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In re Guess

Supreme Court of North Carolina
393 S.E.2d 833 (1990)


Dr. George Guess was a licensed physician who regularly administered homeopathic medical treatments to his patients. The state medical board charged Guess with unprofessional conduct due to his practice of homeopathy. The board held a hearing in which several physicians testified that homeopathy was not an acceptable system of medical practice in the state. Evidence indicated that Guess was the only physician in the state who practiced homeopathy. There was no evidence that Guess’s treatments had ever harmed a patient. Guess presented evidence that homeopathy was a recognized practice in several other states and many foreign countries. Following the hearing, the board revoked Guess’s medical license. The board’s decision was based on the grounds that Guess’s departure from acceptable medical practice constituted unprofessional conduct, in violation of a state statute. Guess appealed the decision to the state’s superior court. The superior court reversed and vacated the medical board’s decision. The superior court concluded that the board’s decision was not supported by the evidence and was arbitrary and capricious. The appeals court upheld the superior court’s decisions, holding that the medical board could revoke a license only if it could be shown that the actions of the physician pose a danger of harm to patients. The medical board then appealed to the state supreme court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)

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