Delegate W. Ray Huff has come to the defense of a Laurel doctor who practices holistic medicine.
Dr. Ahmad Shamim stands to lose his state license to practice medicine because he prescribes unorthodox vitamin treatments for his patients, including many Anne Arundel residents, said Huff, a Pasadena Democrat.
Huff has proposed legislation that would shield doctors from charges of incompetence based solely on the practice of unconventional medicine.
There must be evidence of physical harm to patients as well, Huff said.
Patients, not the state, should decide what type of medical treatment they receive from their doctors, Huff said, noting that the Alaska legislature passed similar legislation last year.
The second-term delegate said he expects to introduce his bill today.
"They have to allow some freedom if people are willing to try it rather than dying," Huff said. "People used to laugh at acupuncture. Now they are saying it works."
Huff said the owner of a Severna Park health food store and several of Shamim's patients contacted him after an administrative law judge ruled Shamim incompetent as a doctor earlier this month. Judge Suzanne Wagner recommended the state Board of Physician Quality Assurance revoke his license to practice.
Shamim's patients asked Huff to intercede on the doctor's behalf, Huffsaid Friday.
J. Michael Compton, acting director of the physicianquality assurance board, said he could neither confirm nor deny thatShamim's license was currently under review. He cited "strict rules of confidentiality."
"As of today, Dr. Shamim is a licensed doctor," said Compton, who was unaware until then of Huff's bill.
Shamim's license was suspended for three years in 1984, Compton said, when a medical review board ruled that the doctor had falsified medical reports.
At issue then, Compton said, was an affidavit Shamim filed claiming a cancer patient was terminally ill.
Compton said Shamim filed the affidavit to justify prescribing Laetrile, an experimental and highly controversial drug made from peach or apricot pits.
Themedical review board restored Shamim's license a year later after hehad completed 400 credit hours of additional medical study.
Shamim then was placed on probation and ordered to follow standard diagnostic and medical procedures, Compton said.