Saturday, June 11, 2005

Death by natural causes

As someone who has asthma, I know that asthma can kill. As a parent of a child with asthma, I know how important it is to seek urgent medical care if a major asthma attack occurs. Luckily, this situation has not occurred to me, yet.

In Seattle, the parents of Megan Wilson also knew to seek medical attention. Unfortunately, they did not understand that naturopaths are not medically trained and most have very little understanding of the science and reality behind most illnesses. When confronted by anxious parents with a child that was obviously having a severe asthma attack, the "natural health clinic" treated the condition with acupuncture, a B-12 injection and a tincture. As a result of not getting the medical care that was needed, the girl died.

Acupuncture has an effect on the human body, in the same way that scratching can soothe an itch. The counter irritation can cause the body to release chemicals to reduce pain. However, carefully controlled trials prove that the location of the needles is irrelevant. The location of special meridian points corresponding to different parts of the body has been shown to be a furphy. These points exist on many charts in many natural therapy offices, but they do not exist on the human body.

While there are thousands of articles to be found in "natural" and "alternative" magazines and internet sites claiming how effective this treatment is, a search of medical journals produces much less evidence. I could not locate a single trial of Vitamin B-12 as a treatment for acute asthma.

The other "treatment" used, was a tincture. This is the term for a homeopathic solution. Those who know the reality of homeopathy, would call it water. A tincture is a highly diluted solution that follows the ridiculous theory that the more you dilute something, the stronger it gets. What's more the item being diluted is chosen based on the old and disproven theory of like cures like. If you have an eye infection that makes your eyes water, onions will cure it because they make your eyes water as well.

The end result was that the child was not provided with medical treatment that could have saved her life. The investigation into the incident has now focussed on the naturopath, who claims to have advised the parents to take the child to the hospital. The parents claim that no such advice was provided.

The most infuriating part is that there was a hospital across the road. The child was so close to someone that could treat her, yet that treatment was withheld in favour of bogus therapies that did nothing to stop this preventable death.

What is the reaction of the naturopath involved?

'It's crap, bullshit stuff,' Dr. Lucinda Messer says of the Wilsons' charges of negligence. She asserts that it’s the Wilsons who were negligent for shunning conventional medical help. 'There was so much neglect here.' (Published by Seattle Weekly, June 8-14, 2005)

We have a person who holds themselves out to be a primary care provider and is licensed to do so in the State of Washington. This is a person then blames the parents for choosing her as a primary care provider. The first comment of the above quote explains what I think of that defence.

Asthma can kill. If you or someone in your care has a severe asthma attack, seek advice from a real medical doctor, not some "natural" healer pretending to play doctor.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."


At Saturday, July 09, 2005 9:57:00 am, Blogger Stephen said...

While I'm not supporting Homeopathy, a "tincture" is just a medicine bottle. It's not something specific to homeopathy and neither is it synonymous with the highly diluted solutions that homeopaths prescribe.

In medicine the term "tincture" has two meanings. First as a dye and secondly as an alcohol solution holding a non-volatile medicine.

At Wednesday, July 27, 2005 5:44:00 am, Blogger Ontario Emperor said...

Ah, but niacin cures everything. And saunas cure everything too.

At Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:18:00 pm, Blogger jon said...

Looking at asthma symptom info online today while my son coughs I came across this post. Does anyone know a good asthma symptom site to help?


At Wednesday, April 19, 2006 7:29:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it odd that the article mentioned was written 4 years after the event and a full 2 years after it was settled?

Now, I wasn't completely surprised that something bad came from visiting Dr Messer. I visited her office a 3-4 times,getting treated for food allergies.

She never did a full physical exam. Every visit, she seemed to be in a hurry and they were pretty short visits with very little discussion of what was going on. This is definitely not the norm amongst naturopaths; most of them average 45 minutes to 1 hour visits (while 1-2 hr initial visits).

She also failed to follow up on me mentioning that I had some back pain (since I was worried about it since I thought I might've inherited a bad back from my mom). Ended up actually being pain in my kidneys from not drinking enough fluids (mom figured it out in no time; she was a nursing student at the time).

As much as I love natural medicine (I want to be an acupunturist and maybe an ND or DO later) but she's a pretty bad naturopath.

At Saturday, October 20, 2007 9:48:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know the Naturopath involved in this Saga but I do know that people must take responsibility for their own health. We are very quick to claim wrongs about Natural Medicine but we must rest our thoughts to consider that disease and death is that of an antagonistic power.

Our Heavenly Father is desperate to put an end this awful ungodly mess the human race is in. We must begin to look at the spiritual side of disease. The powers of darkness are happily excited to see us blame one another for things that have evenuated from an alien source.

At Tuesday, November 06, 2007 7:53:00 am, Blogger Kevin Paine said...

We do not need to look at the spiritual side of disease when it comes to medicine. Medicine is a science, spirituality is part of theology.

We need to remove spirituality from medicine and stick to scientific facts. Too many people miss out on the care they need because their beliefs do not match the proven scientific facts.

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