MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

It has been reported that a Vancouver naturopath has been fined and temporarily suspended after a patient complained he failed to notice a rectal tumor during four months of treatment for hemorrhoids.

Jordan Atkinson will have to pay $5,000 and lose his license for 16 days after signing a consent agreement with the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C., according to a public notice posted by the COLLEGE OF NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.

A former patient had filed the complaint when another medical professional diagnosed a tumor on the rectum following “several appointments” with Atkinson for hemorrhoid treatment. “The patient complained that Dr. Atkinson failed to detect the tumor because he did not perform a competent examination,” the college notice says.  ‘Doctor’ Atkinson disagreed with that allegation but admitted that he didn’t fully document his appointments with the patient.

The college’s inquiry committee, which investigates complaints, found that “Dr. Atkinson’s treatment of the patient fell short of the standard of practice required of a naturopathic doctor in these circumstances.”  Atkinson who is also the subject of a lawsuit from a patient who alleges he seriously injured her while injecting Botox into her face at the base of her nose, has also agreed to a reprimand and “to make reasonable efforts when a language barrier exists to ensure that his patients understand the treatment plan and provide informed consent.” 

Personally, I find it hard to believe that any health professional can administer a prolonged treatment for hemorrhoids, while the patient is actually suffering from a rectal tumor which might well be malign. I find it even harder to believe that, after a complaint had been filed by a victim, the professional body of this professional suspends his license for just 16 days.

In my view, this suggests that this professional body (like so many in the realm of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM)) is not fit for purpose. That is to say, it does clearly not fulfill its main task adequately which is to protect the public from the malpractice of its members. Rather it seems to prioritize the interests of the member over those of the public. Yet, on its website the COLLEGE OF NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA state that “the College protects the public interest by ensuring that naturopathic physicians in British Columbia practice safely, ethically, and competently.” As so often in SCAM, what is being stated and what is being done differs dramatically.

At the heart of this and many similar cases, I fear, is that consumers find it difficult to differentiate between well-educated healthcare professionals and poorly trained charlatans. And who could blame them? Calling naturopaths ‘doctors’ cannot be helpful, particularly if the ‘Dr.-title’ is used without a clear qualification that the person who carries it has never seen the inside of a medical school; instead he has learned an abundance of nonsense taught by a quack institution.

In summary one is tempted to conclude that this case yet again confirms that naturopaths are medically incompetent graduates of schools of incompetence protected by organizations of incompetence.

2 Responses to Naturopath fined for misdiagnosing and treating a rectal tumor for hemorrhoids

  • naturopaths are medically incompetent graduates of schools of incompetence protected by organizations of incompetence.

    This sums it up pretty nicely – and is fully to be expected. Students in real medicine spend a total of approximately 15,000 hours on study and supervised internships before they are deemed capable of diagnosing and treating patients.
    Even the best naturopathic schools offer a curriculum of no more than 4,000 hours, only half of which can be considered science-based medicine. All the rest is tooth fairy science such as homeopathy and other useless nonsense. And oh, their ‘internships’ mean that many students only get to see half a dozen actual patients in their entire ‘education’ – almost invariably patients with whom nothing serious is wrong. Which means that their diagnoses are very often wrong (as evidenced by this case), and thus their treatments aren’t any good either.

    And to think that naturopaths are pretty much the most medically competent (or rather: ‘least incompetent’) alternative practitioners out there …

  • Mr Rasker beat me to the chance to point out this very fine example of tooth fairy science, so I will simply thank him for that. Ditto for chiropractors while we’re at it!

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