A Georgia physician who asks almost everyone if they are "wonderfully hungry" was told by the Georgia Composite Medical Board on Thursday that his license will be revoked if he doesn't complete a mental and physical evaluation within 30 days.
Dr. Andrew Ben-Hua Chung had his license suspended by the board in June after failing to comply with an order to complete a comprehensive exam. The board said in its summary suspension order that it had concerns about the doctor's ability to practice safely, saying its investigation found that Chung refuses to speak to people unless they state they are "wonderfully hungry."
At Thursday's public hearing, in which Chung appeared before the board, the doctor repeatedly asked board members and witnesses when greeting them if they were wonderfully hungry. Chung, who said he was trained at Emory University, also said he was a non-partisan candidate for president of the United States.
Chung explained that if people are wonderfully hungry, it indicates they are not having a heart attack. He said he asks the question as a caring physician and does not put patients at risk, as suggested by the board. Chung also promotes a"Be Hungry" diet as a path to health.
Attorney Lance LoRusso testified on Thursday that he filed a complaint against Chung with the medical board in 2015 after contacting the doctor on behalf of a client. He said the doctor's behavior during his interactions raised concerns about patient care that LoRusso thought the medical board should consider. LoRusso said the doctor would not converse with him until LoRusso said he was "wonderfully hungry."
Chung said he had been practicing in Mableton prior to his suspension.
Chung said he had been questioned by the medical board in the past, related to a book he published that advises people to limit themselves to 32 ounces of food a day.
Chung was also linked in news accounts to the mother of Markea Berry, a 16-year-old who died of starvation in 2012. Berry weighed just 43 pounds. In 2014, Ebony Espree Berry pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in her daughter's death. Investigators determined that the mother did not intentionally starve the teen, but should have sought medical treatment for her.
Chung told the AJC Thursday that he was connected to Ebony Berry through social media. He said he visited the mother in jail after her arrest.
Chung, who goes by "Heart Doc Andrew," told the board Thursday that he would be willing to undergo the evaluation but insisted that the results must be made available to the public because of the need to be transparent in his political campaign.