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Medical Board of California bullies couple into shutting down colon hydrotherapy practice, entire profession now at risk

by Ethan A. Huff, May 18, 2012

"Our sole source of income and our livelihoods, both taken from us in an instant," Shea Baird explained to me, struggling to fight back the tears. This veteran colon hydrotherapist and her husband Stephen are the latest victims of the medical establishment's rogue authoritarianism, as they were recently coerced under threat of imprisonment into signing a cease and desist order that prohibits them from further conducting their practice, even though they have done nothing wrong.

For more than a decade, Shea and her husband Stephen have been helping patients cleanse their colons naturally without chemicals or drugs using simple water, a practice that is fully legal for non-licensed practitioners in the state of California under the provisions of SB 577, Section 2053.6 (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov). But because many colon hydrotherapists like Shea and Stephen operate unlicensed and outside the mainstream medical paradigm, the Medical Board of California (MBC) is irked, and appears to have decided to launch a witch hunt to destroy the practice, beginning with the Bairds.

It all started about two-and-a-half years ago when a client of the Bairds, who happened to be a doctor, filed a complaint against their practice, Every Body Cleansing (http://everybodycleansing.com/), claiming he was harmed by the treatments. After 18 months of laborious legal wrangling, it was finally determined that this doctor-client was simply a troublemaker and a fraud, and had actually filed several other bogus claims against healthcare practitioners in the past.

But this same disgruntled doctor-client, who was determined by all parties at that time, including his own lawyers, to have never had a valid complaint, decided to target the Bairds again by filing a complaint with MBC in December 2010. And roughly a year-and-a-half later in Spring 2012, Shea and her husband received a certified letter in the mail explaining that an MBC investigator wanted to drop by to check out the practice.

Nervous about the situation after all that had already happened, Shea and Stephen reluctantly agreed to allow MBC Investigator Dennis Scully to visit their practice on March 22, 2012. When he arrived, he presented himself in a friendly and cordial manner, reassuring the Bairds there was nothing to be concerned about. But his tune quickly changed after the Bairds complied with his request to show them a little bit more about how colon hydrotherapy works.

According to Shea, Mr. Scully's entire demeanor changed as he suddenly, out of nowhere, told the couple sternly that it is a felony crime for individuals who are not licensed doctors, or who are not working with licensed doctors, to treat patients using colon hydrotherapy. He then threatened that if the two did not immediately sign a cease and desist order agreeing to stop practicing, he would proceed to file charges with the district attorney's office, in which the Bairds could end up spending 28 years in prison.

Sobbing uncontrollably at this point, Shea tried to reason with Mr. Scully, who had deceived them as to why he was even there in the first place, but he would not relent, nor would he even allow them to seek legal counsel. So the Bairds, under extreme duress, finally caved to Mr. Scully's demands and signed the cease and desist order. And since that time, they have had to turn away all their clients, which has left the couple with no source of income and a monumental legal battle on their hands.

SB 577 passed in 2002 to protect people like the Bairds from state oppression Interestingly, the very same documents Mr. Scully presented to the Bairds as evidence of their supposed violations of the law actually affirm their right to practice colon hydrotherapy without a license. SB 577 specifically provisions for alternative healthcare practitioners, including those that are not licensed physicians, to practice, so long as they agree to fully disclose this information to patients (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov).

But MBC has made it clear that it does not accept this interpretation of the law, citing Section 3640 of the California Business and Professions Code, which outlines how naturopathic doctors (ND) are permitted, though not exclusively, to practice colon hydrotherapy. And it is this non-exclusive provision that technically and legally allows people like the Bairds to also practice colon hydrotherapy, despite what MBC claims.

At this point, however, MBC and the state together have a virtually unlimited arsenal of funds and manpower to bend the law in their own favor to crush the Bairds, and eventually pursue other colon hydrotherapists throughout the state of California. The Bairds, in other words, are the test case -- if they lose this fight, it will set a precedent for MBC to go after the entire colon hydrotherapy profession.

In short, the Bairds need your help to fight the system, restore their practice, and ultimately defend health freedom for all in the state of California and nationwide. And to help raise much-needed funds and awareness to fight this legal battle, the Bairds have set up a fundraising portal by which you can donate to their cause. They are also asking for other colon hydrotherapists and their patients to come to their defense in defending the practice of colon hydrotherapy.

You can access the Baird's fundraising portal, which also contains more information about their case, here: http://www.indiegogo.com/takingonthemedicalboard