“A learned fool is more a fool than an ignorant fool.”
In 2008, a news press appeared about the discipline of a very popular and well-liked doctor in Texas, USA who treated many hypothyroid patients.
And for what?
Under the column titled NONTHERAPEUTIC PRESCRIBING, it stated: The action was based on Dr.________ prescribing Adipex, Adderal and Armour Thyroid to patients when such medications were not indicated.
Adipex and Adderal are both central nervous system stimulants, and we can’t comment one way or the other.
But the mention of Armour thyroid as “not indicated” was a sure sign that this medical board was using the ridiculous TSH lab test range to decide whether a thyroid medication was needed or not. We’ve already seen numerous and similar disciplinary actions brought upon well-liked and wise doctors like Dr. Peatfield and Dr. Skinner of the UK, Dr. Derry of Canada, and Dr. Springer in the US–all who dared to make obvious symptoms of one’s hypothyroid state more important than ink spots on a piece of paper. There have been many others.
Just to clarify: TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and is a messenger hormone released by your pituitary gland with the purpose of “knocking” on the door of your thyroid to tell it to produce thyroid hormones. So the implication is that if the TSH lab result falls in this so-called “normal range” (which in itself is a travesty), by golly everything must just be fine with your thyroid. You will read an interesting and explanatory chapter on the TSH in the revised STTM book as well as more information by Dr. Jeffrey Dach in the STTM II book.
But thyroid patients all over the world know first hand that the TSH lab result has been a complete failure. It can look “normal” even while we have clear symptoms of hypothyroidism. And it can take years and years before it rises high enough to show that something is quite wrong with the function of our thyroid.
A side note: the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) filed a lawsuit against the entire Texas Medical Board (TMB) and its officials in 2014. Though unrelated to thyroid treatment, they cited Manipulation of anonymous complaints, conflicts of interest, violation of due process, breach of privacy, and retaliation against those who speak out.
Kymm is a good example of the TSH fallacy in diagnosis
Take Kymm, a 45 year old woman. She had manifested hypothyroid symptoms for 15 years since the birth of her daughter. Yet during those entire 15 years, her TSH lab result had been completely “normal” in the upper 1’s and lower 2’s. Her hypothyroid state had never been “indicated” based on the typical and widespread gold standard of diagnosis used by medical professionals: the TSH. As a result, she simply continued to suffer with easy weight gain, chronic depression, thinning hair, rising cholesterol, dry skin and an increase in stress on her adrenals. (And she did finally start on Natural Desiccated thyroid aka NDT, with adrenal treatment…and soared).
Kymm is not an oddity. Thyroid patients on internet groups report going years with a normal TSH and no diagnosis, yet clear symptoms which are ignored by their TSH-obsessed doctors. So their doctors may have avoided disciplinary action by going strictly by the TSH lab test, but did they truly practice the art and science of healing??
A doctor is disciplined for allowing a patient’s TSH to be suppressed
A horrendous disciplinary action happened to a California physician when it came to the thyroid treatment of one of his patients named as V.G who had had her thyroid removed. She had dizziness, dry skin and fatigue. He first put her on .125 levothyroxine, which only barely raised her T4 with a low T3. She continued to have the above symptoms, but also complained of nervousness, palpitations and weakness. He then moved her over to two grains of Armour, one brand of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). The disciplinary action states:
Lab test results dated November 2, 2010, indicated that THS [sic} levels were suppressed, suggesting that V.G. was receiving too much thyroid hormone. However, at V.G.’s subsequent office visit on November 30, 2010, Respondant made no change to V.G’s thyroid medication. (#15)
The patient also had high cholesterol, plus symptoms of PCOS–both clear symptoms of continued hypothyroidism even though they claim she was receiving too much thyroid hormone! By point #17, after the patient had been raised to 3 grains, it reports a slight lowering of cholesterol and normal triglycerides, yet it was stated once again that she was on too much thyroid hormones due to a suppressed TSH. The bombshell comes in #19, it which states:
Respondent was grossly negligent in the care and treatment of V.G when he failed to recognize abnormal thyroid function tests and failed to properly adjust thyroid medications.
In other words, the California Medical Board was claiming that this doctor should have LOWERED the medication due to a suppressed TSH, in spite of the fact that she continued to have clear hypothyroid problems on the lower dose of 2 grains. Scores of thyroid patients who’ve had their thyroid meds lowered due to a suppressed TSH will tell you that their hypothyroid symptoms got worse, not better.
(If symptoms improve from lowering desiccated thyroid due to a suppressed TSH, that is more about the relief of hyper-like symptoms caused by low iron or low cortisol–either which NDT will reveal and aggravate until treated. See www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me Also, there is a possibility that V.G.’s low T3 was due to a high Reverse T3, which will occur in the presence of low cortisol, low iron and/or inflammation.)
As far as a suppressed TSH, informed thyroid patients worldwide, who when optimally treated on NDT with the complete removal of hypothyroid symptoms (plus a healthy blood pressure and heart rate), find that it’s quite normal to have a suppressed TSH without one hint of symptoms of being on “too much thyroid hormone”!!!
Medical Boards can be a problem for thyroid patients and good doctors alike!
In the United States, there is a Federation of State Medical Boards with the stated purpose of “protecting the public from the unprofessional, improper and incompetent practice of medicine…”, yet the very boards which state they are protecting us from professional incompetence end up supporting incompetence via their flagrant ignorance about the TSH lab test and their dubious “discipline” of doctors who end up changing our lives and well-being!!
Or in the United Kingdom, we have the General Medical Council with the stated purpose of helping ” protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK”….yet they completely hounded Dr. Gordon Skinner who successfully treated thyroid patients, even though their TSH results erroneously implied that not a thing was wrong. Additionally, the GMC has brought at least 30 cases against Dr. Sarah Myhill, who also had the courage to treat her patients in spite of a so-called normal TSH.
Dr. Myhill so wisely stated: “Doctors who fail to toe the drug-industry-driven, conventional-medicine, symptom-suppressing line are singled out for special attention by the establishment”
Are Medical Boards useless?
Most informed thyroid patients would clarify that Medical Boards have good intentions. They can play a role in protecting us from true incompetence or negligence from those we put our trust in. They can serve a role in protecting us from sexual misconduct and the inability to practice safely due to substance abuse.
But when it comes to the highest and best treatment of our thyroid disease, medical boards DO THYROID PATIENTS NO FAVOR by disciplining doctors who….
- have the wisdom and courage to look at the clinical presentation of clear symptoms rather than simply a “pituitary hormone” lab test with both its ridiculous normal range and its FAILURE to measure whether all organs and tissue are receiving enough thyroid hormones…
- pay more attention to symptom relief on natural desiccated thyroid (with good heartrate and blood pressure) rather than obsessing about one’s suppressed TSH lab test when thyroid patients are optimal.
As Albert Einstein so wisely stated, the measure of intelligence is the ability to change. Will Medical Boards grow up and change in their knowledge of thyroid treatment? No one more than maltreated thyroid patients worldwide can fervently hope so, as well as forward-thinking doctors who have been wrongly harassed by their medical boards in their treatment of hypothyroidism.
*For more detailed information on the history of Medical Boards and problems, check out the book titled Medical Licensing and Discipline in America: A History of the Federation of Medical Boards.
* Join the STTM Facebook page for tips, information and inspiration.
* Do you have both the STTM books? They are extremely useful in making you an informed thyroid patient based on the experiences and wisdom of patients before you worldwide!
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22 Responses to “Medical Boards and the TSH: how they fail thyroid patients worldwide!”
I truly hope I am the right path to recovery, and I wish all others who are also suffering the perseverance to find the right medical practitioner for them. These rigid doctors who spout off about how a TSH below 10 DOES NOT warrant treatment and T4 is ALL you need will eventually smarten-up to the complexities of thyroid disorders if unhappy patients and other, more open-minded doctors, continue to speak up. Thank you Hypothyroid Mom Dr. Dach for the advocacy work you are doing!
when i wasn18,alot of my hair fell out;lack of some energy in between children i either gained weight or stayed close to same,I allso had other internal problems however i am 80 and in early 70s i had several health issues after all kinds of test the Dr i had Put me on 5 mgs of Synthroid within a short time I began to feel like a human in 1975 My mother-inlaw became ill i waslow on my synthroid went to fil prescription and was informed that they was no longer allowed to sell that strength ihave had problems ever since up and down feeling good for a while then no energyi am now on 180 armour still dont feel good but i consider now my age part of problem
Hi Sarah! No, your age may have nothing to do with your continued feel bads. Have you checked your iron recently? B12? Free T3 and RT3? Know that lab results have nothing to do with falling in the normal range. The have to do with where they fall. Compare labs to what we’ve learned here: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values I’m going to bet that you’ve got some poor levels and need improvement.
IS THERE RESEARCH FUNDING FOR THIS AWFUL DISEASE? ESPECIALLY WHEN IT HITS MEN
My son was diagnosed with Graves Disease approx 10 yrs. ago, and has been living in HELL since then with incompetent doctors, FLOODING HIS SYSTEM WITH HORMONES AND DRUGS, AFTER THEY DESTROYED HIS THYROID WITH RADIATION! HE HAS INCURRED HEART DAMAGE, LIVER DAMAGE, BULGING EYES, AND ALL THE FEMALE SYMPTOMS, WITH THE OBVIOUS EXCEPTION OF MENSTRUAL BLEEDING, BUT HIS SYMPTOMS SEEM TO BE MAGNIFIED x 50! I SEE NOTHING IN HERE RE: MEN….DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION? I AM TERRIFIED IF THE SYMPTOMS DO OT KILL HIM, HE WILL KILL HIMSELF. IT IS DESTROYING HIS LIFE, HIS MARRIAGE, HIS FAMILY, AND NOW HE CANNOT EVEN WORK…..PLEASE HELP WITH ANY INFORMATION YOU CAN GIVE ME.
Louise, sorry to read about your dear son. My own mother had the bulging eyes many years after they treated her Graves. Turns out that a small piece of her thyroid, which was left, had gone hyper again. So they had to treat that. Not sure that is your son’s issue, but wanted to mention it. Or, if your son is past all the symptoms of hyper, it may just be that he needs to be on a better thyroid treatment, which Natural Desiccated Thyroid appears to be.
Eric Pritchard, if you are reading followup comments, I would like to ask a quick question.
I was recently tested for a lot of things (I guess it’s called Organic Acids Testing) and some of the results say there is mitochondrial dysfunction. I am believing this, as it is an expected consequence of taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which I took twice in three years, and suffered some of the negative side effects such as tendon problems. I have not been the same since that time.
If this mitochondrial dysfunction is real, would that be something that fits into your suggestion of a need for more T3? I am not asking necessarily for a personalized assessment, just a general idea of whether my thinking is going in a good direction.
Marilyn, I too have done the Organics acid test and was blown away what it revealed. Yes, I do believe the results are real, because in my case, what it tells me, fits me. But for you, as far as taking more T3, that is something we all have to figure out. I have found myself with high copper this year, and it made me more hypo, so by adding more T3, I felt a LOT better.
Janie, so glad you found that clue to feeling better! I am amazed at how much detective work we have to do on our own. I keep thinking, “why am I paying my doctor her exorbitant rates? I’m the one doing all the research!”
I also did HTMA this year. I always thought hair analysis was voodoo, but it supported and expanded on things that showed on the OAT. I was taken quite aback to find I also have a copper/zinc/ceruloplasmin problem. Not high copper, but high unbound copper. And now, piecing it all together, some of the copper issues and the other nutrient problems (Vitamin A is out of whack) can likely be traced to my doc prescribing high doses of Vitamin D3. She couldn’t figure out why my body was not responding, my 25-OH D only rose 8 points in 6 months on 50,000 units a week and 8,000 a day. Turns out it all by-passed storage, and she did not have a clue about that. I was just starting to feel good, back in June, with my T3 (TA-DA!) in the upper third of range. Then doc freaked about my TSH. Ugh.
Eric, thank you for posting the link to your article. I have only skimmed it so far, but will read in depth tonight before I sleep. Very helpful.
Sara F. Rosenstein
I´ve been on synthroid for more than 20 years and I don´t feel good, I live in Lima, Peru and would like to know where I can get the armour and/or Natural Desiccated Thyroid por my hypothyroidism.
Sara F. Rosenstein
Sara, google Thyrogold.
Several news sources (nytimes.com, ABC/NBC/CBS, Bloomberg, The Economist) are reporting that former First Lady and current Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is “fit to serve”. In the course of releasing important medical details, her doctor has written a letter detailing her health history and indicating that she takes Armour Thyroid for her hypothyroidism. Her physician is no slouch: Lisa Bardack is the Chair of Internal Medicine, Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Take a look at the letter here: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/clintonhealth2015.pdf Print it out and take it to your next appointment with your physician (who is reticent to let you try Armour or NDT).
No matter what your politics are, this is powerful information. If it’s good enough for Hillary Clinton, isn’t it good enough for us?
Thanks for finding that PDF. I suspected she might be using dessicated thyroid because she is looking more energetic in recent photos. I know we won’t learn more details, but I would not be surprised if she was on T4 only for awhile first.
You are right that all women deserve treatment that works for them.
That PDF is very helpful. It will be so much harder for doctors to argue that NDT is outdated and unsafe now.
An ignored problem with blood tests is the interactions between test levels as well as the not so great creation and execution of the studies to determine the reference ranges. Currently, all reference range studies are done with subjects believed to be healthy. The criteria for “healthy” for a given reference range varies with jurisdiction. Consequently, the reference ranges vary from one jurisdiction to the next. The second issue is interactions. For example, is one hormone permissive relative to another, as the adrenals are allegedly permissive to T3. Then if the adrenals are low, the effect of T3 is low (and of course, medicine doesn’t do intracellular assays, such as adenosine triphosphate / adenosine diphosphate ratio/ (The ATP/ADP ratio is indicative of energy availability but requires a biopsy to get the cells to process and assay.) Since this is not done, they simply don’t know. Further, “normal” or within the reference range is not ideal as it represents most of the people who were judged “healthy” and not the just the more healthy.
There are at least two studies of creating simultaneous assays that combine and evaluate several simple tests at the same time. This concept produces an out of range indication of two or more of the tests are nearly out of range. . . . They are better but, not used.
While the over suppression of TSH is probably not good if there are no other deficiencies in the Greater Thyroid System. Besides the thyroid gland, the Greater Thyroid System includes the hypothalamus, the pituitary, peripheral conversion (liver, BAT, etc.), hormone reception inside and outside of the endocrine system, the cells’ mitochondria, and hormone clearance. Endocrinology’s fix for deficient thyroid gland secretion is to prescribe T4 and hope that there is sufficient extra conversion capability to handle the extra T4 needed to make up the loss in T3 from the thyroid gland.
But let us suppose that the hypothalamus is deficient in its production of TRH (thyrotropin (TSH) releasing hormone). Then to make up the difference, the prescription required is more than what the pituitary expects because the TRH is low. So it reduces TSH to below the “normal range.” Similarly, if the post-thyroid functions (hormone conversion, hormone reception, mitochondria power production) or their chemical infrastructures are low then extra T3 is needed. This T3 is more than what the pituitary expects, so it reduces TSH. Similarly, if the hormone clearance is high, the same thing happens.
The fundamental problem is quite simple. Endocrinology addresses the usual, average scenario, i.e., deficient thyroid gland secretion. Endocrinology may or may not address central hypothyroidism (deficient pituitary gland, particularly if only TSH is measured) and tertiary hypothyroidism (deficient hypothalamus). However, it does not address post-thyroid deficiencies in the endocrinology-ignored “peripheral tissue.”
Check out my paper: Pritchard EK, Reducing the Scope of Guidelines and Policy Statements in Hypothyroidism, J Orthomolecular Medicine, Volume 28, Number 2, 2013, pgs 75-86.
Have a great day, Eric Pritchard
Should have put this here instead of down below. Thanks for this article. I will be passing on to my doctor. I doubt she will budge but I can always hope.
It seems that years of thyroid brain fog can damage one’s prefrontal cortex, making it operate sluggishly. Adderal and similar medications stimulate the pre-frontal cortex, so I would argue that the subject doctor was right to prescribe both armour and the stimulants listed above. It is very frightening to have the good doctors be at risk of discipline by the medical boards for doing exactly what we need them to do to get us back to full functionality.
Thank you for this article. I have just been hit in the face by a doctor who used to be fine allowing my TSH to be suppressed, and this year has taken the AACE Kool-Aid and is forcing my TSH into “normal” by cutting my meds, even though my FT4 is sitting on the bottom edge of the range and my FT3 is in the bottom quartile.
I am beyond furious, and praying I don’t die of a worse disease now that my heart is palpitating all over the place, my hair is falling like winter snow, and my skin is flaking uncontrollably. I’m a mess and it’s going to get worse because just this week my doctor ordered ANOTHER dose reduction. She has not once acknowledged that my symptoms matter.
Hoping against hope the ND I just found will be able to help get me back in shape. It is criminal that we can be kept this miserable, have our functionality and quality of life destroyed by those god-complex fools in their ivory towers and their slavish pursuit of a number.
.and are you able to give me some suggestions of what to say to my doc. and how to bring it up … he thinks I’m doing fine… all my test were down to normal the last time I saw him which was about two weeks ago… thank you June
I have been taking some sort of thyroid for several years for a long time I took Synthroid and then the drugs co. changed it to a generic brand and now my doctor changed it back to synthroid… 100 mcg I can’t seem to loose any weight, I am obese by 50 lbs. and I’m 82 years old.. I know I must have taken Thyroid for at least 30 years now. and I have Arthritis supposedly in both hips and my Knees.. right; now my left knee is worse. and when I do a lot of walking I feel it in my hips and legs. I have asked my Doctor about my Thyroid and he says it’s fine. He is an Intern Doc. Do you have any suggestions ??? for me.
Medical boards are just about control to aid and abet Big Pharma to prescribe their drugs. On a side note, I just learned that the prednisone I have been on for years causes hypothyroidism. Same for certain inhalers like Atrovent and Spiriva. They contain bromide that fights for the iodine the thyroid needs. No wonder my asthma doc ordered a TSH test years ago and found hypothyroidism. Since asthma is now epidemic, especially in children, it stands to reason that these meds are contributing to low thyroid.