Hollywood doctor loses license after pot cookies for preschooler raises red flags

A Hollywood physician has lost his medical license after prescribing pot cookies for a temper tantrum-prone 4-year-old raised concerns among preschool staff.

The Medical Board of California ruled that Dr. William Eidelman, a natural medicine physician, was grossly negligent in diagnosing the boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder before recommending marijuana as treatment.

The decision to revoke Eidelman’s license as of Jan. 4 stemmed from a September 2012 case involving the boy, whose outbursts were causing problems at preschool.

After a 30-minute visit with the boy and his father, the doctor wrote in his chart that the child had a “probable combination of ADD/ADHD and bipolar disorder” and should “try cannabis in small amounts in cookies,” according to the medical board’s decision.

The prescription seemed to work. After eating the pot-laced cookies in the morning, the boy did become calm. But the effect wore off in the afternoon, and the misbehaving personality returned.

So the father asked the school nurse to give the boy cookies at lunch, which raised a red flag with the nurse. She alerted child protective services and law enforcement. Eventually a medical board investigation against Eidelman was mounted, according to the board report.

The board did not find fault with Eidelman for recommending marijuana for the child, but rather for making a diagnosis that was not supported by the evidence and for failing to consult a psychiatrist.

“Although he did not outright suggest a diagnosis … he all but made one up out of whole cloth,” the decision reads. “Labeling a child with a significant mental condition can be harmful … if those labels are incorrect, pernicious results may follow.”

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Much of Eidelman’s practice involves writing letters for patients to obtain medical marijuana, which he said he began doing in 1997 when the drug became legal for medical use in California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It was not immediately clear if a stay had been issued for the license revocation.

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The doctor’s attorney, Tracy Green, told the Times that she appealed the board’s decision before the revocation took effect, and that a San Francisco County Superior Court judge ordered that the revocation be halted, pending a hearing in March.

However, the medical board said it has not received a such court order.

In the last fiscal year, the board revoked the medical licenses of only seven doctors for gross negligence, a tiny fraction of the nearly 150,000 licensed MDs in the state.

Read Mike Moffitt’s latest stories and send him news tips at mmoffitt@sfchronicle.com

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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/William-Eidelman-medical-board-decision-license-13567831.php.

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