In 2017, the Texas Medical Board ordered Ross Stewart. Ph.D., to stop practicing medicine without a medical license and said that future violations could trigger a penalty of up $5,000 per violation and/or each day of a continuing violation. The agreed order (shown below) stated that he was treating customers with an undetermined substance that purportedly contained stem cells grown from the customer’s blood but was actually a saline solution with vitamins. The order also said that he “sought to circumvent the law by having customers join the ‘Turtle Healing Band’ allegedly an Oklahoma Native American Tribe, and signing unenforceable waivers purporting to release him from liability.” The Turtle Healing Band, which I have investigated, is part of a network of entities that issues credentials intended to help practitioners avoid government regulation.
Stewart is licensed as a Professional Counselor. At the time the Texas Medical Board became concerned, he owned and operated the Brain & Body Wellness Center) in Dallas, Texas, which reportedly was closed in response to the board’s action. He subsequently represented himself, at Parkinson’s Clinic International LLC, as an “applied clinical nutritionist” who provided treatment based on the theories and methods of Marty Hinz, M.D. Most of Stewart’s current services were being provided through interviews using Skype or FaceTime, after which he recommended dietary supplements that he sells.
In 2019. the North Central Texas Better Business Bureau concluded that changes made to www.parkinsonsclinicinternational.com since the medical board’s action were “insufficient to alert reasonable consumers that Parkinson’s Clinic International is not a medical clinic and that Dr. Stewart is not authorized to treat Parkinson’s disease in the state of Texas.” The BBB also noted that “the address of the ‘Clinic’ is not a medical facility, but is a residential dwelling located in Dallas, Texas.”
While the BBB was investigating, I asked the Texas Medical Board to determine whether Stewart was still practicing medicine without a license. In April 2020, I found that he was again doing business as the Brain & Body Wellness Center, but the company’s Web site no longer displayed medical claims. I don’t yet know whether my complaint has been settled.
|IN THE MATTER OF
ROSS M. STEWART
TEXAS MEDICAL BOARD
AGREED CEASE AND DESIST ORDER
On the 3 day March , 2017, this matter was heard before the Texas Medical Board (the Board). Ross Stewart (Respondent), through his counsel Amy Wellborn, waived any right to a hearing and instead agrees to the entry of this Order. Upon the recommendation of the Board’s staff and with the consent of Respondent, the Board makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
FINDINGS OF FACT
The Board finds that:
- Respondent received all notice required by law and all jurisdictional requirements have been satisfied.
- Respondent is not licensed to practice medicine in the State of Texas.
- Respondent engaged in the unlicensed practice of medicine by treating customers ,with an unknown substance purportedly containing stem cells grown from their blood.
- The unknown substance did not contain stem cells grown from the customer’s blood; instead, the solution was a saline solution with vitamins.
- Respondent engaged in the unlicensed practice of medicine by claiming that this unknown substance could cure medical conditions ranging from Parkinson’s Disease to a broken heart.
- Respondent billed customers for injections of the unknown substance while failing to maintain billing and medical records.
- Respondent had a personal and professional relationship with Felon Joe DiRuzzo who is serving a four-year sentence for similarly injecting customers with unknown substances purportedly containing stem cells grown from their blood samples. At least one of these customers died as a result.
- Respondent sought to circumvent the law by having customers join the “Turtle Healing band”, allegedly an Oklahoma Native American Tribe, and signing unenforceable waivers purporting to release him of liability.
- Respondent has cooperated in the investigation of the allegations related to this Order. To avoid further investigation, hearings, and the expense and inconvenience of litigation, Respondent agrees to the entry of this Order and to comply with its terms and conditions.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
- The Board has jurisdiction over the subject matter and Respondent pursuant to the TEX. OCC. CODE, Title 3, Subtitle B, the Medical Practice Act (Act).
- Texas Occ. Code § 165.052(a) authorizes the issuance of cease and desist orders to individuals who are unlicensed by the Board if it appears that the individual is violating the Act, Board rules, or any other statute or rule relating to the practice of medicine.
- Section 151.002(a)(12) of the Act defines a physician as a person licensed to practice medicine in this state.
- Section 165.052(b) of the Act provides that a violation of an Order under Section § 65.052(a) constitutes grounds for imposing an administrative penalty under TEX. OCC. CODE, Title 3, Subtitle B, Chapter 165, Subchapter A, which allows for an administrative penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation to be assessed, and each day of a violation continues constitutes a separate violation.
- Section 165.151 of the Act provides that a person commits an offense if the person violates the Act, or any rule of the Texas Medical Board.
- Section 165.159 of the Act provides that a person commits an offense if the person practices medicine without complying with the registration requirement imposed by Texas Occupations Code Ann., Title 3, Subtitle B.
- Sections 165.101 and 165.103 of the Act provide that any violation of this Order constitutes grounds for imposing a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation, and for recovery of the reasonable expenses of litigation, by action of the Attorney General, and each day a violation continues constitutes a separate violation.
- Board Rule 187.84 authorizes the Board to impose an administrative penalty for violation of a cease and desist order, or refer the matter to the Attorney General to institute action for: an injunction against violation of the order; any administrative penalty assessed by the Board; a civil penalty in accord with Section 165.101 of the Act; expenses in accord with Section 165.103 of the Act; and any other remedy provided by law.
Based on the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Board ORDERS that:
- Respondent is prohibited from practicing medicine in the State of Texas without a license issued by the Texas Medical Board.
- Respondent shall cease and desist any unlicensed practice of medicine in the State of Texas from and after the date of Respondent’s signature below.
- Respondent shall immediately cease and desist from advertising, offering to treat, treating, or assisting another in treating anyone in the State of Texas with stem cells.
- Any violation of this Order constitutes grounds for imposing an administrative penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation, and/or each day of a continuing violation, of the Medical Practice Act.
RESPONDENT WAIVES THE RIGHT TO A HEARING PURSUANT TO THE MEDICAL PRACTICE ACT SECTIONS 165.052 AND 164.002(a) AND 22 TEX. ADMIN. CODE, CHAPTER 187, AS APPLICABLE, AND ALL RIGHTS PURSUANT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT, TEX. GOV’T CODE, CHAPTER 2001, JNCLUDING THE RIGHT TO NOTICE AND HEARING, AND TO ANY FURTHER HEARINGS OR APPEALS TO THE BOARD OR TO ANY COURT IN REGARD TO THIS ORDER. RESPONDENT AGREES TO THE ENTRY OF THIS ORDER AND AGREES THAT THIS IS A FINAL ORDER.
I, ROSS M. STEWART, HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS ORDER. MY SIGNATURE BELOW IS VOLUNTARY. THIS ORDER CONTAINS THE ENTIRE AGREEMENT AND TIHERE IS NO OTHER AGREEMENT OF ANY KIND, VERBAL, WRITTEN, OR OTHERW1SE. I HAVE SIGNED THIS ORDER ON THE 10TH DA Y OF FEBRUARY , 2017.
Ross M. Stewart, Ph.D, P.C.
SIGNED AND ENTERED by the presiding officer of the Texas Medical Board on this 3 day of March, 2017.
Sherif Z. Zaafran, President
Texas Medical Board
This article was revised on April 8, 2020.