Friday, September 14, 2012

You Have No Faith in Medicine!

You have no faith in medicine!
Christopher Gian-Curso v State of Florida

Roger King Mozian was a musician and latin percussionist from New York known as the "Great Gringo" of Latin music. He went to NYU and was a fantastic trumpet player who gained national attention with his hit "Asia minor", which later became somewhat of a jazz standard. He also garnered some fame for his chops as a percussionist shredding marimbas for MGM records. He was crossing into new territory musically by combining elements of Eastern music with Latin and Jazz.

In 1951, in the midst of his career, he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, by his physician, Dr. Matis. For ten years the disease lay dormant under the treatment of Dr. Matis. But in 1961, it flared up and Dr. Matis immediately recommended hospitalization and drug treatment. But Mr. Mozian must have lost faith in medicine, or maybe he grew tired of drugs, or maybe one of his friends told him of a new miracle cure through natural health, who knows why or what drove him, but Roger left Dr. Matis and sought out the treatment of a Natural Physician and licensed Chiropractor, Dr. Gian-Curso and his understudy Dr. Epstein. 

They advised him to move to Florida and escape the brutal New York winters and to partake in a different treatment plan that consisted of a vegetarian diet mixed with brief periods of fasting. At first, things were going great, Mozian was feeling happy and healthy. But then 1963, he dropped from 168 lbs to 80 lbs and on May 16, he died in a Miami hospital. 

The State of Florida immediately brought suit against Dr. Gian-Curso and his young understudy Dr. Epstein.

Dr. Gian-Curso argued that he acted in good faith within the established practices of his field of medicine. But the court wasn't hearing it. They cited a previous case where a Chiropractor took a diabetic off of insulin and the patient subsequently died, and another physician related case, Hampton v State, which the Court stated, "criminal negligence exists where the physician or surgeon, or person assuming to act as such, exhibits gross lack of competency, or gross inattention, or criminal indifference to the patient's safety, and that this may arise from his gross ignorance of the science of medicine or surgery and of the effect of the remedies employed, through his gross negligence in the application and selection of remedies and his lack of proper skill..."  

The full force of mainstream modern medicine was trumpeting against Curso and Epstein. In testimony, Roger's former physician, Dr. Matis said that "a balanced diet would be very difficult to plan for a tubercular patient without including meat." Other local doctors testified that if only Roger had been put on drug treatments, he would have lived to play music again.

In his last defense, Dr. Gian-Curso argued that proximate cause was not established. How could we know that it was the change in diet that killed him, and not just the disease flaring up again? This was left up to the jury to decide, and they ultimately said yes it was the diet and treatments of the Chiropractors that lead them to convict Dr. Gian-Curso and Dr. Epstein of Manslaughter.

Reflecting on this case I wonder: how would this play out today? Has there been enough of a shift in mainstream views regarding vegetarianism that a jury would rule differently? And wasn't it Mozian's choice to refuse drug treatment? Curso claimed that he merely discussed dietary philosophy with Mozian, and did not specifically plan out Mr. Mozian's diet. So, should Physicians be held accountable for the advice that they give, or should patients be held responsible for the choices that they make regarding alternative medicines? Food for thought for another day...

One thing is for certain, Roger King Mozian could play a mean mambo, and he will be missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment