Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
A physician who gained statewide attention when he was reported to be administering something rumored to be called the "Jesus Shot" likely had to take extraordinary steps toward proving himself to the Oklahoma Medical Board before being permitted to practice here.
According to Executive Director of the Oklahoma Medical Board, Lyle Kelsey, Dr. John Michael Lonergan met and even exceeded several additional requirements which took more than a year to complete before he was granted a provisional license to practice medicine in the state.
Three weeks ago, Lonergan made statewide news when his traveling practice came under fire because some patients claimed he would not disclose the ingredients of the treatment.
On one of Lonergan's visits to patients in Woodward, The Woodward News attempted to get him to reveal his name and he sent word through a receptionist that he wouldn't offer his last name.
When further probing revealed the physician to have a criminal history and that his medical license in Ohio had been suspended, it prompted a public outcry and scrutiny from the Oklahoma Medical Board, Kelsey said.
Kelsey noted that physicians in Oklahoma must pass a rigorous set of standards to include a full background investigation into every portion of their life to include any criminal past, ethics violations while at medical school and even a credit history check.
"So, in this particular case we are talking about, we had all the information," Kelsey said. "He answered all the questions honestly and we had obtained the stuff from the Ohio Medical Board."
Kelsey said Lonergan first sent his application for medical licensure to OMB in 2011.
Typically, if everything in the extensive application is confirmed and without blemish, it is sent to the nine board members who view the material, Kelsey said.
"And all nine board members have to approve it," Kelsey said. "Obviously there were several who held his for an appearance."
Lonergan was requested to appear before the board regarding his application in January 2012.
After his appearance, Lonergan took the board's recommendation to take a special test and spent much of 2012 attending some additional education designed for physicians who has been out of practice for a while, Kelsey said.
Lonergan was finally granted his provisional license in September of 2012, Kelsey said.
"Then he came back to us in March of 2013 talking about having a hard time finding a mentor or preceptor to watch his practice, so they let him go into practice and took away the agreement (requirement to have a mentor to practice)," Kelsey said.
According to many of Lonergan's patients, they didn't care what was in the shot or infusion, it worked and they felt better than they ever have.
"According to James Colvard of Woodward, after seven spine surgeries and five fusions, his consultation and treatment by Lonergan was the first time he has felt good in years.
"Whatever it is in it, it's better than anything my doctor has given me,"Colvard said. "I haven't heard anything at all bad about it."
In subsequent news stories, the ingredients were allegedly revealed by others in Lonergan's business circle to be two types of steroids and some vitamins. However, this information has never been independently confirmed.
Nevertheless, after the story which aired on Oklahoma's Channel 9 news, concerns over the physician's apparent unwillingness to list the ingredients of the shot prompted a full investigation into the actions of the traveling doctor by the Oklahoma Medical Board, Kelsey said.
At present, Lonergan, like any other physician is still permitted to practice since his actions are still only under investigation.
Currently when his license is searched, his page still does not include a practice address, which is required by the Oklahoma Medical Board regulations, Kelsey said.
"They are required to keep that current and yes, that will be a part of the investigation," Kelsey said.
Repeated calls to Lonergan's cell phone were not returned for comment.