Recently, I came across a news story describing two cancer patients treated by naturopaths in New Zealand. Both died, one almost certainly unnecessarily, the other after enduring more suffering than she likely had to. These tragic cases and others reminded me of why it is so appalling that so many physicians are “integrating” naturopathy into “integrative medicine.” In reality, they are integrating quackery into medicine.
In March, it was widely reported that a young woman named Jade Erick had died suddenly of a hypersensitivity reaction while undergoing an infusion of intravenous curcumin ordered by a naturopath named Kim Kelly to treat her eczema. The FDA investigated and found egregious problems with the injectable curcumin used. This tragic incident serves to demonstrate how dangerous a combination naturopaths and dubious compounding pharmacies can be.
Naturopaths claim that licensing their profession will ensure a high standard of care and protect patients. The case of Jade Erick, who died as a result of intravenous curcumin administered by a naturopath puts the lie to that claim. We now know that the naturopath who killed Erick has pending complaints that the Naturopathic Medicine Committee has done little to act on, revealing its ineffectiveness.
Naturopaths claim that licensure will guarantee that only naturopaths practicing based on scientific evidence are allowed to see patients. The real situation is that licensed naturopaths are just as quacky (and dangerous) as any other naturopath. This is demonstrated by a recent case in which a fully licensed naturopath who trained at the "finest" naturopathy school killed a patient with intravenous "turmeric."
Out of southern California, comes a lesson that something as seemingly benign as turmeric can kill when weaponized in the hands of a quack.