Oregon's first naturopathcaused death

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by jaltair, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    From: www dot wweek dot com/editorial/3329/9039/

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

    ISSUE #33.29 • NEWS • NEWS STORY Natural Disaster

    Out-of-court settlement resolves what's believed to be Oregon's first naturopath-caused death.

    Sandy Boylan (pictured in this 2001 photo) died in 2003 after visiting a naturopath for chelation therapy.
    BY JAMES PITKIN | jpitkin at wweek dot com
    [May 30th, 2007]

    Sandy Boylan was a contagiously cheerful woman whose hobby was handing out bouquets of homegrown flowers. But in the summer of 2003, she was scared.

    The 53-year-old B&B owner from Dallas, Ore., had been told by her naturopathic physician that she had dangerously high levels of mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel. She believed those metals caused the aches and pains she'd long suffered—the ones that had confounded traditional doctors for years.

    On Aug. 13, 2003, Boylan visited the naturopath who had made the diagnosis—Donald McBride of the Salem Naturopathic Clinic. McBride was giving Boylan a controversial course of treatment in his office called chelation therapy (see "Curing Jamie Handley," WW, Oct. 12, 2005), where amino acids are administered intravenously to suck metals out of the blood.

    But chelation also withdraws metals the body needs, including calcium, which can lead to heart failure. Hooked up to the IV, Boylan collapsed and blacked out. She was taken to Salem Memorial Hospital, where she died that day of cardiac arrhythmia due to low calcium resulting from chelation therapy, according to a report by the state Medical Examiner.

    On May 4, 2007, Sandy Boylan's husband, Clint, signed an out-of-court settlement ending a malpractice and wrongful-death suit against McBride. Family members declined to say how much McBride agreed to pay, except to note it was far less than the $1 million they sought in the lawsuit filed Feb. 28, 2005, at Marion County Circuit Court. Naturopaths aren't required to carry malpractice insurance. And McBride, who signed the settlement April 27, declined to comment.

    The state Naturopathic Board of Examiners conducted a separate investigation, and Boylan's death is believed to be the first directly caused by a naturopath, says board director Anne Walsh.

    The board licenses and polices naturopaths, but learned of the death only by chance 16 months after the fact. Boylan's sister, Cindy Bethell—sustainability manager at the Portland Development Commission—told a professional associate at the Centers for Disease Control about her sister's death. He contacted a colleague in Oregon, and in December 2005, word finally got to the state naturopathic board.

    The board determined it was McBride's negligence that killed Boylan but let him keep his license with some limits on his Salem practice. Citing state confidentiality laws, Walsh declined to comment on the decision.

    But the fact that McBride could again do chelation therapy astonishes and angers Boylan's family.

    "My mom is no longer here because of negligence," says Eli Boylan, one of Sandy Boylan's four adult sons. Knowing McBride is still practicing, he says, makes the loss "more difficult to swallow."

    In addition to negligence in Boylan's death, the board found that McBride had prescribed medicine that naturopaths aren't allowed to use, as well as "dangerously excessive" amounts of acetaminophen with hydrocodone. Bethell and other family members urged the board to revoke McBride's license. Instead, his penalty, handed down by the board on June 16, 2006, was:

    An $8,250 fine
    No IV chelation therapy for three years
    Complete education on chelation therapy
    No IV treatment for three years
    No prescribing opiates for one year
    Continuing education on approved substances
    Keep prescription pads in triplicate
    Allow board staff access to his office

    Oregon was one of the first states to license naturopaths in 1927. And it allows them more leeway than elsewhere, according to a WW review of state laws. Oregon's 725 licensed naturopaths can prescribe about 300 substances, including opiates, and do minor surgery. Portland also is home to the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

    Boylan's death isn't the only recent fatality from non-invasive treatment. Two Portlanders and a Yakima, Wash., woman treated with an improperly mixed batch of the drug colchicine died this year. And there have been other recent deaths from chelation, which some believe can treat autism and clogged arteries. A 2-year-old girl in Texas treated for lead died in 2005, and a 5-year-old autistic boy died in Pennsylvania the same year.

    "The last thing people think is it's going to harm somebody," says Boylan family attorney Stephen Ensor. "It's a big surprise for everyone, including naturopaths, that they have the ability to harm someone in this nature."
  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I hope it wasn't the one my brother goes to. He lives in Portland and consults naturopaths, astrologers, psychics, and assorted other scam artists.

    The best one is the phone psychic who lives on the east coast. He spends hours talking to her on the phone.

    But he means well. He offered to pay so I could have a consultation w/ her.

    More alarming is that doctors w/ an MD are said to kill twice as many people every year as auto accidents.

    Living is hazardous. Here in Los Angeles people get killed just lying in bed when bullets come thru the walls or planes fall out of the sky or gas pipes explode.

    The actions taken by the board in the case above are ludicrous. "Ok, now, we're going to impose a three year penalty to cut down on the number of people you kill."

    I bet if the board members were required to treat w/ this guy, they'd make a different ruling.

  3. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    My sister lives in Oregon and goes to a naturopath (not this particular one thank goodness). I've been thinking of going to one and now am hesitant to go.

    Guess that life can be "hazardous to (our) health" at times. Breathing pollution (especially in Central CA), drinking water that may be polluted, eating food that can be polluted ... and then on top of it all when our bodies give way to disease, intentionally polluting ourselves with well-intentioned medications and treatments.
  4. victoria

    victoria New Member

    but also true of allopathic medicine too of course ... if supplements/herbals killed anywhere near as many people as RX drugs, they wouldn't be sold at all by anyone including pharmacies.

    Bottom line for all of us, the 'consumer', is to do our homework/research, and even then there has to be the realization that there can be a bad reaction, no matter how well 'researched' by the pharma companies OR no matter how 'natural'.

    all the best,

  5. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Hydrogen Peroxide Controversy Bubbles

    Infusions blamed in deaths, but backers see conspiracy against alternative treatments
    Associated Press

    West Columbia, S.C. - When Katherine Bibeau's body arrived at the morgue, she was covered in large, purplish-black bruises, almost as if she had been beaten to death.

    But this was no beating. Coroner Gary Watts attributed Bibeau's massive internal bleeding to the unconventional treatment she sought for her multiple sclerosis: an intravenous infusion of hydrogen peroxide - the same first-aid kit standby that's used to clean cuts and scrapes.

    Watts concluded that the hydrogen peroxide administered by physician James Shortt produced bubbles in Bibeau's bloodstream that started her on a fatal spiral into multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest.

    On the line of his report asking for "manner of death," Watts wrote one word: "Homicide."

    That launched a criminal investigation into Bibeau's death and that of at least one other patient who received Shortt's hydrogen peroxide infusions. It also has sent shock waves through the world of alternative medicine, a world of herbs and elixirs where Shortt is seen as a hero, a role model - anything but a killer.

    Shortt's defenders say tens of thousands of patients in this country safely receive and benefit from hydrogen peroxide infusions each year. They defy critics to find any case where someone has died from a properly administered treatment - although health officials view any internal use of hydrogen peroxide as improper.

    Fellow practitioners say Bibeau was taking at least two government-approved drugs whose known side effects could just as easily have explained the circumstances of her death. Yet they say authorities rushed to blame Shortt's treatment, because it was something foreign, unorthodox, outside the realm of "big Pharma."

    "There is a war," says physician Robert Rowen, a leading proponent of hydrogen peroxide and other "oxidative" remedies. "The guys with inferior chemicals that simply suppress symptoms are losing because their wares, their potions, their snake oil only covers up symptoms."

    On the latest battlefield in that war, Shortt, a self-described "longevity physician," is fighting to keep his medical license - and possibly his freedom.

    "I might be the world's greatest lunatic," he says, but "I'm not going to do anything to my patients that I think might hurt them."
    Practiced in Delafield

    Shortt is a classically trained medical doctor who said he practiced family medicine for years in Delafield, Wis.

    The Wisconsin Department of Licensing and Regulation's file on Shortt is "open," said department spokesman Chris Klein.

    And while Shortt is licensed in Wisconsin, "as far as we know he's not practicing" here, Klein said.

    According to Klein, Shortt lied on his Wisconsin medical license application; he said he had never been charged with a felony. In fact, in 1966, at age 19, Shortt pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon - a switchblade - in Michigan, Klein said.

    Shortt "doesn't feel he misled anybody," Ward Bradley, Shortt's lawyer, said in an interview last fall. Bradley said Shortt was told his record would be cleared when he went into the Army.

    Shortt has had a Wisconsin medical license since 1989.

    Shortt was as skeptical as anyone until 1992, when he says hydrogen peroxide guru physician Charles Farr helped him save a lupus patient's blackened toes from amputation.

    "It's nothing like patient success to make a believer out of you," says Shortt, who moved to sunnier South Carolina in 1996.

    And he is a believer. He says he has administered as many as 1,800 hydrogen peroxide treatments to patients from as far away as Europe and has seen people in the midst of severe asthma attacks "go from gray to pink" during an infusion.

    At the root of hydrogen peroxide's purported power is the same action that makes it foam when placed on a cut.

    Proponents of "oxidative" or "hyperoxygenation" therapy think many diseases - including cancer and HIV - can be linked to oxygen deficiency. They say that infusion or even ingestion of substances such as hydrogen peroxide, ozone and germanium sesquioxide deliver an "oxidative burst" that can kill cancer cells and viruses, and boost the immune system.

    Rowen, president of the International Oxidative Medicine Association, estimates as many as 200 physicians nationwide administer more than 100,000 hydrogen peroxide infusions a year.

    On a recent brisk day at Shortt's clinic, Health Dimensions, patients occupied two of the dozen black leather chaises as IV bags of yellowish and clear liquid emptied slowly into veins in their left hands. He has voluntarily ceased the hydrogen peroxide infusions but still gives patients "nutritional feedings" and other IV treatments.

    Shortt says many of his patients come to him when conventional medicine has run its course.

    "We go to work from this point where you're hopeless," the 58-year-old said in a recent telephone interview. "And we have to use methods that aren't in standard usage."

    But critics argue that not only are these treatments ineffective, they can be dangerous.

    Health experts say injecting hydrogen peroxide directly into the bloodstream can cause convulsions, acute anemia and deadly gas emboli. A 1991 article in the Journal of Emergency Nursing blamed the death of a 39-year-old cancer patient on such "cancer quackery."

    The American Cancer Society acknowledges that the use of hydrogen peroxide on certain tumors "remains an area for responsible research." But the organization says there is "no scientific basis for the regimens utilized by the oxymedicine promoters."

    Physicians in Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee have had their licenses suspended or revoked for giving patients intravenous hydrogen peroxide, but enforcement only comes when someone complains.
    Fighting MS with infusions

    Multiple sclerosis is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. Shortt contends the hydrogen peroxide treatment has had some success in such cases, and he thought 53-year-old medical lab technician Katherine Bibeau was a good candidate.

    While the exact cause is unknown, researchers think MS is the result of the body attacking the fatty tissue that helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses.

    Bibeau, from Cottage Grove, Minn., was diagnosed with the neuromuscular disease in 2001 and was already having trouble walking.

    The avid knitter, gardener and baker - who was described by her husband, David, as "June Cleaver with an attitude" - was a mother of two and a breast cancer survivor. So when confronted with a degenerative and incurable disease, she embarked on an open-minded search for ways to combat it.

    That search led her to Shortt.

    "Hydrogen peroxide would be very good to kill whatever's in there," Shortt told her in a February phone call, according to a transcript of the taped consultation. "Because, right now, we don't know what it is."

    March 9, she sat in one of those comfortable leather chairs in West Columbia, S.C., as a 0.03% solution of hydrogen peroxide coursed through her veins. That first treatment lasted 90 minutes.

    Afterward, Bibeau complained of abdominal pain and nausea, according to a federal lawsuit the family filed against Shortt. Two days later, the suit contends, she returned to Shortt's clinic extremely weak, with bruising at the infusion site and severe vaginal bleeding.

    The lawsuit alleges that Shortt ignored these clear signs of "acute hemolytic crisis" and failed to order a blood work-up for Bibeau, or to refer her to another physician. (Shortt, while acknowledging that hydrogen peroxide therapy can destroy red blood cells after repeated treatments, denies those allegations.)

    By the time she arrived at the emergency room March 12, Bibeau was in multiple-organ failure. Two days later, she was dead.
    Doctor's office raided

    In July, a second patient of Shortt's - Michael Bate, a 66-year-old retired engineer with advanced prostate cancer - died.

    Bate had been receiving hydrogen peroxide infusions and was allegedly told by Shortt how to obtain and use the banned drug Laetrile. Shortt also prescribed testosterone cream for Bate - a treatment that some say may actually stimulate prostate tumors.

    In September, armed state and federal officers raided Shortt's office and confiscated his files. Later that month, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners asked an administrative law judge for an emergency suspension of Shortt's license.

    Seeking support, Shortt traveled to the October conference of the International Oxidative Medicine Association in Atlanta to present the Bibeau case. The group developed the regimens Shortt used, and he considered its board a jury of his peers.

    The group, of which Rowen is president, found that Shortt had followed its "well-established" protocols. Rowen says any oxygen bubbles released from such a heavily diluted solution, infused at such a slow rate, would have been absorbed into the blood almost immediately.

    In the group's position paper, Rowen instead zeroed in on two FDA-approved drugs that Bibeau had previously been prescribed: the MS drug Copaxone and Tegretol, which is used to treat seizure disorders.

    Rowen noted that among Copaxone's listed side effects are "metrorrhagia (profuse uterine bleeding), thrombosis, bruising, clotting problems, and infections." An Internet site dedicated to Tegretol warns of "easy bruising, or reddish or purplish spots on the skin" as possible "signs of a blood disorder brought on by the drug."

    Rowen says it is "more than reasonable to conclude" that the interaction of these two drugs was "the proximate cause of this death."

    Shortt says he knew of no reason his treatment would react negatively with the drugs Bibeau was taking. He did not suggest she drop those medications because he didn't feel it was his "privilege" to question her previous doctors who are "quote, experts in their fields."

    Israeli drug company Teva Pharmaceuticals, maker of Copaxone, told The Associated Press that its drug had been "extensively studied and tested clinically . . . and has proven safe and effective." Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Tegretol's Swiss-based manufacturer, declined to comment.

    Richland County, S.C., forensic pathologist Clay Nichols says Bibeau had been on both drugs for more than a year "with no adverse effects." Coroner Watts stands by his conclusions.

    "I don't think he meant to kill her," Watts says. "I'm just saying . . . she died as a result of his infusing her with something he shouldn't have infused her with."
    Doctor's case in limbo

    In late November, the administrative law judge found that the South Carolina medical board had violated its own procedures and refused to suspend Shortt's license. She noted that Shortt had voluntarily ceased the infusions.

    The board has scheduled a Jan. 21 hearing to re-examine Shortt's case. Prosecutors refused to say whether he would be criminally charged, but Nichols says deaths beyond Bibeau's and Bate's are being investigated.

    Shortt says the negative publicity and his inability to offer the infusions have cost him 70% of his practice. Some of his remaining patients have formed Citizens for Health Freedom in South Carolina to support him and to lobby for changes to make state law friendlier to alternative treatments.

    One of Shortt's patients, Melvin Sapp, says the doctor brought him back from the brink of lung transplant surgery. He says Shortt is the victim of a conspiracy by the medical-pharmaceutical establishment to protect the status quo.

    "Anything else, they're going to prosecute, persecute and destroy," says Sapp, a 46-year-old preacher from Sumter.

    Pathologist Nichols wonders how many hydrogen peroxide deaths might have been dismissed as the results of a patient's terminal illness. He alleges that Shortt and others are charlatans and predators.

    "To me," he says, "this is nothing more than selling hope to the hopeless."

    Susanne Quick of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

    From the Jan. 10, 2005 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  6. victoria

    victoria New Member

    sorry to hear that, LuAnn! If you don't mind my nosiness, why were you doing the hydrogen peroxide... and do you think it helped you?

    A bit off that subject but still pertinent overall to 'buyer beware':

    I had a 'Myers Cocktail' IV of vitamins about 15+ years ago... I knew there was something wrong, but the doctor and nurse thought I didn't like the 'flush reaction' to the B6/niacin in it... but instead I experienced anaphylaxsis after about 10 minutes of 'drip'. Scary, to say the least, and no fun.

    It was figured out that I was allergic to the iodine in it used as a preservative - which doesn't mean I have an allergy to seafood, because I don't.

    It is, I guess, rare to be allergic to iodine, but I have since talked to people who are; one actually experienced a 'near death' experience, and he was given it in a hospital to start with (was used in some medical test also as a preservative).

    Also talked to someone whose mother took one of the OTC pain killers, not sure which (maybe ibuprofen), for the very first time while alone and experienced anaphylaxsis; she was unconscious for 20 minutes before rescued and was never right after.

    After hearing about all of this and my own experiences ... I never take anything 'new' to me, RX or not, without somebody around these days.

    all the best,

  7. victoria

    victoria New Member

    that's interesting, thanks for replying...

    a friend of mine in Vancouver area recently did an ozone treatment of her blood to get rid of a cough bug, and she was over it within a week -- unlike the rest of her family/friends who kept hacking for 3-4 weeks.

    I do think there are a lot of lower cost alternatives out there that just haven't been pursued 'officially' because there's no money to be made; but then I get squeamish too, since I worry about a practitioner really knowing what s/he's doing. Then again, I could say the same about 'regular' doctors too, that's for sure.