Acupuncturist: I Did Not Stick Toothpicks In Patient
UPDATED 05/25/11 5:32 p.m.
NILES, Ill. (CBS) — A suburban Chicago man who calls himself a doctor is under investigation after a patient of his says he was sold long-outdated medicine and stuck with what appeared to be toothpicks.
George Fleming says he’s never had a complaint in more than 20 years of helping people.
He reopened his Niles practice again after a long break, but pulled out of the office until the whole thing is settled. Niles police are investigating the case, which all began with an advertisement.
It labels Fleming as a doctor.
Fleming actually describes himself as a “Bulgarian Oriental Medicine Doctor,” which is apparently what the “OMD” represents in the ad he placed in a Bulgarian-language newspaper.
A suburban reader saw it and called Fleming to make an appointment. According to a Niles police report, the man wasn’t satisfied with that meeting, one that included acupuncture. He claimed Fleming stuck him with what appeared to be toothpicks in his chest.
Fleming said they were not toothpicks. He showed CBS 2 the type of sterile needles he says he uses. He also showed the herbal medicine he said he gave the man. But the patient told officers there was a 2002 expiration date on the stuff.
“So he came to my office and he threatened me,” Fleming said.
In the police report, the patient says when he confronted Fleming, the doctor fled.
“I was embarrassed, of course, Fleming said.
He also seemed embarrassed when, after showing his certificates of completion for acupuncture and Oriental medicine, he could not produce a current license to operate. His expired in 2007.
Asked if he should have been practicing, “I don’t know what to tell you,” Fleming said. “I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. I got my education.”
Susan Hofer of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says there is a problem.
He “charged people money to be treated, but he didn’t appreciate that he needs to be licensed by the state,” she told CBS 2.
According to the police report, Fleming accepted $200 from the patient.
Fleming was arrested on May 18 and charged with practicing medicine without a license.
If convicted, Fleming could be sent to prison for between one and three years and fined up to $25,000, according to Niles police.
Fleming’s arraignment date was May 19. His bond was set at $5,000.
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