McMahon treats mold illness

February 24, 2011 • Local News

For more than 18 years, Dr. Scott McMahon has served the Roswell community as a pediatrician. At the end of January, he resigned from La Casa Family Health Center and opened his own practice to treat mold illness patients.

McMahon’s new practice is run out of his home, 309 S. Kentucky, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Not everyone in town approves of the methods and diagnoses of his new practice — in relation to mold. In a letter to the editor of the Daily Record printed on Feb. 1, BCA Medical Group called into question McMahon’s methods.

McMahon, a onetime employee of BCA, said he was surprised when the letter printed.

“I was disappointed [with the letter],” McMahon said. “I know I have treated patients that have gotten better for years. People who have been sick, tired, who have had little endurance, for years, who got better on the [auth] protocol that Dr. Shoemaker uses. I felt like it was a smack in the face of patients, almost like saying ‘you were never sick,’ or ‘you were just faking it.’”

Dr. Karen Carson, a BCA pediatrician who wrote the letter, said the intent of the BCA Medical Group was to inform the public that they had neither found nor treated any of their patients for mold illness, nor saw it necessary to make any diagnoses.

“We, as pediatricians … have not seen any of this,” she said. “There is no diagnosis of what is called a mold biotoxin illness that Dr. McMahon and Dr. Shoemaker are treating. We felt it was necessary to respond to that.”

McMahon is eager for local physicians to look at the data that he uses to make his diagnosis. He said those questioning his methods and treatment on mold illness patients need to be more informed.

“My job is to, hopefully, teach them, so that they will be able to see the disease when they see it [in their patients],” he said. “This is a relatively new phenomena, a new entity and not everybody understands it.”

According to sources close to those being treated for mold illness there is another Roswell physician treating patients who wishes to remain anonymous. In spite of McMahon and others treating patients for what they believe is mold illness, Carson said more research and peer review should be done before anyone is treated.

“We don’t know [what it is], but until we know, we shouldn’t be doing things to the children of Roswell that may hurt them,” she said. “The treatments that are going on may be harmful, and that’s our biggest concern. We don’t want the children of Roswell to be harmed by a medical treatment.”

Cholestyramine is one of the medicines taken by McMahon’s mold illness patients. It’s usually used by individuals with high cholesterol. However, it’s also used by some mold remediation workers.

Emily Gill, a former GHS student and currently a junior at New Mexico State University, takes the cholestyramine to cope with her mold illness. She said her sickness has interrupted her academic life at NMSU.

“It’s pretty much all I can take [to stop the symptoms],” Gill said. “It usually takes an hour or so for the symptoms to stop.”

McMahon plans to continue his work to help patients like Gill, despite what some of his colleagues deem as harmful.

“My hope is that the physicians in town, the other providers in town will look at the data, instead of what a defense attorney says or what someone else’s opinion is — they’ll actually look at the data that’s unbiased and make their own decision.”

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