More Mississippi ear-stapling businesses told to close down

The Mississippi Medical Licensure Board in the past week has more than doubled the number of ear-stapling businesses it has ordered closed.

The board had told more than a dozen businesses offering the weight-loss procedure to shut down this past. It has added 16 more to the list.

The licensure board maintains the practice is illegal because ear stapling is a form of acupuncture. In Mississippi, only doctors trained in acupuncture can perform the procedure.

The board's executive director, Mal Morgan, says businesses that do no comply with the board's written orders face legal action.

Morgan says the board has received numerous calls from people suffering from ear infections or those who want to find out where they can have the staples removed.

Most of the businesses remove staples as part of their agreement with clients, Morgan said, but because they can no longer operate, people with staples should go to their family doctor or an emergency room.

Morgan said those getting the ear-stapling pay about $55 and that the removal expense could amount to a doctor's bill almost four times that much.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)