Doctor Nice

Steven Hotze uses a warm, easygoing manner to peddle natural hormones to women, at thousands of dollars a pop. So who cares about credentials or documented results?

• All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve

• Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin

• "Increased longevity generally results from obedience to specific Biblical commands"

Hotze's religious organization states that doctors shall 
not work on the Sabbath.
Al Cameron
Hotze's religious organization states that doctors shall not work on the Sabbath.
Al Cameron

• Treatment of the "physical body" is not a doctor's highest priority

• Doctors have a priestly calling

• People receiving medical treatment are not immune from divine intervention or demonic forces

• Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health

• "Christians need better health to have more energy, tolerate more stress, get depressed less often, and be more creative than our non-Christian counterparts for the advancement of God's Kingdom."

Three years after committing to the Coalition on Revival, Hotze opened his Health and Wellness Center on Braidwood Road in Katy. With money he earned in his private practice, as well as funds from an engineering company founded by his father, Hotze bankrolled a series of local conservative candidates. By the mid-'90s, he was a bona fide kingmaker. But soon his political clout deteriorated, and by 2000 the Texas Ethics Commission had fined his political action committee a record $5,000 for violating campaign finance laws.

With publicity focused on Hotze's political activities, his private practice never got any attention. But the Hotze Health and Wellness Center's claims are typical of those that get the attention of the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Texas Department of Health, and mainstream and alternative practitioners.

Hotze graduated from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and entered a mainstream family practice. But according to the story he shares in his literature, he turned to alternative medicine in the late '80s, when his father's heart disease failed to respond to conventional treatment.

Testifying before a congressional health care subcommittee last year, Hotze said, "My dad used to tell me -- and he wasn't a doctor -- 'beware of doctors, they will poison you to death with their drugs.' "

But at some point during Hotze's journey into alternative medicine, things got weird. Hotze, who had spent the last decade in family practice, switched his focus from his father's heart disease to a pathogenic smorgasbord of allergies, hypothyroidism and yeast infection. He reported to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners that he was a board-certified otolaryngologist, but the American Board of Otolaryngology (located in Houston) and the American Board of Medical Specialties have no such records.

The Houston Press left numerous voice-mail messages with Hotze's assistant, asking her to provide proof of certification, but there was no response. However, state board spokesperson Jill Wiggins related in an e-mail that Hotze faxed her a request on June 20 to correct his profile. Hotze is no longer listed as being board-certified.

However, he claims to be at the forefront of identifying the relationship between a woman's allergies and her hormones. On his Web site he claims to have been led down this road in 1996, when a patient gave him an audio tape of Dr. John R. Lee, the pioneer of botanically derived "natural progesterone" for menopausal women and the originator of the dubious term "estrogen dominance." Hotze had found his calling.

According to an undated study posted on his Web site that reads more like ad copy, Hotze explains that natural, or "bioidentical," hormones are "derived from diosgenin, a plant molecule found in soybeans and wild yams. Diosgenin is extracted from these plants and converted into progesterone in the laboratory. Progesterone can then be converted into the three human estrogen hormones…Because the supplemented bio-identical hormones are exactly the same as those which we produce, they are identical in action."

In the same study, which does not appear to have been published outside his Web site, Hotze stated, "In the interest of all my female patients, I felt that I had a responsibility to offer them this new treatment opportunity." (Hotze's work does not exist in any recognized peer-reviewed journals. The only publications he lists on the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners' Web site are articles in Houston Lifestyle&Homes and Spirit, the in-flight magazine for Southwest Airlines.)

Armed with his newfound belief in natural hormone therapy, Hotze claimed in his literature and on his Web site that his brand of bioidentical hormones "protects against breast cancer and uterine cancer," for which he provides no scientific evidence. Hotze did not respond to questions about where he purchased the raw materials for his hormones, or in what laboratory they were converted into human estrogen.

But now Hotze had something to offer women who had had no luck with traditional medicine -- and that's quite a population.

A 1993 Commonwealth Fund survey found that women change physicians more often than men; the main reason being lack of communication. More women than men reported instances where their doctor talked down to them. Women also were more likely to report occasions where doctors said their problems were imaginary.

Clearly, many women were not getting the treatment they deserved. So Hotze created a warm, caring environment more like a spa than a doctor's office. Patients became "guests" who would never be treated like second-class citizens.

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Been there, done that and they almost killed me. It's nothing but high dollar snake oil and then you have to spend more money to get straight and find out what a fool you are!

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