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The Matter of Dr. David Kuntz - From Justice4you

"Do you see how they are beginning to slur the professional judgment of any surgeon willing to care for the worker after WCB refuses to fund care?" suggests Dr. Kuntz. "Now they are declaring jointly that unauthorized surgery has become inappropriate surgery. Yet if workers are insured under medicare, they are perfectly entitled to have their surgery paid by medicare. This is a conspiracy between two paying agencies."

Page 1 of 3

The matter of Dr. David Kuntz

The following report of the case of Dr. Kuntz’s has all the elements of corruption on the part of the judiciary and the legal profession.

Dr. Kuntz’s believed, as most people want to believe that justice would prevail in the Candian Courts, but he learned that while Canada likes to boast about being the best judiciary in the world, it is corrupt to the core. Somewhat like the myth of fresh air, pure water and free health care… the judicial system is toxic.

What you will read next is only a sample of Dr. Kuntz story.

Vision of a maverick: A much-sued B.C. surgeon wants to outfit private hospital ships to restore damaged spines and promote global medical tourism.

Report Newsmagazine

Monday, September 2, 2002

Section: Society

Byline: Candis McLean

Source: The Report

The man some consider to be among the finest orthopedic surgeons who ever lived, but who himself claims to be the "most-sued" doctor in medical history, wants to leave the Canadian medical establishment behind and set up his own worldwide fleet of private hospital ships.

Dr. David Kuntz, of Vancouver would begin by converting vessels-- he is even considering the three B.C. fast ferries--to 50-bed state-of-the-art hospitals with two operating rooms specializing in the latest in neck and back surgery.

Incorporating an acrylic replacement disc which he invented, the operation would not only get those with injured spines back on their feet, but, Dr. Kuntz maintains, would also treat a host of now-incurable neurodegenerative diseases affecting the entire aging population--including migraines, Alzheimer's, strokes, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis.

These he calls the "Kuntz's Kurse Variants" because he believes that in many instances they result from lack of blood flow to the upper spinal cord, brain stem and hindbrain. As Dr. Kuntz puts it, they can be cured only when replacement discs "return the spine to The Manufacturer's original specifications."

Once the spine is elongated by the discs, the arteries alongside it are freed: "It's just like unkinking a garden hose," he says. "Many patients wake up from surgery with their blinding headaches gone, difficulty in concentration relieved and short-term memory improved. It took hundreds of patients telling me their stories before--my God! It hit me and drove me to research."

The hospital ships could be a multibillion- dollar industry, Dr. Kuntz believes, "bigger than Microsoft, because while not everyone has a computer, everyone has a spine, and everyone's spine shortens."

As an indication of the enormous potential, he says there are 10 patients requiring disc replacement for every patient requiring hip replacement, and 40 million chronic headache sufferers in the U.S. alone who could be candidates for screening and treatment. "Demand will exceed ability to supply services," he predicts.

He also foresees the hospital ships pumping lifeblood into the economy of B.C.'s north coast. "Since September 11, people have been reluctant to risk travel just to see the scenery; however, they will travel for medical reasons when they're desperate for help, and B.C. would become a global end-destination for medical tourism similar to the Mayo Clinic."

Moreover, the ships would provide a "medical merchant marine fleet" for rapid deployment to areas of earthquake, terrorist attack, nuclear explosions and other disasters.

Such unique floating facilities would also circumnavigate one rather awkward complication: the controversial Dr. Kuntz, has lost his licence to practise medicine in B.C.

"But on a vessel, marine law applies, and a Canadian licence would not be necessary." According to the Canadian Coastguard, doctors only have to fulfill the practice requirements of the country registering the ships. "I would register in a jurisdiction that's friendly and guarantees legislation that no one could sue me.

You need a safe jurisdiction because this entails a complete change in existing thought; you'd be upsetting many peoples' income flow and meaning in life. You only need one or two to tie you up in court for the rest of your life."

The reason Dr. Kuntz is so adamant about a safe harbour? "I know the WCB [Workers' Compensation Board] would be looking for that one in 100 who would sue."

Animus between Dr. Kuntz and the WCB has lasted a quarter-century. "A maverick B.C. surgeon is barred from practice, but hundreds of patients want him back," wrote Ted Byfield in a 1989 cover story for B.C. Report.

Mr. Byfield described Dr. Kuntz as a "revered bone surgeon of the B.C. northland who for years performed more spinal surgery than anyone else in the province.

He has been ousted as an incompetent by the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and two months ago was physically dragged through the snow and mud from the game farm he sought to develop as a refuge for injured wildlife, the bank having foreclosed on the house and property.

He now lives on the donations of his former patients in a one-bedroom Kitimat apartment while the town council, three labour unions, local doctors and some 750 former patients bombard the B.C. Health Ministry with demands for a full-scale public inquiry into his suspension."

Thirteen years later, Dr. Kuntz is still awaiting that inquiry.

Dr. Kuntz has since lived several years in the office of his lawyer, and eight years on an "old scow on the Fraser River in which the pipes kept freezing and breaking."

His wife and baby daughter were forced to live in her parents' home, although the penniless family is now reunited in Vancouver. His myriad legal battles have taken him to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Through it all, he has been kept going by former patients such as Robert Hamblin, 60, of Houston, 200 miles west of Prince George, who still phones to provide regular doses of encouragement.

Mr. Hamblin had severely damaged five spinal discs in a car accident 20 years ago. "I couldn't turn my head, my hands were like clubs, so numb I couldn't pick up anything, and my eyesight was starting to go funny.

Everything on me ached. A bunch of doctors tried everything--pills, acupuncture, chiropractors, physio. Nothing worked.
Page 2 of 3

The matter of Dr. David Kuntz continues

"I went and saw that little guy [Dr. Kuntz], and he said, 'I'll see you in Hazelton hospital tomorrow. I'll have you on your feet again.' I woke up feeling so good, I jumped right out of bed. They came looking for me, and I said, 'I'm going home.' It was like someone gave me a new life."

Twenty years later, Mr. Hamblin, still "100%," has his own drilling and blasting company and "is just a-givin' 'er." What he found mysterious, however, was the way in which he was later treated by three doctors with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

"I was suing someone over the car accident, and ICBC said they wanted to know what was ailing me," recounts Mr. Hamblin. "They sent me to three Vancouver doctors...during their tests I ended up on the epileptic ward in a straitjacket because I reacted to the dye they put in my back.

When I recovered," he continues in a tone of incredulity, "they told me I should sue Dr. Kuntz because he had no business using his method on me, and the discs wouldn't last 10 years. I said, 'How the hell do you sue a man who's done such wonderful work?' But I know that most people who are told, 'Sue this man,' probably would. I know one guy who sued him and got over $100,000, and he's in fine shape."

In 1981 two Vancouver doctors came north to investigate Dr. Kuntz's practice and discovered the doctor repairing people with a prefabricated disc he made himself from methyl methacrylate.

He had implanted these discs in more than 100 people, who then required only three-and-a-half days in hospital against the usual eight. (They also recovered in six weeks, compared to the usual six months.)

Appalled, the Vancouver doctors recommended an immediate moratorium on the procedure. Dr. Kuntz ignored it. Neither his patients nor their doctors had ever complained about the results, he said, "and my primary obligation was to my patients, not to these old retiring guys who were out of date."

He continued for another five years before an inquiry headed by a former professor found he had "insufficient skill and knowledge" to practise medicine in British Columbia. He was notified in August 1986 that he was suspended.

In the appeal process, he says he was denied access to the files upon which the decision was based because they had been reportedly lost.

More than a decade later, the case is roaring on. In April, Alliance MP Darrel Stinson presented before the House of Commons a petition by Dr. Kuntz's patients calling on Parliament to reinforce the federal Supreme Court Act.

It refers to the fact that Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in 1990 sat in judgment a second time on the same case (Kuntz v. WCB) she had heard in 1988 as a panelist for the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Attorney General Martin Cauchon responded in writing to the petition: "A judge who knowingly assumes jurisdiction in a case in which he or she has directly participated in a lower court, either as judge or as counsel, would offend against the long-held requirement of judicial impartiality."

However, he made no promise to pursue it, and how Dr. Kuntz can bring enough pressure to bear on Parliament is not clear.

Still, he intends to try. "First I will be asking Parliament to impeach the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, for violating Section 28(1) of the Federal Supreme Court Act [against judging the merits of one's own ruling on appeal]. Then I will be asking Parliament to invoke Section 33 of the Canadian.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms which allows it to overrule the judges whenever the judges have erred in their interpretation of the Charter."

Yet it all began so simply, and so very, very long ago. Dr. Kuntz grew up in northern Quebec at Malartic, where as a boy he trapped in the bush and discovered an interest in anatomy. He graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto and did a four-year residency at UBC.

He then built a successful surgical practice in northern B.C., bought a ranch, and then the trouble began.

He remembers piloting his helicopter home late on the night of May 17, 1979, after his first peer review by the college.

Unbeknownst to him, his former professor, Dr. F.P. Patterson, had recommended he be told to take retraining. That same professor would later tell a lawyer "He [Dr. Kuntz] is to be crushed."

He was heading up the Skeena River, "the River of the Mists," the only fixed landmark to guide by, heading for his ranch deep in the valley of the Kispiox.

During the nine years he had been doing joint replacements, he had been waiting for someone to invent an artificial spinal disc.

Reflecting on the bewildered questions his examiners had posed regarding his surgical practice, it struck him.

"My God, I've done 400 necks alone; I have more experience than anyone in Canada with bone graft fusion. I'm a leader in the field. It's up to me!" As he flew along the Kispiox, he pondered the technical problems of designing a plastic disc that could be locked into the vertebrae.

"The sun was setting behind jagged mountain ridges," he recalls, "and the clouds were spilling over them. And then I thought, 'That's how I'll lock it in. With ridges. Bone will grow into the ridges of an implant, just like mist spilling over the mountains and lock it in for life!'"

Suddenly he realized there was only one light as a landmark in his valley up ahead.

"My heart was pumping, I'd never landed in the dark. I vowed that if I got it down safely I'd start working on that disc. It was pitch black. I was gliding over the beaver pond, but I couldn't make out the ground; just then a beaver broke the water and the ripples allowed me to see. I landed safely and as I tied the blade down, I thought, 'I'm going to do it.'"

The next day he sat down on his porch and started to whittle, something he was used to.

"I had shaped a lot of grafts from bone harvested from peoples' hips."

Once he had the wooden form, he talked a dentist into showing him how to make dental moulds, formed the disc with methyl methacrylate, and was in business. A friend who required neck surgery volunteered to be the first patient.

"I told him this would do away with the incision at the hip necessary for a bone graft, but if there was a problem with the disc, I could always replace it with a bone graft from the hip."

The young man awoke from surgery ready to go home. "I made him stay another day, but coming home with me, he was able to fly the helicopter! I never looked back."

By 1982 Dr. Kuntz held international patents on the disc; all subsequent patents on preformed discs have named his as the "mother" patent, signifying a breakthrough in thinking at that point.

Previously the molten acrylic had been poured into the patient's spine, to be held in place by ligaments until it solidified, but always with the concern it would flow into harmful areas.

Worth millions today, the patents have long since been lost to him through bankruptcy.

In a sworn affidavit, patient Karin Hanhart described the "general cry of disbelief and outrage throughout the north at the actions of the College of Physicians and Surgeons" when Dr. Kuntz was suspended in 1986.

She explains, "There was a great discrepancy between the perception of Dr. Kuntz by the college who suspended him for 'insufficient skill and knowledge' and how he was perceived by northerners and their referring doctors. The patients virtually unanimously saw him as a highly skilled surgeon solving problems that southern surgeons had failed to solve."

In a survey which Mrs. Hanhart has called "perhaps the first-ever patient-organized survey of a doctor's results by patients untainted by doctor-bias in assessing results," it was found that 99% of 396 patients were either satisfied or very satisfied with the results of Dr. Kuntz's surgery.

"Compared to the average success rate of orthopedic surgery, which is 65%, we cannot see how Dr. Kuntz can be declared unskilled and incompetent," she declared in a sworn affidavit.

"We suspected the answer could only lie in what we have heard described as professional jealousy, for we, his patients, could never accept that he did not have the exceptional skill and knowledge for which we sought him out. The results speak for themselves."

Much to her surprise, too, she learned that Dr. Kuntz had been criticized for doing surgery on six of the patients who turned up on her random survey.

"All six were very pleased when they were located, and most had WCB claims that had been, or were still, under appeal. None of them indicated that they had given the WCB permission to complain about Dr. Kuntz's care of them, for all were happy. I was shocked to find that the names of some of these patients had been used to remove Dr. Kuntz; they certainly weren't complaining when we did our survey which was after their cases had already been used without their knowledge to suspend Dr. Kuntz."

The registrar of the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Morris VanAndel, counters that "Licensure is not a popularity survey, it is based on certain qualifications. Dr. Kuntz failed an in-depth review of skill and knowledge. The main determining fact was he was unable to convince three experts in the field of orthopedic medicine. He has been alleging all kinds of wrongdoing ever since, but the college decision has been supported many times, and he has exhausted most avenues of appeal."

There certainly were some dissatisfied patients, but after 20 years they are difficult to track down to interview. Quicklaw legal databases list five malpractice judgments against him, which is high even for a doctor. Dr. Kuntz shrugs off such losses as motivated more by medical politics than medical merit.

"He ticked off his peers," recalls one colleague. Another wrote at the time, "It is my opinion to some degree his future depends on whether the man will taste humility and leave his greatness to the posterity of his procedure."

Anesthetist Andre Pasquet of Hazelton, B.C., wrote in the late 1980s, "In my view, there was only one item which really could be, perhaps, partly valid, and that was to the effect that Dr. Kuntz was somehow not an easy person to get along with...His technical surgical ability is superb. He always seemed to know what should be done. As one of the other physicians at Winch Hospital once said to me, 'You know, David Kuntz seems to have a sixth sense telling him what is the best way to solve an orthopedic problem.' I had to agree."

Dr. Peter Newberry, director of UBC's post-graduate training program in family medicine, worked closely with Dr. Kuntz for six years.

"It was unusual to find a physician with his dedication to rural service, being on call 24/7. The problem was that he was very innovative, particularly in neck procedures and relief of nerve pressure. But innovation requires research to affirm that it is valuable, not harmful.

David wasn't prepared to take time from his practice to do the necessary formal research. There were a couple of lawsuits, and the college just said, 'That's enough.' The college wanted proof of procedure. There have been many instances in the history of medicine where brand new breakthroughs were found to be a disaster in the long term."

Page 3 of 3

The matter of Dr. David Kuntz continues

Dr. Kuntz, of course, has heard this argument for years, and has a rebuttal.

"The government of B.C.," he warns, "is risking a huge class action from all the people in the northwest deprived of state-of-the-art care all those years because it failed to deal with college criminality, scientific fraud and abuse of the courts."

Far better, he says, for the government to face the issue head-on and claim discovery of the disc as a B.C. innovation. It could then make amends to the people for the actions of past administrations by turning over the fast-ferry fleet to mitigate the damages and restore access to the people to state-of-the-art medicine".


'The Academy is quite disturbed about the unfair treatment of Dr. Kuntz by the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

In fact, the Academy feels that the College is "dead-wrong" about their judgments and decisions against Dr. Kuntz...

the Academy firmly believes that Dr. David Kuntz is one of the finest, if not THE finest, orthopedic spinal surgeon in the world today. Perhaps, Dr. Kuntz is one of the best spinal orthopedic surgeons who has ever lived.'

--Sworn affidavit by Michael R. Rask, chairman of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons.


In a letter to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, sales team for the fast fleet, or PacifiCats, Dr. Kuntz has laid out his plan for hospital ships:

The required share offering will build upon the company's potential to monopolize provision of artificial-disc replacement services -
There is no effective competition globally, and the patented B.C. cervical-disc replacements are known to be effective in treating and curing chronic headache, including migraine.

They are also effective in lumbar surgery, and are being copied in Germany. The potential market for services is enormous, as there is an existing recognized expenditure of $60 billion annually for low-back treatments in the U.S. alone -

Arrangements with participating cruise ships will hold patients in the north to benefit the local economies of Kitimat, Prince Rupert, the Queen Charlotte Islands or Kitsault and Stewart.

There are approximately 30 Alaska cruises weekly delivering a million seniors annually to the north as potential candidates for screening

The mothballed coastal town of Kitsault near the Alaska border may be purchased and renamed Rejuvenation City as a holding area for patients seeking screening.

It has 220 apartments and 96 homes, paved streets, shopping malls, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, curling rinks and buildings to support a northern operation. Year-round employment could be created there to support the global operation

The business plan calls for construction of more hospital ships to serve as satellite hospitals stationed elsewhere in the world


If Parliament does grant Dr. Kuntz's request to impeach Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, overrule all judgments against him since July 1986, and restore him to B.C.'s medical registry, the legal errors he alleges will be revealed include:

A legal judgment which quotes from a report which had earlier been legally sealed and its distribution prohibited. This report by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Kuntz claims, contained "untested, untrue, fraudulent hearsay" information which defamed him and interfered with a fair trial in any court thereafter

Chief Justice McLachlin had originally heard the Kuntz case in 1988 as a judge of B.C.'s Court of Appeal, along with Justices Seaton and R.P. Anderson. Soon afterward Justice Anderson retired from the bench and in 1992 was retained by Dr. Kuntz's lawyer to review the case

When he delivered his private opinion in 1992, Mr. Anderson (now deceased) wrote that the decision of B.C.'s medical college to delicense Dr. Kuntz was fatally flawed, even though he had ruled against him in 1988. First, legal understanding of the rules of cross-examination had since evolved in Dr. Kuntz's favour. Second, the medical council had relied upon evidence unconnected with Dr. Kuntz's surgical skill and knowledge. Third, such other evidence as it did take into account had been condensed and had left out relevant material.

Dr. Kuntz believes that Chief Justice McLachlin should declare a general mistrial, invalidating all judgments against him after July 31, 1986, since this was the earliest date that the College of Physicians and Surgeons first circulated the "untrue, untested, fraudulent and sealed" report in violation of the Evidence Act


In December 2000, Dr. Kuntz obtained material which he believes reveals a conspiracy between B.C.'s Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) and the Medical Services Commission (MSC, which helps determine which services are covered by medicare)--a conspiracy to defame him.

He strongly suspects this eventually led to the loss of his medical licence, since it predated his first investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

In a December 1976 memo written to Dr. J.S. Gibbings, the WCB's executive medical director, a WCB claims adjudicator wrote about "unauthorized surgery being carried out by Dr. Kuntz," which was a reference to Dr. Kuntz's habit of not waiting for authorization for payment from the WCB.

While some other surgeons did not operate if payment was not authorized, Dr. Kuntz says he operated on anyone who needed surgery, and then let the bureaucrats decide who paid for it; if need be, he wouldn't get paid at all.

The adjudicator's memo continues,

"I don't think that the Board's responsibility becomes unlimited just because Dr. Kuntz persists in imposing unauthorized surgery on workers who have claims with the Board. Possibly it is time that we consider taking some action against this doctor as this is only one of many claims where the Board has been placed in a predicament by reason of his unilateral action...

It is my opinion that [the patient whose spine Dr. Kuntz had repaired] had gross degeneration in the spine which pre-dated his first claim with the Workers' Compensation Board."

Dr. Gibbings then forwarded this memo to the chairman of the board of the WCB with a scribbled note: "He being the only orthopedic specialist in N.W. B.C. makes it hard to suspend him."

Several weeks later, WCB surgical consultant Dr. J.R. Farish replied in a memo:

"I don't know whether we will ever solve Dr. Kuntz' problem, which from our point of view is often proceeding with elective surgery without prior authorization. He is one of our worst offenders in this matter... Dr. Schinbein has [talked to him] in the past and I believe there has been some improvement, but not to the degree that we would like to see."

"Here we have the recorded plot," alleges Dr. Kuntz.

"The WCB is targeting me at the top of the list for doing unauthorized surgery. The patient had had such serious pathology that the dye wouldn't flow through. They're saying someone should talk to me; they're trying to influence me."

However, he says, Dr. Shinbein told him to "just go ahead as before, and I'll okay the authorizations after the fact." Dr. Kuntz says he usually had patients back at work by the time the payment was authorized. That made the WCB angry, he says.

"We were never angry," responds Gerald Massing, WCB senior legal counsel who has been dealing with legal battles with Dr. Kuntz for 25 years. If the board has approved of a procedure, he says, it pays for all negative consequences. Thus, the WCB needs to keep control of its clients' medical solutions.

Dr. Kuntz counters by producing the minutes of a B.C. Medical Association (BCMA)/WCB liaison committee dated January 18, 1977. Among other matters, it dealt with authorization for surgery.

"The Board is continuing to have problems with unauthorized surgery, particularly back surgery, and the suggestion was made that payment should not be made for surgery which has not been authorized.

Apparently in some cases if payment is refused by the WCB, the surgeon bills, and is paid by, the MSC [medicare]. The Board is not really concerned about the actual dollar cost of the surgery [$200-$375, depending on the number of discs replaced] but is concerned about the long-term cost to the patient of inappropriate surgery."

"Do you see how they are beginning to slur the professional judgment of any surgeon willing to care for the worker after WCB refuses to fund care?" suggests Dr. Kuntz. "Now they are declaring jointly that unauthorized surgery has become inappropriate surgery. Yet if workers are insured under medicare, they are perfectly entitled to have their surgery paid by medicare. This is a conspiracy between two paying agencies.

Neither wants to pay, so they defame the healthcare provider who dares to help the worker after the WCB has reneged on its legal obligations to him. The MSC is also betraying the worker because they don't want to pay what they feel the WCB should pay, so they join the conspiracy. And the only way to handle it is to defame the provider."

Responds Mr. Massing:

"Dr. Kuntz launched the only conspiracy lawsuit the board has ever had. It was dismissed after appeal. We don't have the interest or time to conspire; we have a quarter-million workers we have to get back to work."


'Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, northern Canada has been built and survives to this day because of people like David Kuntz.

It is unfortunately all too common these days for doctors who do not normally stray further north than the ninth hole of the Capilano Golf Club in West Vancouver to fly up to the north and make invidious comments on those who practise in far more demanding and widespread communities.'

--Dr. William J. Jory, Hants, England, twice president of the B.C. Medical Association

The conflict of interest in this matter will be posted shortly

A Giraffe has been sighted in Vancouver BC - David Kuntz MD
Dr. John David Kuntz - His Story
Collusion, Cover-ups and Conspiracies
A Tale Of Spines , Surgeons and Skullduggery In British Colombia

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