This week Dr. Roman had some bad news as the dismissal of the case which she brought against Tufts College was upheld. To read more details about the case the legal aspects are on The Hub, and an Associated Press article is over at boston dot com
Dr. Roman wrote this comment about the article:
I feel this was an important case to highlight the need for some level of accountability from the universities who, because of financial incentives, are beholden to “Big Pharma” and the large corporate funds from the pet food industry. It is also a case that showed without a doubt that Integrative Veterinary Medicine saved the life of Champ – a 26 year-old beloved Morgan Horse.
It is very disappointing that the Court based its decision on the dispute over the bill Tufts submitted, rather than reach the First Amendment issues that, at some time, must be resolved. I have no doubt that my exclusion from the lecture on raw diet was based on my views on this issue, which are contrary to those that would be offered at the lecture. (The large corporate food companies subsidize the views at Tufts on this issue and their nutrition department). The Court ignored the fact that I specifically asked about the lecture on May 17, 2005. When I called the continuing education office prior to the event I asked specifically if this was a continuing education class or course with credit. The official said “no, this is not CE and it is free and open to everyone. Please come.” When asked if they needed to know who was coming or how many were coming, her reply was “everyone was welcome and there are no restrictions.” The restrictions that I received in the letter cited by the Court was that I would not be able to take any more continuing education classes.
I was in then involved in a dispute with Tufts over the veterinary bill, and it was in the hands of the director of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, waiting for a peer review hearing addressing the unprofessional treatment that I received at the University. As a former Tufts Veterinary Faculty from 1979-86, I called the dean, Dr. Kosch after the threatened arrest. I told him that I was so insulted by an arrest attempt and saw a violation of freedom of speech and I was not afraid to sue them for civil rights violation. His reply: “If you sue us we will crush you like a bug; we have such deep pockets. We can outspend you in lawyers. We will find people to say terrible things about you.” To me that was a real case of bullying. The other universities that signed on with this case have deep pockets too. I only had the ACLU and my counsel.
The only treatment plan that Tufts doctors had recommended for my daughter’s and my horse Champ was euthanasia. We had rescued Champ at the age of 16. He was very sick at the time and they wanted to possibly euthanize him, but with integrative veterinary care his health improved and he soon became my daughter’s show horse. At the age of 20, he was diagnosed with cancer; however, we treated him with integrative veterinary medicine for 6 years – proving that you can live with cancer. The fact that I wanted to have his eye removed was considered by the Tufts doctors to be cruel.
Yet, the fact that that Champ lived another 2 1/2 years after the removal of his eye, with cancer and was back up and jumping in horse shows at 27 years of age attested to the failure of diagnosis by the Tufts doctors; contrary to their diagnosis, he was not dying of metastatic cancer at that point, and was instead still capable of having a wonderful life. For the remainder of Champ’s life, he continued to enjoy a “quality of life”, his health was not compromised and I and others, who loved him, were able to ride him 3-4 times a week.
Animals and humans can live with cancer for years and have quality of life. We should not only choose euthanasia when an animal has cancer.
It is unprecedented to be threatened with arrest for not paying a veterinary bill and/or coming onto campus and attending something sponsored at/by Tufts. There was never any attempt to check if any other attendee at the lecture had not paid their veterinary bill, (and it is common knowledge that there are hundreds of people who have not paid their Tufts bills).
My concern for this civil rights issue remains. If someone does not agree with a view being presented by a university, should they be removed from voicing a different view? This is particularly so where the views expressed by the university are being supported by funds from a private corporation whose financial interests are being advanced. Because there is so much money at stake, the universities cannot afford to allow freedom of information to be expressed. The public lecture, from which I was excluded, concerned the “Hazards of Feeding Raw Foods to your Pets.” Hundreds of my clients feed organic, whole food with fresh vegetables and raw meat to their dogs and cats. They are conscientious and implement a balanced diet plan with huge success. It is probably one of the most positive ways to improve the health of an animal, that is, to get back to natural diets without all the preservatives, dyes, processing and flavor enhancers. However, dog food companies like Hills, Purina and Iams do not promote this type of diet, which would have a negative financial impact on their bottom line – and these large companies fund the nutritional department at Tufts as well as most other veterinary schools.
We need to have something positive come out of this court case. I have been studying both alternative and complementary as well as allopathic veterinary medicine and nutrition for over 35 years. I lecture nationally and internationally. I am always learning and keeping my mind open to new ideas and looking at the older ideas that have proven track records. Veterinarians and veterinary students need to see all the options in healthcare and should be able to decide which of these options may help the animals in their care. If one cannot get the exposure to these options, then they are being denied the information that could provide patients with life saving opportunities.
So let’s call for an openness of minds for the betterment of the health of both humans and animals.
These issues are in the forefront of my mind and many others as well and we want to make positive changes in the veterinary and animal caretaker world. Another concerned individual and myself have spear- headed a nonprofit The Center for Integrative Veterinary Care which does educational outreach concerning these issues. Our project is getting momentum and visibility. For all wanting to track our progress these are the websites, you can see www.drshowmore.org and my clinic site www.mashvet.com where you can see the most current version of Dr.DoMore. (Instead of Dr. Do Little) and contribute to our Blog and Facebook networking. It will hopefully become the instrument for positive change, as we need to Do More in Healthcare.