint, the drug cocktails prescribed to A.P. and T.L. seem to be equally horrific as the treatments prescribed to L.H..

It would not be surprising if the physician assistant Y.L. involved in treating A.P. and T.L. was Yvonne Lin Sorenson, Steven Harris’s long time employee. It also would not be surprising if Claire Riendeau was the naturopath C.R. that Steven Harris recommended A.P. consult with. Riendeau’s web site lists Steven Harris as one of her advisors and “currently the clinical consultant for IgeneX, Inc.”

Please read our section on Medical Child Abuse and decide for yourself if this term can be applied to the treatment of L.H..

—– Begin Quote of the Complaint—–

FIRST CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

(Gross Negligence/Repeated Negligent Acts/Incompetence re Patient A.P.)

9. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct under Code section 2234, including subsections (b) and/or (c) and/or (d), in that Respondent was grossly negligent and/or repeatedly negligent and/or incompetent in his care and treatment of Patient A.P.

The circumstances are as follows:

10. Respondent operates Pacific Frontier Medical, Inc. in Redwood City, California. He is board-certified in Family Medicine. According to Respondent’s website, his practice focuses on diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and other tick-borne co-infections.

11. On or about January 14, 2009, A.P., a then 26-year old female patient, was seen at Respondent’s office for evaluation of possible Lyme disease. An initial history and examination was conducted by Y.L., a physician assistant. A.P. reported a tick bite in December 2008 as well as prior tick bites in 2005 or 2006. She did not recall developing any rash or lesions. She reported numerous complaints, including memory problems, fevers, headaches, mood swings, poor sleep, muscle and joint pain, slurred speech, and numbness and tingling in her extremities and face. She reported having been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder as a child. She reported seeing a psychiatrist for depression and questionable borderline personality. She was taking Adderall and Ambien. Y.L. did not find any significant abnormalities on physical examination. Y.L.’s assessment was “multisystemic complaints with recent tick bite.” Zithromax, an antibiotic, was prescribed and laboratory tests were ordered. There is no evidence that Respondent examined A.P. during this initial visit; however, Respondent initialed the patient’s chart.

12. A.P. returned to Respondent’s office on or about February 3, 2009, to review laboratory results. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Western Blots were negative for Lyme disease under the Center for Disease Control (CDC) criteria. Additionally, laboratory results were negative for Babesia; negative for Bartonella; negative for Human Menocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME); and Lyme Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was negative. However, Y.L. noted that IgM Western Blot was positive (apparently under a lower criteria) and that Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE) was positive. Her assessment was “lyme,” “HGE,” and “possible co-infections despite neg tests.” A.P. was continued on Zithromax, and was also prescribed Doxycycline, another antibiotic. She was also started on BLT (Bartonella-Lyme Tincture) and Enula- both herbal remedies. Respondent initialed the patient’s chart.

13. A.P. was next seen by Y.L. for a follow-up examination on March 9, 2009. A.P. continued to have multiple complaints, but no significant objective findings were noted. No vital signs were recorded. A.P. was continued on Zithromax, discontinued on Doxycycline, prescribed Bicillin, another antibiotic, and prescribed Plaquenil and Malarone, both anti-malaria drugs. A.P. was continued on BLT, and started on a “stress buster kit,” “detox and drainage” kit, and “pinella”- all homeopathic and/or herbal remedies. Respondent initialed the patient’s chart.

14. A.P. was next seen by Y.L. on April 6, 2009. Examination revealed “slight inflammation of cuticles on forefingers.” No vital signs were recorded. A.P. ‘s dosage of Bicillin was increased and she was continued on Malarone, Zithromax, and Plaquenil. Alinia, an antiprotozoal drug, and Singulair, a drug used to treat asthma, were also added to her treatment regimen. Respondent initialed the patient’s chart.

15. A.P. was next seen by Y.L. on May 11, 2009. No vital signs were recorded. A.P. was continued on Bicillin, Zithromax, Plaquenil, and Alinia. Mepron, another antiprozoal drug, was added. Respondent was also started on “200 mg of zen.” Respondent initialed the patient’s chart.

16. On June 10, 2009, A.P. was seen by Respondent. Respondent noted that A.P. was “doing poorly with significant fatigue, malaise, weakness, headaches, irritability, and tremors.”

No vital signs were recorded. Respondent’s assessment was “Neurologic Lyme and likely Babesia.” Respondent’s treatment plan included: “continue Bicillin for now;” “use Cat cream and fish oil,” “stop Plaquenil,” “follow-up with Dr. Felch” (a chiropractor); “obtain thyroid, PTH [parathyorid hormone], vitamin D, and neurotransmitters,” and “consider colon hydrotherapy and vitamin D as well as Adrena Calm cream.”

17. A.P. continued to see Respondent and/or Y.L. on approximately a monthly basis through at least March 2011. A.P. ‘s vital signs were not recorded during these visits. Respondent’s last office visit notes for A.P., dated March 30, 2011, show an assessment of Lyme, Bartonella, and Babesia. During this time, Respondent prescribed numerous additional medications, supplements, and herbal remedies, including intravenous (IV) Rocephin, IV Glutathione, L-Drain, K-Drain, UltrainflamX, Biaxin, Minocycline, Darvocet, Chlorella, enzymes, HCL betaine, Actigall, Bactroban, Burbur,; Notatum/Quentens nasal spray; Bronchi Pertu; Lyrica, Trental, IV amino acids; Zenpep; IV Zithromax; IV Invanz; bee venom injections; IV Doxycycline; IV Silver; Cortef; Nuvigil; IV Ketamine; Tindamax; Cipro, Amoxicillin; Artemisinin; Ketek, and IV garlic.

18. At Respondent’s recommendation, A.P. also consulted with and received treatment from Dr. C.R., a naturopath.

19. There is no evidence that Respondent received informed consent from A.P. regarding treatment with IV glutathione, IV amino acids, IV silver, or IV garlic.

20. On or about May 3, 2011, A.P. developed acute and severe symptoms, including abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, after self-administering IV garlic received from Respondent’s office. On May 4, 2011, A.P.’s parents took her to the Good Samaritan emergency room where she was admitted to ICU. She was found to be hypotensive secondary to bacterial sepsis. She was diagnosed as having catheter-related polymicrobial septicemia; candida fungemia; mild renal impairment; mild hepatitis; cavitary lesions/microabesses; and herpetic cold sores. She was hospitalized for 8 days, and discharged on May 11, 2011.

21. Respondent’s overall conduct, acts and/or omissions with regard to patient A.P. constitutes unprofessional conduct through gross negligence and/or repeated acts of negligence and/or incompetence. More specifically, Respondent is guilty of unprofessional conduct with regard to A.P. as follows:

A. Respondent subjected A.P. to unnecessary and unconventional therapeutic regime, including IV garlic, which resulted in serious harm.

B. Respondent prescribed IV Ketamine without medical indication.

C. Respondent did not obtain informed consent regarding treatment with IV glutathione, IV amino acids, or IV garlic.

D. Respondent failed to routinely assess and/or document A.P. ‘s vital signs.

SECOND CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

(Gross Negligence/Repeated Negligent Acts/Incompetence re Patient T.L.)

22. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct under Code section 2234, including subsections (b) and/or (c) and/or (d), in that Respondent was grosslynegligent and/or repeatedly negligent and/or incompetent in his care and treatment of Patient T.L.

The circumstances are as follows:

23. On or about March 25, 2010, T.L., a then 54-year old male patient, was seen at Respondent’s office for evaluation of Lyme disease. T.L. did not recall having a tick bite or developing any rash or lesions. T.L. reported numerous complaints, including fatigue, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, hair loss, sore throat, sore glands, night sweats, chills, chest pain tightness, musculoskeletal pain and swelling, anxiety attacks, decreased concentration, headaches, memory problems, mood swing, nightmares, panic attacks, poor balance and difficulty walking, seizures, difficulty sleeping, tremors, and weakness of limbs, abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. T.L. reported that he had never been diagnosed with Lyme disease.

24. Laboratory tests conducted in April, 2010 were negative for Lyme disease.

25. Respondent’s notes dated May 11, 2010 also state that laboratory tests were negative for Lyme disease, and Respondent’s assessment was “myalgias with hyperesthes.” Despite the negative laboratory results, Respondent noted that “Bartonella/Lyme is still a possibility,” and T.L. was started on the “Cowden protocol,” a homeopathic protocol for treating Lyme disease, and also started on “BSP 201,” a supplement.

26. On or about June 10, 2010, Respondent prescribed Doxycycline, an antibiotic.

27. On or about September 13, 2010, T.L. was examined by physician assistant Y.L., who noted that T.L was doing poorly overall. Y.L.’s assessment was “probably lyme.” No vital signs were recorded.

28. T.L. continued to complain of worsening symptoms and saw Respondent and/or Y.L. on approximately a bi-monthly basis through at least March 2012. T.L.’s vital signs were not recorded during these visits.

29. Respondent’s notes dated November 2, 2010 state that T.L. has “remarkable pain, fatigue, weakness, malaise, and significant reactivity. He is unable to control the pain with the current regimen.” Respondent’s assessment was “Lyme with severe full body symptoms, quite ill.” Respondent’s plan included starting “ketamine IV,” “obtain a KPU and copper,” “Continue the current regimen with Dr. R,” and “Consider remediating the house for mold.”

30. Respondent’s notes dated February 2, 2011 state that T.L. had complaints of “profound fatigue and weakness” and that “Overall, the patient continues to do poorly.” Respondent also noted that T.L. was “still addressing mold and would like to begin a more aggressive treatment for Lyme.” Respondent’s assessment was “Lyme,” “Mold,” and “Neurologic decline.” Respondent’s treatment plan included: “consider ketamine;” “consider a port;” “recommend IV Garlic.”

31. Progress notes from February 28, 2011 indicate that T.L. was seen by Y.L., who noted that “patient continues to do poorly. Profound fatigue and weakness.” IV Garlic was started. In addition, oral Septra, an antibiotic, was started, and T.L. was continued on Sporanox and Nystatin- both antifungal drugs. He was also continued on Lymphomosot and Itires- both homeopathic remedies.

32. A list of T.L. medications from February 2011 indicates that he was being treated with over 50 medications, supplements and herbal/homoeopathic remedies.

33. Respondent’s notes dated April 14, 2011 state that T.L. had “severe tendinosis and full body pain.” Respondent noted that Dr. R’s priorities were “Borrelia and heavy metals.” T.L. reported feeling much worse for several days after IV Garlic treatment. T.L. reported having to increase his pain medications, having severe nausea and severe weakness, and needing to walk with a cane. Respondent’s treatment plan was to “ramp up Rocephin,” “start Actigall,” “decrease Garlic,” and “use ketamine intranasal every few hours.” On or about May 5, 2011, T.L. was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital with complaints of fever, chills and adnominal pain. T.L. reported having received IV garlic and IV DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide) infusions through a Mediport. T.L. was diagnosed as having Klebsiella oxytoca bacteremia and Gallbladder dyskinesia. T.L.’s Mediport was removed, and he was discharged on May 9, 2011, with the advisement not to take any IV materials and substances that are not FDA approved and manufactured under strict FDA regulations to ensure standards of safety. Following his discharge from the Good Samaritan Hospital, T.L. continued to receive treatment under Respondent’s care, including treatment with IV Levaquin, IM Invanz, Takuna, Transfer Factor, increased dosage of Nystatin, Yeast Ease, Olive Leaf Extract Secure; Enhansa Lee Silsby Pharmacy, Aloe 225, Magnesium Malate, vitamin C, GI revive, Aloe vera juice, Chamomile Tea, DGL, Cromolyn sodium, Reglan, Cryptolepis, and Malarone. Respondent also noted that “removing metals from mouth” should be considered.

36. T.L.’s medication list dated November 28, 2011, identifies over 15 prescribed medications (including IV glutathione and IV Ketamine), 4 herbal/homeopathic remedies, and 29 supplements.

37. There is no evidence that Respondent obtained informed consent to treat T.L. with IV garlic, IV glutathione, IV DMSO, or IV Ketamine.

38. Respondent’s overall conduct, acts and/or omissions with regard to patient T.L. constitutes unprofessional conduct through gross negligence and/or repeated acts of negligence and/or incompetence. More specifically, Respondent is guilty of unprofessional conduct with regard to T.L. as follows:

A. Respondent continued to prescribe multiple courses of antibiotics (IV, oral and intramuscular) for over a year even though there were no signs of improvement. Prolonged courses of antibiotics can result in adverse reactions and select resistance to the common bacterial infections he could acquire later on in life.

B. Respondent prescribed IV Ketamine without medical indication.

C. Respondent subjected T.L. to other unnecessary therapeutic regime, including IV garlic, which resulted in serious harm.

D. Respondent failed to obtain informed consent regarding treatment with IV garlic, IV glutathione, IV DMSO, or IV Ketamine.

E. Respondent failed to review his treatment plan for T.L., including failing to repeat laboratory tests to confirm whether T.L. had Lyme Disease.

F. Respondent failed to routinely assess and/or document T.L.’s vital signs.

THIRD CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

(Treating with DMSO without Informed Consent)

39. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct under Code section 2234(a) in that Respondent treated T.L. with DMSO without obtaining informed consent, in violation of Code section 2078.

FOURTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

(Gross Negligence/Repeated Negligent Acts/Incompetence re Patient L.H.)

40. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct under Code section 2234, including subsections (b) and/or (c) and/or (d), in that Respondent was grossly negligent and/or repeatedly negligent and/or incompetent in his care and treatment of Patient L.H.

The circumstances are as follows:

41. Respondent’s medical records indicate that he began treating L.H. in 2006, when L.H. was 13-years of age. In February 2006, L.H.’s mother filled out a Lyme Disease Questionnaire in which she stated that L.H. had tested positive for Babesia and Bartonella in November 2005. Respondent’s medical records do not include any positive laboratory results for Babesia or Bartonella.

42. Respondent’s notes from January 17, 2007 show an assessment of Lyme and Bartonella. However, there is no evidence that Respondent conducted any laboratory tests prior to making such diagnoses. IgG and IgM Western Blots, conducted on May 31, 2007, were both negative for Lyme disease. Subsequent IgG and IgM Western blots conducted in January 2008, February 2009, and July 2010 were again all negative for Lyme disease. A Bartonella FISH test, conducted in October 2010, was also negative.

43. L.H. continued to see Respondent on approximately a monthly basis through at least March 2012. During this time, Respondent prescribed numerous IV and oral antibiotics, in various combinations, including IV Doxycycline, IV Invanz, IV Rocephin, IV Zithromax, IV Cefuroxime, Rifampin, Minocycline, Avelox, Septra, Moxatag, Nystatin, Tindamax, Penicillin, and Zyvox. L.H. was also treated with numerous homeopathic remedies, including IV glutathione, IV Freamine, and numerous supplements, anti-microbials, and detoxification remedies.

44. There is no evidence that Respondent obtained informed consent to treat L.H. with IV glutathione or IV Freamine.

45. On or about February 9, 2012, L.H. was admitted to El Camino Hospital with fevers and chills. She was diagnosed as having sepsis due to a Hickman catheter infection, which had been in place for 4.5 years. According to the emergency room physician, L.H.’s mother presented a medication list that identified over 70 medications and homeopathic remedies, including IV Cefuroxime, IV glutathione, and IV Freamine, as well as oral Penicillin and Zyvox. The Hickman catheter was removed, and L.H. was discharged from El Camino Hospital on February 12, 2012.

46. Respondent’s overall conduct, acts and/or omissions, with regard to patient L.H., constitutes unprofessional conduct through gross negligence and/or repeated acts of negligence and/or incompetence. More specifically, Respondent is guilty of unprofessional conduct with regard to L.H. as follows:

A. Respondent continued to prescribe multiple courses of antibiotics (IV and oral) for over a five-year period even though there were little, if any, signs of improvement. Prolonged courses of antibiotics can result in adverse reactions and select resistance to the common bacterial infections she could acquire later on in life.

B. Respondent failed to obtain informed consent regarding treatment with IV glutathione and IV Freamine.

C. Respondent failed to routinely assess and/or document L.H.’s vital signs.

FIFTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE
(Repeated Negligent Acts)

47. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct under Code section 2234(c) for repeated negligent acts with regard to his acts and/or omissions as alleged in paragraphs 9 through 46 which are incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, Complainant requests that a hearing be held on the matters herein alleged, and that following the hearing, the Medical Board of California issue a decision:

1. Revoking or suspending Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate Number A 72195, issued to Steven Jeffrey Harris, M.D.;
2. Revoking, suspending or denying approval of Steven Jeffrey Harris, M.D.’s authority to supervise physician assistants, pursuant to section 3527 of the Code;
3. Ordering Steven Jeffrey Harris, M.D., if placed on probation, to pay the Medical Board of California the costs of probation monitoring; and
4. Taking such other and further action as deemed necessary and proper.

—–End quote—–

A slap on the wrist

Despite the seriousness of the charges, Harris reached an agreement with the Medical Board of California to receive a Disciplinary Order containing only a Public Reprimand and a requirement to take education courses.

This was the public reprimand:

In early 2011 you recommended, dispensed and administered IV garlic (Allicin) to Patients A.P. and T.L. for treatment of chronic late stage Lyme Disease. At that time, there was not sufficient evidence-based data available regarding the efficacy and safety of IV garlic for treatment of the patients’ condition. You also failed to obtain written informed consent from the patients regarding the treatment with IV garlic.

Please see the full documents (The above may contain OCR errors.)