A health store owner's conviction of practicing medicine without a license should be reversed because administering family remedies and practicing religious tenets are exempt from state statute, his attorney argued.
"The state has not proved he was not exempted from the statute," lawyer George Brown, representing Stanley D. Malstrom, told the Utah Court of Appeals.The exemptions of the state Medical Practice Act, Brown said, include rendering emergency medical services, participating or administering domestic and family remedies and acting in good faith in accordance with religious tenets.
Assistant Utah Attorney General Barbara Bearnson said Malstrom, who represented himself at his trial, failed to raise some evidence of his claim to an exemption.
Even if he had made that showing, Bearnson said, he violated the law by examining a woman and "manipulating her spine."
Malstrom, who has a health-food store in Midvale, was convicted of the third-degree felony Aug. 31, 1989, following a non-jury trial before 3rd District Judge Timothy Hanson. He was fined $3,000 and placed on 18 months probation.
The state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing filed the complaint, accusing the 66-year-old Malstrom of diagnosing and treating a woman who came to him in October 1988, complaining about digestive problems.
After declaring the woman had "a messed up pancreas," Malstrom proceeded to "jerk and twist the victim's neck . . . The victim underwent surgery to fuse a section of her neck to repair the injury sustained from the defendant's actions," the complaint said.
"This kind of pressure is clearly chiropractic," which requires practitioners be licensed, Bearnson told the three appellate judges.