NONE OF THIS is my opinion. My website and blog are simply tools providing information to those who are exposed to toxic mold. None of the below findings are my opinion or statements that I have made. Anything labeled as a fact was sent to me by credible sources and/or either experienced first hand in their experience with Shoemaker.
The name Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker seems to be very popular in the mold and toxic mold community. However, people never take the time to research him or his methods of how he dealt with patients, his self published research, his "mystery" and "unimportant" testing and his one-size-fits-all treatment that seems to have left everyone (broke financially and still "hanging" without a real cure.) It was also pointed out to us that he's got a new source of income now...he's training doctors all over the nation the same methods and patients are paying their money thinking Dr. Shoemaker was a cure for toxic mold. His methods, treatments and such were "never" proven but have made an impact on some people in a positive way.
In this compliation article we decided to take the emails that were sent to us from readers of the site and look into the claims for ourselves and here's what we found. From complaints about the use of cholestyramine, online diagnostic medical testing?, unecessary testing, use of off label potentially toxic drugs and complaints emailed to us about condescending and ego-centric behavior of Dr Ritchie Shoemaker.
Facts About Ritchie Shoemaker that all should know
- Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker had absolutely no training in Naturopathic or Hollistic methods of medicine, this also means he can not qualify as an integrative or functional medicine doctor that treats the "whole" body.
- Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has no nutritional knowledge or training (yet he offers advise about low amylose foods.)
- None of Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker's studies or literature are legally posted as official medically accepted documents. Everything he has ever written or posted is "Self Published". Meaning...either you or I could also go write published works on what we thought would cure mold illness just as he did. A certain process is required for medical journals, papers and protocols to become part of the public medical system.
- Ritchie Shoemaker used his patients money to fund his research (NOT TO CURE PATIENTS).
- Ritchie Shoemaker's research was NEVER finished so what he currently trains other doctors on is only as far as his research went. (a lot of his research was incomplete and had no proof of effectiveness).
- The medical board was never able to review Dr. Shoemakers work to see if it was a legitimate medical breakthrough
- He makes money now off of training doctors who pay him money to belong to his "club". Long story short, your money trickles up to your doctor, your doctor pays Ritchie a nice retirement bonus.
- Shoemakers claims of having a high cure rate are only backed up by his own words...patient testimonials actually show the opposite and many patients were left broke and still sick.
- Shoemakers eradic behavior and narcissistic personality are far from professional and is not worthy of praise or recognition. He has been condescending to patients, staff members and just recently (His own colleages who are working hard to help mold patients get well: See Below)
- Main Drug Prescribed by Shoemaker: "Cholestyramine (CSM/Questran)
According to Life-Sources, a highly reputable Alternative Medicine website Cholestyramine makes the list of one of the 12 most Dangerous Prescribed Drugs and the reasons why. You can read the full article here: http://www.life-sources.com/pages/The-12-most-Dangerous-Prescription-Drugs....html
Side Effects of Cholestyramine
Cholestyramine can be as bad as statin drugs. The main function of cholestyramine is to absorb and excrete bile acids (cholesterol is a key component of bile acids). Sadly, the drug also binds to and inhibits the absorption of the most important fat-soluble vitamins like A, K, and D. Its side effects include:
- Other gastrointestinal problems with pain
- Night blindness
- Prolonged or unusual bleeding and bruising
- Increase in tryglicerides
This drug can also trigger severe reactions when taken with certain families of drugs such as blood thinners, thyroid hormones, and diabetes and heart medications.
Side Effects of this drug include but are not limited to - (OUR COMMENTS ARE IN RED)
Constipation, stomach/abdominal pain, gas, nausea, and vomiting may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Reduced absorption of Vitamin A, D, E and K. (This can be so dangerous to a person exposed to mold. Mold already suppresses the absorption of these vitamins so basically you could become seriously ill from malnutrution) Long term use may cause bleeding disorders, vision problems and high triglceride levels (This needs no explanation...Shoemaker protocol doctors prescribe this medication for long term use sometimes up to 2 years which is extremely dangerous)
To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise (Mold patients cannot exercise). If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a stool softener and/or a laxative. (more drugs needed to stop symptoms?)
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. (Benefit is greater than the risk: watch out for this statement especially when the drug is supposed to be for cholesterol and NOT toxic mold)
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur: severe stomach/abdominal pain, intestinal bleeding/bruising, rapid breathing, confusion...
Complaints & Bad Behavior
- March, 2016 - Colleague Report: Dr. Neil Nathan, MD
Dr. Neil Nathan was quite upset to have forwarded to him by several patients and colleagues a blog written by Dr. Shoemaker on his Surviving Mold website that was titled “Dr. Joseph Brewer: Nasal Fungi, Anti-Fungals and Junk Science.” This unprofessional diatribe against Dr. Brewer’s work and character is very disturbing to me and many other respected doctors, clinicians and healers trying to help people heal from mold. http://www.neilnathanmd.com/junk-science/
- Sept 22, 2009 - Patient CLAIM: Written by Pat Sullivan, http://www.patsullivanblog.com/2009/09/why-i-no-longer- recommend-dr-shoemaker.html
I wish it were not true but I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer recommend people go to see Dr. Shoemaker. I still believe that he is totally brilliant. I believe he has unraveled much of the mystery surrounding Fatigue illness. I still believe he ought to win a Nobel Prize someday.
There is a whole lot more to this story that I will not write about here. And Shoemaker would definitely have a different side to tell. He is welcome to comment if he wants to.
In my opinion,I don't like the way he treats patients. I have been a patient for over 4 years and my fiance has been a patient (sort of) for the past 6 months. I learned to walk on eggshells around him and around his staff because they are very easy to offend and will openly get mad at you. If you ask the wrong questions, if you step a little out of their standard, methodical rituals, they will jump down your throat. I once was forced to write an apology to Ritchie and his entire staff for canceling an appointment. He made me feel like I had murdered someone. I was simply too sick to travel 2,300 miles to see him. But that did not matter. I had offended him. So in order to stay in his good graces I wrote the apology.
There is more to the story but my girlfriend was forced to wait 3 months before he would bother to talk to her on the phone after he had her blood results and her required history and paperwork, which they demanded she do TWICE. And then, essentially he would not treat her except very minimally even though she has the "dreaded genotype". He made her and me feel like asses in the process to boot.
I finally got fed up and true to my nature I blew up at him with several harsh email exchanges. Needless to say, I am not going to fund his study on VIP. I believe this study has a whole lot of problems with it and could have significant problems being approved anyway for reasons I won't go into here.
Yesterday, out of the blue, I got a call from a man I did not know, who was a patient of Shoemaker who told me the horror story of how he has been treated. He said, "he is brilliant but does he always have to be an ass?" He had been made to feel like dirt and had not been helped after 9 months of "treatment". It was a very sad story and prompted me to finally report here on my view.
Shoemaker's terrible bedside manner is not my main beef with him. I stomached his terrible behavior for years. But it was my feeling that he was not really treating patients in order to get them well that pushed me over the edge. Shoemaker is primarily a researcher, and God bless him for the research and discoveries he has made. The problem is his patients end up being his lab rats in my view. Whatever he is currently studying, that is what you are likely to get. He knows many things that could dramatically help a patient RIGHT NOW. But you generally won't get those things. That would mess up his research.
Most of the time he uses 1 thing at a time and that is usually the one thing he is currently researching. Patients can go for many months, even years, paying for office visits and repeated blood tests because he wants DATA about what that 1 thing does. And if you ask for the "good stuff" you are generally refused and may well offend him if you push it at all. I certainly did. It is not unusual for him to "fire" patients who piss him off. I think he would have fired me a long time ago if there were not the potential I would give him money for a clinical study.
The problem is that he is really one of a few docs who knows what he knows. He knows that too. I think he feels he can treat people poorly because where else are the going to go? That was my attitude. I would bite my tongue because where else was I going to go? I have since learned that there are others who may well be further down the road than he and are not as myopic in their view of what causes CFS+. Mold is just one thing. There are other toxic chemicals, infections, brain trauma's and heavy metals that can kick off the same cytokine storm. Shoe seems to only recognize mold for the most part.
But I realized that I did not need him. His work is published for the most part. It is out there if you look for it. The meds he uses. What they do. Clinical tests he has run. The Lab tests he uses. Virtually everything is out there. Yes, it can be very difficult to find a doctor who will take this info and work with you on it. But those docs can be found.
Also, almost all of the labs, and the meds he uses are available for purchase without a prescription. Most people who have been studying CFS and Mold etc have more knowledge and expertise than 99.9% of the doctors that are out there. I have grown very used to researching something in depth, going to a friendly, open, doc and telling him what I want to do. In most cases the doc would agree to work with me simply because he recognized I knew what I was talking about and had data to back me up.
More and more though. I simply do it myself. I order my own tests (read the posts below where I tell you where and what), and often I order my own meds from either Canada or overseas. Meds are cheaper and so far have proven to be as good. It is legal to import medicines for personal use. Many people do it. They are true generics and have been approved for use in at least one country, often many countries. Many of these will never come to the US because it simply is too expensive to get through our FDA. A problem in and of itself. I was doing well before but have since experienced additional significant improvements.
I know. I am a risk taker and many people won't be willing to do this and I would never try to convince you that you should. But I have decided that where I have to, I will take things into my own hands, research very carefully and take a risk. Fact is, we take risks with anything a doctor gives to us anyway. The statistics are not great on Doc's giving the right meds all the time. So that is me. You have to decide what to do for you.
It does not make me happy that I can no longer recommend Dr. Shoemaker to anyone. But I just don't think it is worth the time, trouble, money and frustration. And I don't believe he gets a high percentage of people well. Shame is, I think he knows how. He just won't do it. It turns out that he is a typical allopathic doctor who, for the most part, wants one drug for one disease. Shoemaker's hope was that VIP (Aviptadil) was that one med cure. Trust me, it isn't IMO! I have used it for 90 days and at best, it offers subtle help. Worse, in me and others, our biomarkers actually got worse on VIP. Shoemaker did NOT like me asking him why and WOULD NOT even offer an explanation other than to suggest I must have some exposure to mold. I have taken huge steps to make sure that is not true. And if I were, other markers that would move with re-exposure actually got better. So it made no sense and he would not even try to explain. I am not sure he knows the answer and that is why he is still researching. I appreciate the research. I do. And I don't even mind being a lab rat if he would tell me that I was one. Often I got the sense he actually could answer my question but either could not be bothered or was too busy.
I take a functional medicine view of chronic illness. You measure everything you can measure and you try to fix as many of those things as you can ALL AT THE SAME TIME within reason. Then measure again. You won't know exactly which things helped, but in most cases you will feel much better and hopefully be on the way to getting well. CFS+ is a multi-systemic illness. You have to attack it from several angles. The sooner the better. The more the better.
Hopefully, within the next 4-6 months, I will have another place to recommend. I am working on that diligently right now. I hope to be a part of bringing real help to the CFS+ community very soon.
Oct 24, 2013 - Patient CLAIM: "Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker scammed me with his bogus protocol
- Oct 28, 2013 Patient CLAIM: (Mon, October 28, 2013) "Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker is the most arrogant human being I have ever met. I have found out he’s also lost his license to practice medicine. If you’re sick from mold don’t go anywhere near Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker he’s a con and a thief to the tune or $2,500 total cash"
- Dec, 2014 Patient CLAIM: (December 2014) "He gave me a medical diagnosis over the phone, that I must have surgery and have my gallbladder removed..crazy things like that. HE HUNG UP ON ME and still billed my charge card which I later charged back. http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Dr-Ritchie-Shoemaker-Surviving-Mold/internet/Dr-Ritchie-Shoemaker-Surviving-Mold-Dr-Ritchie-Shoemaker-Surviving-Mold-Shoemaker-Pro-1196413
Legal Complaints and Issues
Mar. 18, 2014 - ORDER Based on foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is this __20th_ day of ____March___, 2013, by a majority of the quorum of the Board considering this case:ORDERED that the Respondent is REPRIMANDED; and it is furtherORDERED that because the Respondent’s medical practice is now closed, should the Respondent resume the practice of medicine in Maryland, he shall be placed onPROBATION for a minimum of two (2) years and until he fully and satisfactorily complies with all of following terms and conditions:i. The Respondent shall notify the Board in writing prior to re-opening his office;ii. Prior to the resumption of practice, the Respondent shall obtain at his own expense a Board-approved practice monitor;iii. For the first year of probation, the practice monitor will review on a monthly basis aspects of the Respondent’s care including diagnosis, treatment and medications prescribed and appropriate referral to other medical practitioners;
“This may be of particular concern to those who have or are considering the Shoemaker Protocol in their practice as they may become under the same scrutiny in their state and practice, by using the same methods.”
iv. The Respondent shall ensure that the practice monitor submits to the Board a detailed report of his/her findings on a quarterly basis;v. At the end of the first year of probation, the Board will determine whether the condition that the Respondent’s practice be monitored on a monthly basis should be modified or terminated;vi. The Respondent shall not require or solicit patients to make a contribution to his non-profit research fund.ORDRED
that the Respondent shall be subject to chart or peer review at the discretion of the Board during the probationary period; and it is furtherORDERED
that the Respondent shall comply with the Maryland Medical Practice Act and all laws, statutes and regulations pertaining to the practice of the medicine; and it is furtherORDERED
that the Respondent’s failure to comply with any of the conditions of probation or this Consent Order shall be considered a violation of probation; and it is furtherORDERED
that if the Respondent violates any of the terms and conditions of probation or of this Consent Order, the Board, in its discretion, after notice and an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing before an Administrative Law Judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings if there is a genuine dispute as to the underlying material facts, or an opportunity for a show cause hearing before the Board, may impose any other disciplinary sanction for with the Board may have imposed, including a reprimand, probation, suspension, revocation and/or monetary fine, said violation being proven by a preponderance of the evidence; and it is furtherORDERED
that two (2) years after his probationary period begins, the Respondent may submit a written petition to the Board requesting termination of probation. After consideration of the petition, the probation may be terminated, through an order of the Board or designated Board committee. The Board, or designated Board committee, will grant the termination if the Respondent has fully and satisfactorily complied with all of the probationary terms and conditions and there are no pending complaints related to the charges; and it is furtherORDERED
that the Respondent shall not petition the Board for early termination of the terms and conditions of this Consent Order, and it is furtherORDERED
that the Respondent shall be responsible for all costs under this Consent Order; and it is furtherORDERED
that this Consent Order shall be a public document pursuant to Md. State Gov’t Code Ann. 10-611 (2009 Repl. Vol.).