Regulatory Action against David Steenblock, D.O.(1997-2000)


Stephen Barrett, M.D.
March 28, 2000

In 1991, David Steenblock, D.O., of San Clemente, California, was charged with negligence in connection with two patients he had treated. One was a seriously ill 13-year-old girl who he saw over a 5-month period and allegedly misdiagnosed, mistreated, and failed to refer to a specialist. The other was a man who he allegedly treated with adrenal cortical extract for a complaint of fatigue. In 1994, the case was settled with a stipulation under which he agreed to serve five years of probation, pay $10,000 for costs, and take extra continuing education courses in pharmacology, medical charting, and ethics.

In 1997, as noted below, Steenblock was charged with violating his probation by not paying the $10,000 assessment and by using three unlicensed “physical therapy assistants” to administer patient services. (In 1997, the employees were convicted of practicing physical therapy without a license.) In 2000, after Steenblock had aid the $10,000 and hired a licensed physical therapist to supervise the others, the board assessed another $3,500 toward costs but decided not to penalize him “aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of physical therapy.” The proceedings also had the effect of extending his probation for three months (to March 28, 2000).

Today, Steenblock runs the Brain Cell Therapeutic Clinic, in Mission Viejo, California, which offers many types of unsubstantiated treatments for chronic diseases. The clinic’s Web site states that Steenblock “has devoted many years to research in the fields of biochemistry, pathology, nerve and muscle physiology, cardiovascular disease and other diseases of aging.” Yet a Medline search shows that his only mainstream journal publications were three co-authored articles about clotting factors in dogs and guinea pigs—all published in the late 1960s when he worked as a laboratory research assistant during his osteopathic training.


BEFORE THE
OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL BOARD
STATE OF CALIFORNIA

In the Matter of the Petition to Revoke Probation Against:
 
DAVID ALAN STEENBLOCK, D.O.
26381 Crown Valley Parkway

Suite 130, Building 7

Mission Viejo, California 92691
 
Osteopath Lic. No. 20A4160

      Respondent.

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NO. 97-5
 
AMENDED PETITION TO
REVOKE PROBATION

Complainant, as an Amended Petition to Revoke Probation against David Alan Steenblock, D.O., alleges as follows:

PARTIES

1. The complainant, Linda Bergman, is the Executive Director of the Osteopathic Medical Board of the State of California (hereinafter the “Board”) and makes this Amended Petition to Revoke Probation in her official capacity.

2. Respondent David Alan Steenblock, D.O. (hereinafter respondent “Steenblock”) was licensed by the Board to practice osteopathy in the State of California on August 3, 1977, under Osteopath Certificate No. 20A4160. Said license is current and will expire on January 31, 1999.

JURISDICTION

3. Business and Professions Code section 3600 provides that the law governing licentiates of the Board is found in the Osteopathic Act (Initiative Measure, Stats. 1923, p. xciii, § 1 et seq.) and in Chapter 5, Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code relating to medicine. All further reference to the Osteopathic Act shall be to the provisions of Business and Professions Code section 3600 et seq.

4. Business and Professions Code section 3600-2 provides that the Board shall enforce those provisions of the Medical Practice Act identified as Article 12 (commencing with section 2220) of Chapter 5 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code as now existing or as hereafter amended as to persons who hold certificates subject to the jurisdiction of the Osteopathic Medical Board.

PRIOR DISCIPLINE

5. On or about August 19, 1993, Amended Accusation #91-1 was filed against respondent by the Board. As a result of that action, a Decision in Case No. 91-1, pursuant to Stipulation, issued and became effective on March 21, 1994. The Decision suspended respondent’s certificate for nine months, stayed the suspension and placed respondent’s certificate on probation for five years from the effective date of the Decision upon certain terms and conditions.

6. The disciplinary terms and conditions of probation on respondent’s license imposed in the Decision in Case No. #91-1
include, inter alia, the following:

“4. Respondent shall reimburse the Board for its investigation and prosecution costs in the amount of $10,000. Payment of the costs may be made by monthly installments provided the entire $10,000 is paid on or before August 31, 1996.

5. Respondent shall obey all federal, state and local laws, and all rules governing the practice of medicine in California.

10. If respondent violates probation in any respect, the Board may revoke probation and carry out the disciplinary order that was stayed after giving respondent notice and the opportunity to be heard. If an Accusation and/or Petition to Revoke probation is filed against respondent during probation, the Board shall have continuing jurisdiction until the matter is final, and the period of probation shall be extended until the matter is final. Upon successful completion of probation, respondent’s certificate will be fully restored.”

FIRST CAUSE OF PETITION

FAILURE TO PAY COSTS

7. Complainant incorporates herein by this reference the Preamble and each of the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 6 hereinabove.

8. Respondent Steenblock, by failing to reimburse the Board $10,000 as required by Condition No.4 in the Decision in Case No. 91-1, has violated the terms of his probation and therefore subjected his certificate to the discipline set forth in said Decision.

SECOND CAUSE OF PETITION

EMPLOYING, AIDING AND ABETTING
THE UNLICENSED PRACTICE OF PHYSICAL THERAPY

9. Complainant incorporates herein by this reference the preamble and each of the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 6 hereinabove.

10. Business and Professions Code section 2234(a) provides that the Division of Medical Quality shall take action against any licensee who is charged with unprofessional conduct which includes violating or attempting to violate, directly or indirectly, or assisting in or abetting the violation of or conspiring to violate any provision in Chapter 12 of the Medical Practice Act, Chapter 5r Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code.

11. Business and Professions Code section 2264
unprofessional conduct includes the employing, directly or indirectly the aiding, or the abetting of any unlicensed person to engage in the practice of medicine or any other mode of treating the sick or afflicted which requires a license to practice.

12. During 1995, respondent Steenblock employed and permitted Marie S. Losso, Sharon L. Lebo and Vera Lee Jackson to perform physical therapy upon patients at respondent’s medical facility in Mission Viejo, California.

At all times material herein, Losso, Lebo and Jackson were not licensed as physical therapists by the