Protect our troops from fake medical procedures
  • Petitioned Texas Governor

This petition was delivered to:

Texas Governor
Texas State Senate
Texas State House
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
Sen. John Cornyn
Sen. Ted Cruz
Rep. Lamar Smith

Protect our troops from fake medical procedures

    1. Kathryn Hedges
    2. Petition by

      Kathryn Hedges

      Arcata, CA

Our military personnel deserve the best care for both injuries received in service to our country, and for their everyday health needs. Unfortunately, some misguided people in our military health services are hiring practitioners who are not qualified to give medical treatment.

Acupuncture itself is indistinguishable from placebo in medical studies. Acupuncturists are not trained in differential diagnosis--or even basic science-based physiology--so they wiill not know when patients have serious conditions that need prompt medical attention by a real physician. Instead, they will waste valuable time using needles at mythical meridian points or cupping (as shown in the picture above), which do not have medical value. Even if patients are not harmed by the delay, there is no reason to pay for ineffective treatments when the government needs to cut its budget.

According to Harriet Hall, M.D., the U.S. Army Medical Command recently announced a job opening in the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Two GS-12 positions were advertised for acupuncturists at a salary of $68,809 to $89,450. As a licensed acupuncturist, a candidate would be expected to offer a full array of the most current and emerging evidenced based approaches in integrative medicine for patients with acute and chronic pain who have not responded well to conventional treatment modalities.

[For a complete list of job duties and medical reasons why these are not valid medical care, see ]

This is wrong on more levels than one. After giving lip service to the politically correct term “evidence based” they proceed to include clearly non-evidence-based modalities in the job description. Rigorous scientists do not classify acupuncture itself as evidence-based, since the evidence is compatible with the hypothesis that it is no more than an elaborate system to provide placebo and other nonspecific effects.

In an era where we are being asked to study comparative effectiveness and to reduce costs, how can the Army justify hiring acupuncturists to provide unproven services that are based only on prescientific thinking and testimonial “evidence”?

Moxibustion has not been shown to be effective for any condition and it can burn and sometimes permanently scar the skin. Neither of us is a lawyer, but it sounds to us that this might meet the legal definition of battery. We find it difficult to imagine that patients are made aware of all the pros and cons and are giving true informed consent to these procedures.

Besides this program, the Air Force is teaching its doctors to do ear acupuncture, a system that was invented in 1957 by a single individual based on his idiosyncratic perception that the shape of the ear looked something like a fetus curled up in the uterus. They call it “battlefield acupuncture.” And a Navy program is snowing doctors with false and incomplete information and persuading them to adopt acupuncture into their practices.

Please sign this petition to stop spending our limited public funding on procedures that do not help and may harm our nation's brave military personnel.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 250 signatures
    2. 36% of goal reached

      Kathryn Hedges
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so much for your support on this issue. I agree with the commenters who say their family members in the service deserve better than this, and that this is no time to waste scarce funding on magic and wishful thinking.

      I've reached 36% of my goal of 200 signatures in only two days and want to thank all of you for supporting me.

      Please pass this along to your skeptical friends and see how much support we can get. I've improved the text in a few places to make it clearer why this is important.

      Kathryn hedges

    3. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • David Penzel OLD BETHPAGE, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      I was a physician assistant for twenty years, and it galls me to see superstitious nonsense taking the place of real medical care. If acupuncture and the like really worked, it would have been proven long ago; it doesn't stand up to any stringent testing at all.

      • about 2 years ago

      As a registered nurse, I strenuously object to the infusion of pseudoscience into the medical profession. Without empirical evidence and objective study of treatment modalities, they should not be used on patients, at all. Otherwise, we'd still be using eye of newt and astrology to diagnose and treat disease.

    • William Jacobs OLNEY, MD
      • about 2 years ago

      America has been a land where great discoveries have been made and breakthroughs developed be it atomic energy, the microchip, or heart transplants and these advances came from methodical application of scienctific method developed by Sir Francis Bacon. The government endorsed retreat into mysticism cripples the capability of our great nation to harness the power of sound science and dilutes it wit fables, fantasy, and delusion.

      Freedom dictates people be allowed their dreams and beliefs, but they must indulge themselves with their own resources. Government resources come at too high a price in public support to squander any of them on rituals or products that demonstrably are ineffective.


      Bill Jacobs

      8-10 MCDCC

    • Carl Witty RENTON, WA
      • about 2 years ago

      Our troops deserve better than this. Plus, I don't want my tax dollars wasted like this.

    • Sergio Perez TERRELL, TX
      • about 2 years ago

      I am an Air Force veteran and a clinician. We should be offering our fighting men and women the best in EVIDENCE-BASED medical practice, not shamanism, mysticism, astrology or any other pseudo-scientific remedies that are at the least, ineffective or, at worst, harmful. The taxpayers and our military members deserve better.


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