Two SETX families hire attorney for possible legal action against clinic in Nederland
KFDM has learned two Southeast Texas families have hired an attorney for possible legal action against a clinic in Nederland.
They say they went there to improve their health, but claim they ended up feeling worse.
KFDM's Angel San Juan has been investigating and joins us with what he's learned.
The two families have hired a prominent Beaumont law firm to represent them. The firm is deciding whether to file medical malpractice claims against Optimum Health in Nederland.
Tonight, you'll hear from those who claim there are problems with the treatment that was received and you'll hear from the clinic and how it says all treatment is proper and designed to improve health.
Bobby Ashworth has been in law enforcement here in Southeast Texas for 20 years.
Last year, the police officer says he started suffering from fatigue.
Ashworth: "I got the impression that he knew what he was talking about and he was going to take care of me, and he was going to help me out with fatigue.”
Ashworth went to Optimum Medical Weight Control and Family Wellness.
Online it gets good reviews.
On Optimum's Facebook page out of the 63 reviews it's received, we found only two negative ones.
Most are like this one stating: “Optimum has changed my life."
Ashworth feels the same way, but he says his life has changed for the worse.
Ashworth: “Went in with a problem of being tired, and came out with much worse, more severe problems than just being tired.”
Ashworth says at Optimum he was diagnosed with low testosterone.
Ashworth: “On the testosterone, they inserted 25 pellets, I went back two weeks later, and they inserted 10 more.”
Ashworth says that treatment cost him $725, but is concerned it impacted his health.
Ashworth: “I had several different episodes when my heart would start beating real, real fast and it felt like it was fixing to beat out of my chest."
Ashworth says it wasn't until he read a Facebook post from Dr. Amy Townsend that he began to wonder if the treatment he received at Optimum could be linked to the rapid heartbeat.
Dr. Townsend told KFDM an acquaintance of hers went to the clinic for hormone treatment.
She says he was prescribed testosterone even though Dr. Townsend says he wasn't deficient in testosterone.
Ashworth says he's having to go to a phlebotomist because of what he calls high levels of testosterone.
Ashworth: “A month and a half, two months, I've had six pints of blood drawn off me, had a pint drawn off last week, because my levels were high.”
We met with Ashworth and Dr. Townsend at the Provost Umphrey Law Firm where attorney Chris Kirchmer practices.
Chris Kirchmer: "Bobby's story isn't unique when it comes to Optimum, in fact the reason we got involved in these cases and started reviewing them is because we got calls from concerned people in the healthcare community in the Jefferson County area and we don't normally handle medical malpractice cases, but because of the volume of calls we got from concerned medical providers, we decided to review them."
The owner of King's Pharmacy in Port Arthur no longer fills prescriptions from the clinic.
Kirchmer: The pharmacist there refused to fill those prescriptions out of a concern about the dose levels that he was seeing coming in the prescription from the Optimum Clinic."
Ashworth has hired Kirchmer, and the attorney says the family of Brad Guilbeaux has also hired him to represent them.
Guilbeaux was a 47-year-old Port Neches man who died in February.
We obtained a copy of Guilbeaux's autopsy. It says specifically that he died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease. It states a contributory cause of death was chronic exogenous, meaning external hormone therapy and obesity.
Kirschmer says Guilbeaux's therapy took place at Optimum Health.
Kirchmer: "What happens initially for most of these patients is that they sort of get a rush of energy from the thyroid medication and it makes them feel really good for a period of time and then from what we've seen that begins to taper off, they start having problems with their heart racing at really high speeds, they start having problems with blood pressure that ultimately is when things start to turn."
Kevin Morgan is listed on the Optimum Medical Weight Control and Family Wellness website as the chairman. He's a nurse practitioner.
According to the website, he's board certified in family health and has devoted many years of his life and education to understanding the human body.
We reached out to Morgan for a response to our report. He didn't want to speak on camera but told us by phone he did not need to defend himself.
Morgan says 10 months ago, four doctors reported him to the Texas Medical Board.
Morgan says in the 10-month period, he's had no contact from the board that he's done anything wrong.
Morgan's brother-in-law told us by phone that Morgan has received letters from doctors threatening they'd report him to the Drug Enforcement Administration if Morgan did not release his patients back to them.
The brother-in-law claims the doctors were jealous of Optimum's success.
We contacted the medical board. A spokesman told us the board doesn't confirm nor deny complaints only publicizes actions if any are taken.
Mr. Morgan did tell us during our phone conversation that Optimum has seen 10,000 patients in two years, all coming from other doctors' offices and there have been no findings against him.
On the company's website it states:
"He's dedicated to living the healthiest lifestyle possible and his passion is to help others do the same."
It adds: "Rest assured that Kevin's knowledge and expertise will put you on a path to becoming a healthier you."
Morgan declined an on-camera interview for this report, but we told him he had an open invitation to respond.