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Filed: October 6, 1987.


APPEAL FROM THE MARION CIRCUIT COURT, The Honorable John M. Ryan, Judge, Cause No. C-84-1326.

Buchanan, J. and Hoffman, J. Concur.

Author: Sullivan


In State ex rel. Medical Licensing Board v. Stetina (1986) 1st Dist. Ind.App., 477 N.E.2d 322, trans. denied, the First District of this Court concluded that the State had successfully presented a prima facie case in its suit to permanently enjoin Janice Stetina from unlicensed medical practice. Consequently, the decision reversed the trial court, which had dismissed the action at the close of the State's case-in-chief. The cause was remanded "to allow appellee [Stetina] an opportunity to present her evidence." Id. at 329.

Upon remand, the trial court heard Stetina's evidence. The court entered a judgment granting permanent injunctive relief. The judgment, in relevant part, reads as follows:


1. The Defendant, Janice R. Stetina, is hereby permanently enjoined from practicing medicine in Indiana until she is issued a license by the State of Indiana.

2. The Defendant, Janice R. Stetina, is not enjoined from lecturing to or educating members of the public on her view of the value of nutrition or from selling products to members of the public so long as the Defendant does not examine the member, diagnose or treat the member, sell the member health products based on the Defendant's assessment of the members' needs or problems or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine or violate any other statute regulating her actions and representations." Record at 728.

Stetina now appeals.

The operative facts of the State's case are set forth in Stetina, supra, 477 N.E.2d at 324-25. We summarize them here. An investigation into Stetina's activities took the form of having an investigator pose as a person seeking advice on her physical condition. Stetina elicited information from the investigator using questionnaires and examining of the investigator's eyes. Based upon the information obtained, Stetina determined that the investigator had, inter alia, nutritional problems, abdominal problems, a slow electrical turnover, and poor circulation. To remedy these problems, Stetina suggested a colonic irrigation (an enema), mineral water, kelp, amelade, progestine and more raw food.

Stetina's evidence, presented on remand, focused primarily upon the basis for, and nature of, her beliefs and practices. Stetina testified that the Essene Gospels mandated the colonic irrigation process and that her activities are also based upon scientific, nutritional principles. These include prevention of disease through proper diet. Stetina also opined that traditional medical doctors are not adequately trained in the areas in which she works.

Dr. David Darbro, a practicing physician, agreed with Stetina's assessment that traditional medical training has not in the past been sufficiently grounded in natural and dietetic processes. He also stated that a colonic irrigation, if judiciously ordered, could be a helpful treatment. He noted that one person had responded well when receiving that treatment from Stetina. Stetina's other two witnesses were persons who had conferred with her. Both testified to an overall physical and mental improvement after their consultations with Stetina.

Stetina pursues the following issues, which have been restated and reordered:

1. Does application of the Medical Practice Act[Footnote 1] to persons such as Stetina violate the legislatively intended scope of the Act;

2. Did the trial court err by interpreting the Medical Practice Act in an overly broad and vague manner, thus creating the possibility of absurd results in defining "medical practice";

3. Does Stetina's conduct fall within the religious conduct exception of I.C. 25-22.5-1-2(f) (Burns Code Ed. Supp. 1987);

4. Does the injunction granted in this case violate Stetina's right to free exercise of religion;

5. Does Stetina's conduct fall within the physician's assistant exception of I.C. 25-22.5-1-2(r) (Burns Code Ed. Supp. 1987);

6. Does Stetina's conduct fall within the family-domestic remedy exception of I.C. 25-22.5-1-2(e) (Burns Code Ed. Supp. 1987);

7. Is there a less intrusive manner of upholding the intended goal of the statute while preserving the patient's right to choose the type of medical care preferred;

8. Does the injunction violate Stetina's free speech rights by preventing her from carrying on personal Discussions;

9. Does the judgment in this case deny Stetina equal protection of the law because of a different enforcement of the Medical ...

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