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Court Vindicates Doctor Who Questioned Fertility Study

Online Extra

The Editors

Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

Court Vindicates Doctor Who Questioned Fertility Study, Throws Out Kwang Yul Cha’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Bruce Flamm

LOS ANGELES, October 24—A study was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine claiming that prayers from the USA, Canada, and Australia caused a 100% increase in pregnancy rates among infertility patients in Korea. The surprising results announced by Kwang Cha and associates were widely reported in the news media, including on the ABC news program Good Morning America. However, the study’s credibility was undermined when one of the co-authors, Daniel Wirth, was arrested by the FBI and later pled guilty to fraud. Cha’s other co-author, Columbia University’s Rogerio Lobo, later revealed that he had not participated in the research and withdrew his name from the published findings. Even with one of his co-authors in federal prison and the other disgraced, Korean fertility specialist Kwang Yul Cha stood by the allegedly supernatural study. He eventually filed a defamation lawsuit against Bruce Flamm, a California physician who had published several articles questioning the validity of the Cha/Wirth “pregnancy by prayer” report. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in August 2007, was thrown out of court in April 2008. However, in June 2008 Cha took the case to the California Appellate Court. Today the Court of Appeals “affirmed in full” the Superior Court decision and thus ruled that Superior Court Judge James Dunn had acted appropriately in tossing out the lawsuit.

In response to the ruling, Dr. Flamm issued the following statement: “Today’s ruling is a victory for science and evidence-based medicine. Scientists must be allowed to question bizarre claims. Cha’s mysterious study was designed and allegedly conducted by a man who turned out to be a criminal with a 20-year history of fraud. A criminal who steals the identities of dead children to obtain bank loans and passports is not a trustworthy source of research data. Cha could have simply admitted this obvious fact but instead he hired a team of lawyers to punish me for voicing my opinions. Physicians should debate their opinions in medical journals, not in courts of law. Judges have better things to do with their time and taxpayers have better things to do with their money.”

Dr. Flamm is a physician with Kaiser Permanente and a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California. He has been the senior investigator on numerous medical studies and has written several books and book chapters.

For more information contact: Janice Goings: 951-288-0937 jangoings@aol.com