By Barbara Feder Ostrov
Kaiser Health News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The hormone therapies prescribed by Dr. Prudence Hall are supposedly customized to individual patients’ needs and are generally not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are known as “bioidentical” because their molecular structure is the same as the natural hormones found in a woman’s body, including estrogen and progesterone.
Kaiser Health News
A Santa Monica, Calif., doctor who promoted a controversial menopause therapy on the Oprah Winfrey Network and received testimonials for her work from such celebrity patients as model Cindy Crawford and actress-author Suzanne Somers has been disciplined by California’s medical board for gross negligence.
In a settlement approved last month, the Medical Board of California put Dr. Prudence Hall on probation for four years, faulting her for being “unaware” of potential risks posed by the plant-based hormones, including cancer, and for not monitoring her patients properly.
Hall used numerous hormones to treat two women, according to the board, missing an aggressive uterine cancer in one patient and treating the other based on an “incorrect diagnosis in a manner such that (Hall) stood to gain financially.”
“My jaw was on the floor. This is just egregious,” said Dr. Jen Gunter, a San Francisco Bay Area OB-GYN who reviewed the medical board’s report. “You hear about all these self-described functional medicine doctors providing these treatments. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be in this ballpark.”
A statement issued by Hall’s publicist did not address the specifics of the board’s findings but generally defended the doctor’s results and commitment to patients.
“She utilizes advances in modern medicine plus proven natural therapies. Safely incorporating results of the latest medical research has allowed her to achieve exceptional results for her patients.”