Monday, May 13, 2013

Psychiatrist loses license after diagnosing "evil spirits"

From the Religion Clause blog:
As reported by the Boston Globe, on May 8 the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine suspended the medical license of psychiatrist Raymond W. Kam, saying that his conduct in treating a 16-year old patient last year called into question his competence to practice medicine. Kam last year had already signed a voluntary agreement not to practice medicine. Kam, a Boston Children's Hospital psychiatrist, became convinced that the patient was being hurt by "evil spiritual entities." Kam gave the girl a cross to wear in exchange for a different religious symbol she had on. After the girl was discharged from the hospital, Kam, who had withdrawn from the girl's treatment team, obtained permission from the girl's father to act as her spiritual mentor, taking her to his church and exchanging text messages with her. When the girl was kicked out of her house, Kam offered to let her stay at his house on several occasions. He failed to report to authorities an incident in which the girl's mother pushed her down a flight of stairs and tried to asphyxiate her.  
The state Board also reprimanded a second psychiatrist who had failed to report the girl's abuse to authorities. Kam could regain his license next year if he completes a psychiatric evaluation and enters a 5-year probation agreement.
BA member Gabe McDonald writes:
There far too many instances where faith healing and religious practices are doled out in lieu of modern medical therapy. It is especially unfortunate when such non-treatments are protected by law. Here is a good example of what the repercussions should be.