What Happened to My Medical License? Dr. Westin Childs

What Happened to my Medical License?

I have a lot of people interested in the way that I used to practice medicine and I get frequent requests to get treated. In searching for my practice you may have found that my medical license was surrendered several years ago.

This is the story of how it happened:

If you stumbled upon this then you probably have a lot of questions. What does that mean? Did I get in trouble? Can I still see patients? All of these questions and more will be answered here!

To really set the record straight I have to give a little bit of information and backstory.

And before I do that, there are a few things that you should know:

#1. Conventional medical doctors HATE doctors like me. I will explain more about why this is as we go but I want to put this here for now.

#2. I’m kind of a rule-breaker. I’ll admit it. I don’t love to follow the rules. Even though I don’t break the law, I have no problem bending some rules. This bending of the rules is a problem for a doctor because doctors are supposed to be “conservative”. My rule-breaking tendencies are the reason I was so successful, though! By breaking rules I wasn’t afraid to try new therapies, to listen to patients when they said things that went against the grain, to use medications off-label, and to combine therapies that wouldn’t normally be combined.

#3. I never hurt anyone nor did I ever have any malpractice complaints/issues against my medical license. My patients loved my online medical practice and I successfully helped hundreds of patients optimize their thyroid and hormones, and, collectively, lose thousands of pounds even after conventional medical therapies like bariatric surgery failed.

#4. I did have 2 complaints against my medical license which are well-documented and available to the public. This story will explain those complaints and how they led to the surrender of my medical license.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about complaints against a medical license.

In reality, a complaint against a medical license is not much different than a complaint that you might leave for a business.

A complaint is just that. A complaint. These complaints can range from being very serious (as in someone getting the wrong body part operated on) to very silly (as in the receptionist was rude to me type of thing).

But because we are talking about health and medicine, each and every complaint is investigated.

Some complaints arise from people because they thought a doctor was rude to them or because they had a bad experience with office staff. Other complaints are more serious and stem from state departments or from federal agencies.

In my case, I had 2 complaints against my medical license.

One from a former patient and one from the Arizona Department of Health.

The first was from a former patient (abbreviated R.G. in various documents) but not for being mistreated or anything like that.

The story behind that particular complaint is interesting in that it all stemmed from an email that was accidentally sent to people due to a glitch in my billing software.

This glitch incorrectly sent out a refund notification email to a handful of my patients out of the blue.

R.G. was one of those patients that, incorrectly, received this email.

They’d been a patient of mine for about 2-3 months and were doing well. At the time of this glitch, I had a direct primary care type model in which patients were charged every month to have unlimited access to me via visits, emails, phone calls, etc.

The price for this service was $149/month and this particular patient had a history of trouble making the monthly payments (failed payments, credit card declines, that sort of thing).

As you would expect, my team worked with her and provided her with several months of care free of charge because we didn’t want to leave her without thyroid medication.

Ultimately, she was never able to make her payment despite trying multiple credit/debit cards so we transitioned her care to a local doctor.

We never heard from her until 6 months later when a complaint surfaced.

Her complaint, according to the documents that we received, stated that my practice was “shady” and that we needed to be looked into.

There wasn’t much else to the complaint other than that.

This obviously came as a surprise to our entire team, given that we never received any indication of dissatisfaction during our time communicating with her over several months via phone calls and emails.

It was only later that we found out she was one of those people who were incorrectly sent the “refund” message from the glitch in our billing software.

Once we found out about the glitch, it was quickly fixed and we emailed those who were affected, but the confusion and damage were already done for this particular patient.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that this patient felt slighted and entitled to that refund because of the email glitch and that was the reason for her complaint. I obviously will never know for sure, but that’s my suspicion.

Anyway, because of the complaint, the medical board then requested all of her files and found out that she was being treated via telemedicine.

This is important because, at that time, my practice consisted solely of telemedicine patients.

And telemedicine, from a thyroid patient perspective, was amazing because it allowed my patients access to treatments that would otherwise not be available to them.

Thyroid patients, who struggle immensely to get the right type of treatment, were finally able to get access to T3-only medications, NDT, a full set of labs, and prescription hormones, all without leaving their homes.

This practice style worked out amazingly well and was incredibly successful for all of those who were a part of it.

My patients loved it, I loved it, and we were getting incredible results.

Unfortunately, medical boards aren’t big fans of telemedicine practice models for reasons that aren’t completely understood.

They will sometimes cite the dangers of such a model, but then that doesn’t make sense given their capitulation to them during COVID.

Anyway, back to the story:

At the time the complaint was lodged (I’m not sure if the law is still the same now), Arizona required that anyone who was going to be treated with telemedicine must first be physically seen in person.

So despite the success of hundreds of patients, and their love for that practice model, this complaint, unfortunately, exposed the fact that I hadn’t seen this patient physically before I started treating her via telemedicine.

And that was the main problem.

But let me be clear:

I actually didn’t know I was breaking any rules or regulations at the time (though, I did have a suspicion that my model was not totally compliant) and because it was incredibly successful for my patients, I didn’t really think to look into it further.

I took a sort of “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” type of stance.

As far as I can tell, the cascade of events that led to the surrendering of my medical license ultimately stemmed from a complaint over an email glitch.

I’ll never know for sure if that’s the case but I believe it probably was!

But why did I have to surrender my medical license? Was the complaint really that bad?

The answer to this question comes back to one of my original statements:

Medical boards really dislike doctors who practice like me.

Again, I’m not 100% sure why, but medical boards dislike doctors who take a more natural and holistic approach to patient care.

They also just so happen to very much dislike doctors who treat with thyroid medications like T3 and NDT due to dogma and bias.

At least part of this bias exists because they believe that these thyroid medications are more harmful than levothyroxine because they increase the risk for potential complications like atrial fibrillation and osteoporosis.

I’ve debunked such claims in the past, but what is important to understand for this story is that doctors who use these medications have a big target on their backs.

And this is why, by the way, you will have such a hard time finding a doctor willing to prescribe these types of medications.

They are out there, but they tend to keep quiet in order to stay under the radar of the medical board.

But anyway, back to the story:

As a result of the complaint, the medical board investigated my practice and, instead of attempting to fight them, I just opted to surrender my medical license.

I could have gone in and fought them, but I didn’t feel it was worth the theatrics so I opted for the surrendering route.

Was I breaking the rules of telemedicine? Yes.

Was anyone getting hurt? No.

Did patients love the treatment they were receiving? Yes.

Were the treatments dangerous? Definitely not.

Did the punishment fit the crime from the medical board? Debatable.

I say that because there are doctors out there right now with active medical licenses even after:

  • Using addictive substances while treating patients (drinking alcohol, taking narcotics, etc.)
  • Engaging in intimate relationships with patients
  • Performing surgical operations on the wrong body part (wrong arm/leg, etc.)

I’m of the opinion that practicing telemedicine without physically seeing a patient is much more benign than any of the acts listed above, but I’ll let you decide on your own.

Okay, so that was the first complaint.

What about the second?

The second complaint came from the Arizona Department of Health and this was in regard to prescribing medical marijuana.

When I first got out of residency, I took a job in which I would prescribe medical marijuana to people with chronic medical conditions.

It was actually a lot of fun and one of my favorite jobs to date.

The reason for this complaint was simple:

In order for a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana, they needed to first look up a history of a patient’s list of prescription medications.

The idea was that doctors needed to check to see if patients were getting scheduled narcotics and other painkillers from various types of doctors in an effort to abuse the system.

Every time you fill a prescription for a scheduled narcotic, like oxycodone, for instance, the pharmacy records the prescription.

Doctors can then look at this list to make sure patients aren’t hopping around from doctor to doctor to get more than they need.

And, basically, I never did this. Not even once.

And, apparently, they got pretty upset about this.

Why didn’t I? Well, because I never thought it was necessary for the people I was treating.

For one, I have a good sense of whether or not a patient is lying.

And two, medical marijuana has been shown to help REDUCE their dependence on narcotics.

Because narcotics are much more dangerous than marijuana, I knew that it would be healthier for a patient to use fewer narcotics and MORE marijuana.

But let’s put that aside for a second and look at the bigger picture:

It’s now 100% legal to purchase medical marijuana over the counter in Arizona.

And there’s absolutely zero requirement for a database look up prior to providing it.

Why does it make sense that a doctor would need to do this before prescribing it to patients?

I’m not sure, but, again, here we are.

I think this is a rather silly complaint, but I fully accept responsibility because I did make the mistake.

Did it harm anyone? No.

Was it dangerous? I would argue not at all.

But this second complaint just added fuel to the fire.

Anyway, as a result of both complaints, I just opted to surrender my license instead of attempting to fight the medical board.

So that’s the story!

The result is that I am no longer practicing medicine and do not have an active medical license.

Based on Arizona law, I have the opportunity to reapply for licensure after 5 years, but I have no plans to do this.

In fact, this 5 year timeframe has already elapsed so I could apply right away, but I don’t think it’s worth it.

I love what I do now and I have more freedom in making recommendations and talking about topics that would have otherwise been potentially off-limits if I were to be licensed.

Still, I understand that there is a high demand for the type of treatment that I used to provide so I have often mulled over the idea of creating a physical practice and training doctors to treat in the way that I used to.

If I ever do go this route, I will let everyone on my email list know.

Along with this, here are a few frequently asked questions regarding my license that people have asked over the years:

Frequently Asked Questions

Good question!

The truth is I really don’t refer to myself as a doctor nor do I think of myself as a doctor.

That might be confusing because I retain the brand name ‘Dr. Westin Childs’ but that’s primarily because it’s the brand of my supplement company and this brand name was created back when I was practicing.

The fact that I still retain this brand name is confusing for some people because they want to know how I can call myself a doctor if I’m not practicing.

The answer to this question is simple:

The title doctor doesn’t come from a medical license, it comes from a degree.

And I hold a Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine so the term doctor is in reference to this degree.

It would be similar to someone with a PHD referring to themselves as a doctor in a classroom setting or at a conference of some sort.

This is an interesting question and not one that I really think about that much but it has been asked before.

But to answer it, no, I don’t think it would matter.

I don’t attempt to hide the fact that I’m no longer practicing and my business has only gotten bigger over time.

My business is one where I do my best to create the most helpful information and the absolute best supplements for thyroid patients.

The information I provide is 100% free and we have a generous 60-day return policy on all of our supplements.

So if you don’t like what you see here, or my supplements don’t work for you, you haven’t lost anything.

My goal is to keep creating the best resources for thyroid patients and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

I don’t. It’s not something that I am ashamed of, nor is it something that I try to hide.

I point out in many places on my website that I am a former physician to try and avoid confusion, but there are plenty of people who miss this information and often accuse me of trying to hide it.

But the reality is that you can find information about my license in the following places:

  • At the bottom of every single blog post
  • On the front page of my website
  • In the description of every single YouTube video
  • In the description of every single podcast that I create
  • And on the page that you are currently reading
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