All four of Bryan Noble's three-hour IV sessions in 2000 were, er, pointless. Prescribed immunoglobulin for neuropathy by Orange County, California, doc G. Stephen Kooshian, Noble instead was injected with a saline-vitamin mix. The shocker came to light when Kooshian's nurse, Virgil Opinion, sued the doc for wrongful termination after complaining of the shenanigans. Noble followed suit with a malpractice claim, to be tried this fall. In a deposition, Kooshian copped to telling the nurse to inject Noble with saline because his office had failed to order the neuropathy treatment. "He said he thought I would still get better thinking I had had it," Noble said. "And he was embarrassed." Opinion charges that this placebo approach was routine during his employ. At press-time, Kooshian, who has 2,600 patients with HIV, had a bid out to run the county's newly privatized HIV care.