A California doctor who treated a number of celebrities has been disciplined by the state’s medical board for recommending a controversial menopause therapy.
OB-GYN Dr Prudence Hall was put on probation for four years after the Medical Board of California found her guilty of gross negligence and unprofessional conduct.
The board’s report said Dr Hall was at fault for being ‘unaware’ of the potential risks of the plant-based hormone therapy she was prescribing, such as cancer, as well as not closely observing her patients.
Several hormones were given between 2011 and 2015 by Dr Hall to two female patients.
In one patient she failed to spot uterine cancer, and she provided treatment to the other on an ‘incorrect diagnosis in a manner such that [Hall] stood to gain financially’, the board said, according to Kaiser Health.
Dr Prudence Hall (pictured) was put on probation for four years after the Medical Board of California found her guilty of gross negligence and unprofessional conduct
She has treated a number of celebrities over the years including Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson (left), supermodel Cindy Crawford and actress Suzanne Somers (right). The therapy Dr Hall was prescribing is known as bioidentical hormones, which are extolled as a ‘safer’ alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy
The therapy Dr Hall was prescribing is known as bio-identical hormones which are extolled as a ‘safer’ alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy.
These hormones are considered ‘all natural’ because they are plant-based and have the same molecular structure as the natural hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Bioidentical hormones are synthesized in a lab and either made by major drug companies or in a compounding pharmacy, which makes personalized medications for patients.
The hormones manufactured by pharmaceutical companies have a standard formula and are therefore approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A Harvard Women’s Health Watch report found that these hormones can ease symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, despite the lack of trials testing their efficacy.
But when it comes to the customized prescriptions made by the compounding pharmacies, individual ingredients are FDA-approved – but not the final product.
According to Everyday Health, FDA-approved medications are regulated and need to be proven to have the same dosage in each package.
But bioidentical hormones can contain variations in dosage in each prescription, causing many doctors to doubt their safety and effectiveness.
Dr Hall claims that for more than 30 years she has treated more than 40,000 patients with this therapy and has come across no issues.
The medical board investigators found that Hall placed a patient on bioidentical hormones after she complained of having menstrual migraines and ‘zero’ libido.
During her initial consultation, this patient was also diagnosed as perimenopausel despite having regular periods, having a hypothyroid with no thyroid exam performed, and having low vitamin D prior to any studies of vitamin levels.
Multiple times, the patient complained of bleeding, which is a symptom of uterine cancer, and ‘fogginess’ but Dr Hall simply upped her hormone dosage and said previous ultrasounds were normal.
In October 2014, almost two years after initial complaints, the patient was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her uterus.
The board said over the course of three years, Dr Hall charged the patient $7,000 for her hormone therapy.
Several hormones were prescribed by Dr Hall to two female patients, failing to spot uterine cancer in one patient. In this appearance on The Suzanne Show, she said this therapy was similar to a fountain of youth
In another patient, Dr Hall did not consult with the patient’s other physicians to ‘coordinate prescriptions’ to make sure there would be no ill side effects, according the report. Her practice will be reviewed by unaffiliated physician who will report his or her findings to the medical board. Pictured: Dr Hall speaks with Sarah Ferguson in August 2011
Dr Hall also incorrectly diagnosed the second patient as perimenopausel and having hypothyroidism despite lab work suggesting the opposite.
The board stated that this patient was also suffering from other conditions including diabetes and psychiatric disorders.
Investigators said Dr Hall did not consult with the patient’s other physicians and ‘made no effort to coordinate the care being given to [her], or coordinate prescriptions that could potentially have interactions with [her] other prescribed medication’.
According to the terms of her settlement, which was reviewed by DailyMail.com, Dr Hall is not allowed to refer to herself as an endocrinologist, an OB-GYN or a specialist in hormone therapy.
While she will be allowed to continue to treat women for menopause related issues, her practice will be reviewed by an unaffiliated physician who will report his or her findings to the medical board.
Dr Hall has treated numerous celebrities including Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, supermodel Cindy Crawford and actress Suzanne Somers.
Representatives for Crawford and Somers told PEOPLE they would not be commenting on the case.
According to the terms of her settlement Dr Hall (pictured, on The Doctors) is not allowed to refer to herself as an endocrinologist, an OB-GYN or a a specialist in hormone therapy
Representatives for Crawford (pictured) and Somers told PEOPLE they would not be commenting on the case
In multiple interviews and infomercials, Dr Hall claimed the therapy could not only treat side effects of menopause but also halt aging.
She said the treatments were ‘like water to a plant’ in an appearance on Somer’s talk program The Suzanne Show, reported Kaiser Health.
‘How could water be bad for a plant?…Hormones do not cause cancer,’ she continued.
But Dr David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, told Kaiser Health that the analogy was flawed.
‘I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination but even I know that too much water can kill a plant,’ he said.
A statement sent to Kaiser Health by Dr Hall’s publicist Bette Light read: ‘Dr Hall continues to devote her career and life to helping patients achieve optimal health and wellness.
‘She utilizes advances in modern medicine plus proven natural therapies. Safely incorporating results of the latest medical research has allowed her to achieve exceptional results for her patients.’
The statement also said Hall ‘joins respected physicians worldwide who are also using’ the hormone therapy she recommended.