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Profile of an autism "expert"

Perhaps looking at the record of Dr. Mayer Eisenstein from Chicago will shed some light on why courts have recently refused to allow testimony from some of the doctors who are willing to testify that mercury  preservative formerly used in childhoon vaccines caused autism.  Large European and American studies involving literally hundreds of thousands of children have failed to show any causal link between mercury preservatives and autism, yet some physicians continue to suggest there is a link.  If Dr. Eisenstein is typical of these "scientists," we may have a little better understanding of why the courts have been reluctant to allow them to offer expert testimony.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Eisenstein is a handsome and grandfatherly-type "Dr. Welby" who makes a compelling and sympathetic presentation.  Unfortunately, his record, according to the Tribune, isn't so compelling.  His suburban practice was recently hit with a $30 million dollar malpractice verdict arising out of birth injuries suffered by a child the practice delivered.  This is apparently only one claim among at least 19 going back three decades.   Eighty percent of those cases resulted in a verdict or settlement against Eisenstein's practice.  Even his malpractice insurance with an off-shore insurer was alleged to be a phony by a Chicago Hospital seeking indemnity payments.

He is a regular speaker at autism conferences, including one this weekend at the Chicago Westin, and he claims that he's seen "virtually no autism" in his patient pool of thousands of unvaccinated kids.  He has created the so-called Autism Recovery Clinic and treats austistic kids with the drug Lupron--which has not been approved for that purpose.  Lupron has been used to chemically castrate sex offenders, and medical and toxicology specialists claim that using it on kids with autism is "junk medicine" and dangerous.

Eisentein is not board-certified in any specialty relevant to autism [or Lupron] but he is a masterful salesman, apparently.  The Tribune says he has pitched vitamins, books and a group health plan for his patients.  Currently, he is promoting Vitamin D3 and probiotic treatments "to prevent swine flu--'a $71 dollar value, YOURS FOR ONLY $39."  In addition to preventing swine flu, Eisenstein claims vitamin D3 treats or prevents autism:  "No Vaccine and More Vitamin D= No Autism."  He recently told an autistic patient's family that his "wife owns a natural pharmaceutical company...working on a vitamin specifically for autism" and attempted to sell them a D3 supplement for their child.

Again, according to the Tribune, Eisenstein is on record as joking that he originally aspired to be a "corrupt, dirty Illinois politician," and disliked the practice of medicine until after his wife struggled through a home birth.  Later he attended John Marshall Law School at night after he claimed that he feared health-care reforms would put home birthing out of business.  When he began selling group health plans, state regulators warned consumers that he was "illegally market[ing] the Homefirst Health Plan."  This did not deter him from continuing to sell the illegal insurance, however, until the state issued a formal "cease and desist" order. 

Eisenstein claims that his interest in vaccine risks was prompted by hearing a dentist named Leonard Horowitz speak.  Horowitz's website describes himself as a "prophet" according to the Tribune, and promotes the theory that bioengineers produced swine flu "in a conspiracy to commit genocide."  Eisenstein claims that Horowitz has linked AIDS, Ebola, autism, asthma and allergies to vaccines.  Another of his more outrageous claims quoted in the Tribune is the statement that "every doctor now essentially in this country has done something as heinous as the Nazis did, unknowingly."  A Jewish doctor engaging in Nazi-hyperbole is a little difficult to understand or stomach.

Eisenstein recently admitted, according to the Tribune, that he had falsely claimed to have been a faculty member at the Hinsdale Hospital Family Practice Residency Program from 1992 through 2003.   He also testified that knew little about the College of Health Sciences and had "no clue" regarding the location of the College, where he and some of his doctors received their CME credits.  Under questioning, however, he later acknowledged that his CV listed himself as a faculty member of the college, which he went on to describe as a "college without walls."  Turns out his former lawyer and business associate--a non-physician later suspended from the pracice of law in Illinois--served as the "dean" of the school and signed some or all of the CME certificates it issued.  Eisenstein, in what was probably his most honest statement ever, told the Tribune that he "regrets his testimony" about the College of Health Sciences.

He claims his Lupron treatments for autism--which can cost $6,000.00 per month--are not a "moneymaking venture."  After the $30 million dollar judgment was entered against his practice for failing to diagnose a mother-child blood incompatibility, Eisenstein's practice declared bankruptcy, and the parents' claim was consolidated with five other malpractice claims and two civil fraud cases.  The Tribune did not report any detail about the fraud cases or what became of them, but the six families suing for malpractice were to be paid $1.275 million dollars through the bankruptcy court, in installments.

If Eisenstein is typical of the expert witness testimony offered to support a vaccine-mercury/autism causal connection, we are beginning to understand why these experts have been stricken by courts.  What we don't understand is the apparent total absence of any regulatory authority in northern Illinois to protect consumers from con artists--with or without medical or law degrees.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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