Naturopathic doctors, or naturopaths, aren't having the best of years in 2018. Multiple doctors have been implicated in the mistreatment of patients all over the world, with results ranging from starving children to accidental deaths of adult patients.
With a path of injuries and death in their wake, naturopaths are making quite a name for themselves this year. But to fully understand these situations, we first need to dive into the field of naturopathy.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Naturopathy is a medical system combining traditional practices with healthcare philosophies made popular in 19th-Century Europe. Naturopaths specialize in medical treatments ranging from stress reduction, guided detoxification, and even childbirth, as noted in the following story.
A naturopathic practitioner in the Indian city of Malappuram is currently under arrest and is being charged in connection with the death of a mother who died during childbirth earlier this year.
According to an article in The India Times, the "woman, who was admitted to Naturopathy Birthing Centre attached to the Ernad Hosptial, gave birth to a baby boy and within hours, her health condition worsened due to heavy bleeding."
The article goes on to report that the woman was later shifted to a proper medical facility, but the damage was already done and she perished some time later.
It wasn't until the woman's body was exhumed later this year that the doctor was charged in connection with her death.
But this is not the first case of a naturopath facing criminal charges, and it's not even the first case this year.
In April, an Australian naturopath named Marilyn Pauline Bodnar was sentenced 7 to 14 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a mother in failing to provide for her infant son in 2015.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Bodnar put the mother on a water-only diet that nearly starved the child to death before he was brought into a hospital at eight months weighing 14 pounds, several pounds under the average weight for children of that age.
The article went on to state that Bodnar put the mother - who was exclusively breastfeeding the child - on a water-only diet to clear up the child's skin condition. The mother was eventually allowed to add watermelon to her diet, but the damage was already done.
The prosecutor in the case was quoted as saying that the doctor "ignored the boy's weight-loss warning signs due to a 'blind allegiance' to her alternative medicine ideology."
Finally, there's the case of naturopathic practitioner Mitra Javanmardi being convicted of killing an elderly patient a decade after the crime was first committed.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation featured an article earlier this year centered around the Montreal-based naturopath who was found guilty in May 2018 of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2008 death of one of her patients.
According to the report, Javanmardi injected the 84-year-old male patient with magnesium to assist his breathing problems caused by fluid in his lungs following a heart surgery.
"Naturopaths in Quebec are not legally allowed to administer treatments intravenously," the article concludes.
While these examples are on the more dramatic side of the spectrum, and while not all naturopaths are awful people with malicious motives, it's important to know that there are real-world consequences with some new age "natural" and "noninvasive" forms of medical treatment.
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