Naturopath lets her kids suffer with Whooping cough, child abuse?

naturopath child abuse whooping cough natural

I was not planning on writing today. But then I read a blog post about naturopathic “cures” for Whooping cough, and I got mad. There must have been significant backlash, as the post has been taken down from and the group’s Facebook page, Like-Minded Mamas. I took a screenshot of the post though, which you should read before continuing. It is shocking.

The post is written by Heather Dexter, a “mama of three” and a self-proclaimed “Certified Naturopathic Doctor” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I assume she obtained her degree from a naturopathic diploma mill, as she does not name the school in her bio. Confusingly, she calls herself “a board-certified naturopathic doctor.” There is no such thing. My first of many problems with this post is her misrepresentation of her training by using the phrase “board-certified” and the word “doctor.” She is neither.

It hopefully goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway. The advice in Heather’s post and much of what is on should not be followed.

Heather tells the story of her three children contracting pertussis in October 2014 and how she allowed them to suffer one after another for months as she bounced around between various “healers,” experimenting with natural remedies.

Her oldest daughter was infected first, and then, like with any other highly infectious disease, her two younger children contracted the bacterial infection. Heather’s baby was only 9-months-old when the eldest daughter became sick. Heather describes this time in her family’s life this way:

It was perhaps what could be considered the most traumatic period of my life. Each child’s attitude and expression towards daily life was excessively dramatized as we endured a VERY lengthy immune building process.

Yes. She describes this terrible 5-month illness as a difficult time for her, and as a long “immune building process” for her three children whose lives were placed at risk and who needlessly suffered due to her incompetence and negligence.

As many know, pertussis is Whooping cough. It was named for the horrible characteristic whooping sound made when coughing. It is caused by the bacteria Bordatella pertussis, is spread through respiratory droplets (coughing, sneezing), is highly infectious, and sometimes deadly. Besides death, other known risks from pertussis include brain damage, pneumonia, encephalitis, and seizures.

People sick with pertussis suffer intensely. Even with appropriate medical treatment, the high-pitched whopping cough will linger, sometimes for as long as 10 weeks. The cough itself is so violent and terrbile that it is associated with its own set of risks, including loss of consciousness, broken ribs, hernias, subconjuntival hemorrhages, and vertebral artery dissection. Indeed, in her post, Heather describes several horrific coughing scenes.

At this point, M’s cough was beginning to scare me. She would wake in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, coughing so hard that she would puke over the side of her loft bed, followed by turning purple and then finally gasping for air.

Heather describes her son’s coughing this way:

During the night, L would cough until he barfed up mucus, proceeded by crying and screaming fits. He was genuinely terrified each and every time he woke from sleep without breath.

I have experienced this type of fear before with a different illness. I remember waking up in the middle of the night once when I had strep throat. I could not breathe. I gasped and gasped for air, but nothing. My throat was swollen shut. I ran desperately into my parents bedroom and grabbed and shook my mom. Finally, my throat relaxed, and I could breath again. I sobbed. The adrenaline, fear, and the sheer pain of trying to breathe was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I, too, remember being genuinely afraid to go back to sleep, and I was 20 years old.

My heart absolutely aches for this little boy. And I cannot feel anything but absolute disgust towards his mom for unnecessarily letting him suffer.

Eventually, of course, her baby also contracted pertussis. Needlessly putting a baby through this illness seems cruel.

In a medical setting, pertussis is treated with antibiotics. However, Heather is not a doctor with medical training. So she tried to use ineffective folk remedies, such as good ol’ homeopathy and herbs as treatment. As things continued to get worse, as they always do in these types of situations, she decided to seek advice from her naturopathic doctor.

Despite naturopaths persistently insisting they are trained as primary care doctors, this ND doled out more nonsensical and dangerous advice. For example, the ND suggested more supplements, more herbs, some of which are potentially toxic (Lobelia), and enemas, because, as Heather writes,

Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum…enemas.

No, Heather. It is not.

After about 150 days of suffering and hundreds of dollars spent on “consultations” and natural remedies, her children get better. Heather describes the period as a “living hell,” affecting her relationship with her husband and questioning “everything I knew about natural health,” which is not much, apparently.

Sadly, she tells the story like she has triumphed. She says, “We did it.” without needing medical care. Referring to herself, she writes

It has been my biggest challenge to date as a mother. This mother conquered.

And for what reason, one may ask, was it necessary to not seek medical treatment and to allow pertussis to run its course, wreaking havoc all over these children’s lives? Heather has an answer.

My children developed REAL and TRUE immunity from being exposed to this bacteria and fighting it off naturally.

Obviously, Heather does not understand that immunity acquired through a vaccine is both real and true immunity. And, it is much, much safer than the illness her children contracted.

I can only assume that Heather does not vaccinate her children. Her stubbornness to refuse medical treatment for her children seemed to have no other purpose than a self-serving one.

This is not a story of a mom triumphing over pertussis by using only natural medicine and faith. In my opinion, this is a story of child abuse. I hope when her children are old enough they learn how their mother risked their lives with the delusion that “nature is best.”

Edit: Thank you, Dr. Nathan Boonstra for pointing out that pertussis survivors can have permanent lung damage.

Edit: In the interest of wider publicity, I want to point out critical coverage of Heather Dexter’s story written by others: 1) Epi Ren of; 2) Dr. Amy Tuteur of; 3) Orac of

274 Replies to “Naturopath lets her kids suffer with Whooping cough, child abuse?

  1. This is awful. I about lost it when my son got his first cold, let alone the horrors of whooping cough (against which he, I, and my husband are vaccinated). I understand the parents whose child has complex or undiagnosed problems who turn to alternative treatments just to do something. I may not agree, but I understand the impulse to want to help your child. Letting them suffer like this is inexcusable. Does she think that moms who had or have no other choice in the face of such diseases would cheer her on for keeping it “natural?” Seriously…

    1. Sadly several commenters on the original blog post DID cheer her on. They thanked her for sharing their story and congratulated her for staying strong in the face of doubt.

      It really is sickening how these people use their first world privilege to push their idiotic ideals. Because hey, if all else fails, the evil doctors that they shunned in the first place will clean up their mess.

  2. At minimum two things should happen here: The local authorities should investigate this as a case of child abuse. She may have served jail time if one of these kids died. Second, if naturopaths want to be taken seriously, the state “college” should investigate this “dr” and remove her ability to practice if she is endangering other children.

  3. Where there is one case of health abuse, it is almost inevitable that one will find more. I have to wonder how many of these ‘health mamma’ sites block postings offering constructive criticism, as is the practice of other fanatical sites (e.g., Dr. Mercola).

  4. I’d also like to point out that the real, true immunity gained from a natural pertussis infection is also relatively short-lived. It wanes after 4-20 years. The vaccine gives you anywhere between 4 and 12 years, without the risk of suffocation, death, or permanent lung damage. And without poor mom (since that’s really who it’s all about, according to Heather) losing so much sleep.

    1. Right, and an infection as an infant or young child does not give 20 years. That would be if you got it as a preteen, teen, or adult. So, she left them suffering for nothing.

      1. Oh, no. It was an immune-building exercise! Didn’t you see that part? *sarcasm*

        1. Yeah, it was oh so difficult for her and the poor children, they were just having an immune building exercise

    2. Thank you – was getting on here to say the same thing. So much misinformation floating around.

    3. And people who get the vaccine can always get a booster to extend it longer.

      I can help but wonder if one of this women’s children contracted tetanus, if she would try to deal with that “naturally” as well.

      1. I think they claim that as long as you let the wound bleed you won’t get tetanus.

        Them means some anti vaccine activists.


  5. After a visit to a “Naturopathic Doctor”, who happened to be a friend and colleague, she added “Olive Leaf Extract, Elderberry Syrup, Pau D’arco Extract, Light Therapy and Reflexology” (note the inane and incorrect use of upper case letters for each one; a marketing tool practiced by purveyors of dietary supplements to puff up their wares to the unaware), none of which have ANY evidence of clinical (i.e. human rather than in vitro or animal, as so many purveyors of dietary supplements commonly twist the meaning of the term) efficacy against pertussis. The same is true of the sundry other substances administered to the children, including “essential oils”, for which she inanely includes “Ravensara, Frankincense, German Chamomile, Herbal [sic] Lobelia, Several Probiotics [sic], and Enemas [sic] . . . in their rear end.” Talk about turning the clock back! To say nothing of completely discounting centuries of clinical science, can you say medical malpractice and medical endangerment of a client, coupled with child abuse?

  6. It appears that Heather went to “school” here:

    Not an accredited school by any means. Check out their course schedule:

    Featuring classes in muscle testing, homeopathy, flower remedies, reflexology, and feng shui.

    My favorite is their classes on vaccines. It is called “Vaccines and Environmental Poisons.” Sounds like a nice, non-biased course to me. Class description: “Discussion covers the important truths & deceiving myths about vaccinations, how to identify certain toxins in the environment and most importantly, how to antidote them. Remedies include homeopathics, herbs and essential oils to remove nerve contaminants (such as mercury) and how to protect the body from vaccine and environmental poisons, as well as support the body in health.”

    1. Without proof that “homeopathics, herbs and essential oils” remove mercury from the body, they have left themselves open to litigation. The bigger question, at least for me, is why they are allowed to operate. Is the U.S. government bereft of any authority to intervene in barbaric teachings that would place patients at risk of serious harm?

        1. That’s a big anti-vaxxer argument. “My child, my choice” and all that. My cousin basically ends every “debate” by saying that we should “agree to disagree,” and that it was “her choice.”

          Unfortunately, personal freedom only ever extends to where it doesn’t trample the freedoms of others.

          1. Exactly. And when someone’s unvaccinated child is a public health disaster, there needs to be better legislation in place to ensure that kids are vaccinated, and that only those with medical issues and immunological diseases are exempt. No more wishy-washy ‘philosophical arguments’ or religious dispensations.

  7. As per the MD above, I also hope the kids don’t end up with bronchiectasis to go along with their “natural” (&temporary) immunity.

  8. Great. Just as I am thinking I am turning the corner on curbing my incipient misanthropy, something like this comes along…

    1. Wow. I have thought the exact same thing before, but could never put it into words…

      I’m so stealing this!

    1. Then last week, the story found itself in the hands of those who are out to destruct. Threat after threat has made its way into this window of our lives. While we are aware that this is all part of the territory of speaking our truths, our system wasn’t ready to withstand the ambush of attacks.

      It’s amazing how quickly people will take their time and attempt to destroy your online space. Thankfully, we were able to catch it early enough to limit the blow, but we did have to take our site entirely down until we can enhance our security settings.

      I think she still doesn’t comprehend that she could have killed her children. They already might have permanent lung damage.

      I don’t think they understand the internet. They posted a public blog about what is pretty much child abuse in the name of “natural medicine,” and they got criticized for it. That has nothing to do with security settings. It has everything to do with brain settings.

      1. Don’t underestimate them. They likely know full well that it has nothing to do with security settings and everything to do with recklessness and avoiding the eyes of authorities.

      2. “Speaking our truths”. Truths that aren’t true anywhere except inside their delusional noggins, I’d imagine.

        1. They also talked about people who want to “destruct.” (Not “destroy.”) Seems like their command of the English language, as well as their command of reality, could use some work.

  9. Let’s not forget that she’s a doula- so she was potentially spreading pertussis to pregnant women, mothers, and newborns.

    1. If you read her original article you would know it was the vaccinated communities who were spreading the virus! /s

      1. please say you are been sarcastic……otherwise you are a fool and a dangerous one for spreading false information that could lead to a child been severely ill or dying.

    2. Actually, in her bio she discussed how she used to be a “vaccine accepting” nut like us. So I’d assume she was vaccinated herself as a child.

      1. But the pertussis vaccine requires a booster every decade or so. Her immunity has long since faded.

      2. Yes, but she could still potentially spread the bacteria to babies from being in contact with her sick children, even if she wasn’t susceptible to it herself.

  10. I was in my early to mid 50’s when I contracted whooping cough in DC. I’ve been an evangelist for the vaccines ever since.

    I live alone, but spent a few nights with friends when I had whooping cough because I didn’t want to die alone. I went to 9 different health care providers (including a naturopath and a Chinese herbalist because I was desperate), none of whom diagnosed me correctly until my PCP diagnosed me from an e-mail I’d sent at the beginning (she was out of the country at the time). I had coughing fits in front of an ER doc and an allergist, and neither of them recognized whooping cough when they saw it. Fortunately, the nurse practitioner I first saw put me on antibiotics, even though she didn’t know what it was, either. I’m told that that made me less contagious to others, but it did nothing to help my own recovery. My illness and recovery lasted 4 months, during three of which I had nightly near-death experiences. Lost 25 pounds in a month – but not a method I would recommend.

    If you are an adult and had a pertussis vaccine as a kid, check with your doctor: you may/probably need an adult booster. Please trust me: you do not want to go through this.

    1. I remember reading about that a few years ago when Whooping Cough was making a comeback, that many of the younger doctors had never seen it so they didn’t know what it was.

    2. Great reminder. My sister-in-law is a nurse, and insisted on the entire family getting their pertussis boosters when she was pregnant with my nephew. We’re covered, at least for a little while, but it seems like pertussis is one of the vaccines that no one remembers to get the booster for…and it doesn’t have a super long period of immunity either.

      I didn’t realize that whooping cough was so rare, but then again, I had never seen it before in my 22 years of life. That’s pretty awesome, but I’m sorry that it took you so long to be diagnosed.

      1. DTaP or TDaP is the tetanus vaccine which doctors try to remind people to get every ten years. It also contains vaccines against diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). General advice, not just for BridgetD: Try to get physical exams every so often. If your MD doesn’t ask about your vaccinations, then you should bring it up. Insist on getting them!

      2. DTaP or TDaP is the tetanus vaccine which doctors try to remind people to get every ten years. It also contains vaccines against diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). General advice, not just for BridgetD: Try to get physical exams every so often. If your MD doesn’t ask about your vaccinations, then you should bring it up. Insist on getting them!

  11. Absolutely reprehensible. YES, this is abuse. So glad I was finally able to get my kids vaccinated.

  12. Always exciting to see a surprised weekend post by Britt. . .
    Oh wait, this is actually incredibly awful.

  13. Oh, this gets even better. She was complaining on her personal FB page about going to a local elementary school during after care so her kids could play and getting kicked out. A) yeah, some random person off the street can’t just walk into a school during session and use the facilities and B) This was December 2014, when her kids were still coughing and being little disease vectors.

    1. Wow. That is about as abhorrent as female circumcision. Someone who lives in her state call child services.

    2. (From PrimaryCareDoc’s link) ” I picked her up, comforted her and gave her homeopathic hypericum (for nerve pain) and aconite (for shock).”
      While everything about that post is horrifying, I honestly have to say the fact that she gave her children aconite horrifies me the most. (For those not familiar with what aconite (aka wolfsbane or monkshood) is, it’s an extremely toxic plant that can poison you just by brushing up against your skin and can kill you if you don’t seek immediate medical attention.)
      I seriously hope that the woman who wrote that post learns exactly how deadly aconite is *before* one or more of her children die as a direct result of her (possibly willful) ignorance.

      1. No, it was homeopathic aconite, presumably with little or none of the starting material. Had it been the raw plant, I think we would have seen a different outcome, assuming that it was posted.

      2. Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) is another popular homeopathic treatment. Hyland’s teething tablets had it in there and it actually was strong enough to cause babies to have seizures. They’ve since pulled it and reformulated though I think Belladonna is still in it.

        1. Wait so some homeopathic remedies actually have active ingredients left? Well, knock me over with a feather!

      3. Not to actually defend homeopathy or anything but that’s how it’s supposed to work: a supposed dilution of an ingredient (ideally so diluted that it’s literally not even there) that causes some terrible symptom that you’re actually trying to treat.

        Basically it’s like treating your cut finger by dipping a razorblade in a lake and then drinking a sip of the water. Useless but not dangerous if done “correctly”, i.e. nothing really in the water but water.

        1. That’s homeopathic BS. If there’s nothing there, or even 1 part per quadrillion it’s a bloody placebo.

          1. Yes, I know it’s BS and I thought I made that completely obvious. The comment I was responding to (did you read it?) was concerned that the ingredient was poisonous, and I was pointing out that if it was done “right” there wouldn’t be any such ingredient because it was diluted out of existence.

              1. in some homeopathic products–in others there not really even any water. They place a drop of a 30C prep on a sugar pill, let it evaporate and sell the pills. Somehow the water teaches the sugar pill to ‘remember’ the treatment.

        2. I hope homeopaths realize that most of the water we drink has had feces in it at some point.

        3. Don’t forget to vigorously shake the lake first.

          Anyways, I think the point still stands since homeopathic products are poorly regulated (if at all) and so they might even contain non-zero concentrations of the substance they’re not supposed to have at all.

        4. A lake wouldn’t be big enough. Hahnemann recommended a 30C dilution for most homeopathic preparations (30 serial 100-fold dilutions). By comparison, with a 15C dilution you’d have to drink roughly 25 metric tons of the solution to have a 63% chance of consuming a single molecule of the starting material and a 40C dilution would equal one molecule of the starting material diluted into a volume of water equal to the entire observable universe.

    3. Incredible! I’ve never heard of the procedure and have to wonder if it has any merit. Notice how she refers to herself as a “NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR”, as if to shout to her audience.

    4. Technically, that isn’t true. If she sets her sites robots.txt, any automatic crawler such as and the Google cache will stop working.

      For example, in we see the following:

      “User-agent: ia_archiver
      Disallow: /
      User-agent: Googlebot
      User-agent: googlebot-image
      User-agent: googlebot-mobile
      User-agent: MSNBot
      User-agent: baiduspider
      User-agent: facebookexternalhit
      User-agent: Facebot
      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /
      Crawl-delay: 20”

      This disallows the self-described bots that index pages and then can cache the contents. In short, someone has to manually freeze the page to create an archive, and this is not stored via For Food Babe, due to her continual lies, this has proven useful for her.

      The solution is to manually freeze webpages and to publicly post the resulting links.

    5. Dare I ask what a “lip tie” is in this case? I just googled it and it just came up mentioned along with tongue tie which, to my knowledge, is not a woo thing.

  14. I got whooping cough even with the vaccine, however, it was not nearly as horrendous as getting it while not being vaccinated.
    I now have asthma, but I am thankful it wasn’t worse.
    I can’t believe putting a child through this hell, it was bad enough to go through it as an adult.

  15. I’m not a psychiatrist, but this sounds almost like Munchausen by proxy… except she seeks attention of people on the Internet instead of healthcare providers. I question mental health of her and her family.

    1. I am a licensed masters level therapist and yes, this is Munchausen by Proxy.

      1. Really? She was avoiding doctors. I’m not a licensed therapist, but it sure doesn’t sound like MPB to me.

        1. MBP is about the attention the parent gets from the child’s illness. It’s not necessarily attention from doctors but attention from family members and the community as well. I don’t see why a “naturopath” can’t get the same type of psychological satisfaction from the attention she gets from allowing her children to suffer. It does usually involve the mother inducing illness. In this case she did not intentionally induce illness but she did knowingly allow it and shared her story far and wide to garner attention so I think it might apply. I’ve obviously never counseled this woman so it’s just my opinion from afar.

      2. Curious, are you an LCSW? I’m getting my MSW myself right now. Not planning on becoming a therapist but cool to see another social worker here, if that’s your background. 🙂

        1. I have an MA in Counseling Psychology and am an MFT in California. I had to pay my dues as a social worker (that was just my title at my first few jobs pre-license). I was not technically trained in the case management aspect of social work but I had to catch on quick at those jobs! I’d say about half my coworkers were getting their LCSW and the other half were getting MFTs (it stands for marriage and family therapist – even if you don’t specialize in marriage or family therapy, it’s just what they call licensed masters level counselors who aren’t specifically MSWs in CA). I know people who got their MSW and used it in administrative capacities and loved it so you don’t necessarily have to do therapy with it! Good for you!

    2. There is another antivaxxer nut job, Pro Bono Eye Candy, she calls herself, whose child was terribly ill and she blogs about how hard it was for her. I thought MBP with that one, too.

  16. I had pertussis when I was very young despite being vaccinated because, as we all know, vaccines are not 100% effective and some people remain susceptible (like me, an asthmatic.) My asthma remains very severe as an adult, and I do wonder if the pertussis may have contributed. I’ll never know, of course.

    Having had pertussis in adulthood as well (obviously, my childhood infection with it didn’t protect me) I’d do anything to stop my kids suffering like that. It was horrific. I cracked ribs. I didn’t sleep a full night for months. I needed almost daily masks just so I could breathe normally because the coughing would make my asthma worse. I went through a salbutamol inhaler every week for six weeks.

    What this woman did wasn’t triumph over disease, it was medical neglect. She’s taking credit for the fact that her children didn’t die, when it has absolutely nothing to do with anything she did. As a parent, I consider triumphs to be when my children learn new things or act kindly towards other people. Not leaving them with an untreated, potentially lethal infection so long that they are coughing until they vomit or turn purple.

    1. I’m lucky enough not to have asthma, but I remember getting sick and not being able to breathe. It was so terrifying. The idea of mother just sitting there. I hope those kids grow up and turn on her big time.

      1. Well, she didn’t just sit there. She gave them enemas. And loads of bizarre supplements and bogus remedies. She was quite a busy little bee.

    2. I have mild asthma as an adult (it was more severe as a child), but as often as I end up with respiratory infections, I have thankfully never contracted pertussis (vaccine and boosters worked so far). I would think that pertussis would contribute to that.

      And, you know, I recently got a booster for pertussis. My nurse sister-in-law was pregnant with my nephew, and she insisted that everyone in the family get the vaccine or booster before seeing him. That, good people, is a loving mom. This woman isn’t deserving of the title “mom” at all in my opinion.

  17. I’m not sure if this has been pointed out below, but it seems many have missed the obvious: the kids got it because they were not vaccinated – the mom (and presumably father or co-parent) did not because THEY WERE!

  18. Interesting. The site is down today (forbidden access) []

  19. I think the only way to deal with these “Likeminded Mammas” pissants is to round them up and send them to a rural village in a developing country so they can see what life is like for mothers who are trying to raise children in an environment without the safety net of modern medicine and herd immunity. These mothers will walk for days and save for months to buy life-saving vaccines for their children that rich, white swill merchants turn their nose up at (without of course 10 years of medical education or an advanced degree in public health to back their stance up).

    1. Only if we can send all the SJWs with them, and revoke their passports once they arrive.

  20. From the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services –

    Report Abuse and Neglect: 855-444-3911

  21. I was once sick enough that I was gasping for air without getting it. I said to my dad, “I’m scared,” and he said, “I am, too,” and as soon as the fit was over, he grabbed me and drove to the hospital. There I got antibiotics and a tablet that let me–not him–sleep through the night for the first time in days.

    When I think about how she let those kids suffer and stay terrified because “sleep is for parents who drug their kids,” I want to bang my head against a wall. What a selfish, terrible, fake-martyr-mother. An awful, awful person.

  22. I hope she is investigated by the authorities. Kids get sick all the time. She’s risking her children becoming seriously disabled.

  23. I’ve just realised how useful the original story is: it’s an amazingly list of “treatments” that we now know with total certainty don’t do diddly-squat. Talk about “doing your research”.

    1. Some of them do have demonstrable activities of one kind and another, just not against the disease they were being used to treat.

  24. Next up on “Treatment Is Bad”: stick it to the man by refusing to bandage that open wound! Sure, there’ll be bleeding and infection, but if you don’t die: Victory!

    1. Didn’t you know that “natural” (TM) bloodclotting is better than artificial blootclotting, or something?

  25. pertussis only a few weeks after having scarlet fever is the reason i have apical asthma and have been aerobically impaired since i was 7 years old. i have made it to 73 but i have lost count of the times i have had pneumonia because of it.

  26. I am 51, my mother was too lazy to get me immunized, I contracted whooping cough when I was 10 years old, I will Never forget what a nightmare it was, the coughing that was endless, coughing so much that I could not draw breath, coughing so much that I vomited numerous times a day, choking on gobs of phlegm, the coughing fits that caused muscle spasms in my back that brought their own nightmare of pain with them, weeks of school missed, I ended up getting pleurisy on top of the pertussis , only then when I was writhing in pain and a constant high fever did she bother to get a doctor.
    I had measles, rubella, chicken pox, mumps (twice) whooping cough, Glandular Fever & a life time of chronic ear infections, tonsillitis & appendicitis (tonsils & appendix removed by the time I was 8) and from some of those diseases I had secondary side effects, pleurisy, viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, I have had Meninngococcal Septicemia & now have an aggressive form of Sarcoidosis, An auto immune lung disease, probably caused in part by damage to my lungs from childhood diseases.,
    I must have missed almost a year of school, that was a year of pain & suffering that I did not have to endure, And my immune system is CRAP, If it is going around I will catch it, having all those diseases did not give me a strong immune system at all. All 4 of my children are fully immunized & they Rarely get sick I can count on one hand with left overs the number of times each of them have had antibiotics for illnesses and they are all over 16 now.
    Stop listening to Crack Pots that are talking out of their arse, FFS IMMUNISE YOUR KIDS.

    1. Whooping cough was very common in my neighborhood where I was raised as a child in the 1950s in North America. It was the rare individual who didn’t contract at least 2 of the diseases you mention and nearly every child suffered through measles, chickenpox, and mumps. As much as we gained bragging rights for once having them, not everyone survived. More often, it was pneumonia that killed us, but measles also took its toll. What we have today are at least 2 generations who have benefited from others being vaccinated before them, but who lack adequate appreciation for either the seriousness of diseases or the need to regard the health of others by adequately studying their pathology and the evidence for their treatment and prevention before advocating “natural” treatments. Having bought into the conspiracy-mongering of naturopaths only too eager to sell them their lies, wares, and courses, they are essentially playing doctor and putting others at serious risk of harm.

      1. Thank goodness I’m a 90s baby and was fully vaccinated (except for chicken pox, my twin sister and I got the disease about a year before the vaccine was released…it was apparently a particularly nasty case as well, and I believe it since I still remember it twenty years later). My parents were born in 1950 and 1956, and they’re familiar enough with those once common childhood illnesses and the seriousness of them. They made absolutely sure that my siblings and I received all of our vaccinations.

  27. I think of parents who don’t vaccinate their children as child abusers. It’s as if they all suffer from Munschausen’s by Proxy and are using their children to live out their sick fantasies. I feel very sorry for their children.

  28. Fact: I am one of a host of Naturopathic Doctors that participate in the federal Vaccines For Children Program and routinely vaccinate according to the ACIP Schedule and do their best to encourage vaccine hesitant parents to vaccinate their children. Many vaccine hesitant parents end up vaccinating their children because the encouragement came from a naturopathic doctor. Support us! Stop vilifying and misrepresenting us with your ignorance of what naturopathic doctors actually do. While I very much encourage you all to continue to help all of medicine improve in supportive, not mutinous, ways, please refrain from slander. For those of you hell bent on the destruction of naturopathic medicine- go to therapy and try kindness on, you’ll feel better.

    1. Slander? Really? What percentage of naturopaths actually are like you and support the full schedule? My guess it that you are in the minority.

        1. Yes. Although, ironically, I’ll bet that most naturopaths would take the No True Scotsman approach to HIM- No “True” naturopath would give vaccines!

    2. Why do you feel that a naturopath is capable of primary care after 4 years of school with limited exposure to a spectrum of different diseases (ie does not train in a hospital). Yet an MD after four years is not capable–ie. Requires 3 more years to be a primary physician?

    3. What about antibiotics? In a case like this where one or more children has contracted the disease and is suffering hideously and facing a high likelihood of permanent impairment, would you administer antibiotics? Can you legally even prescribe them? And if not, what would you do instead?

    4. If you are a naturopathic “doctor” and fully support vaccines, you are in the minority. You are misrepresting your peers by casting your values of practice onto a profession that has repeatedly shown disregard for science-based standards and ethical behavior. Many NDs do participate in the federal program while also delaying inoculations and signing exemptions. This is problematic. There may be some good in NDs encouraging vaccine hesitant parents to get their children some vaccines, but why not educate them according to the science and not give any credence to anti-vax ideology?

      Slander? For that to be the case, statements need to be false. Please show these false statements.

      You may have good intentions, but you are still not a doctor.

      1. I will try to address what I can from several authors in one reply, I apologize in advance if I am mucking up blog protocol.

        Thank you for correcting me, I should not have capitalized “naturopathic doctor”. I did not mean to “puff” myself up nor bring up your ire, causing you to communicate so unprofessional for a scientist. It is clearly not effective to communicate in that manner because it hampers communication and so it would seem a poor scientific method. I too endeavor to be the best medical scientist I can be but it seems to those participating in this blog that having a designation of “naturopathic doctor” disqualifies the ND title holder from having any useful knowledge of medicine. I looked briefly through these blog entries and honor the knowledge and experience I see but will discard the adolescent communication and poor scientific collaborative attitude that some demonstrate.

        I am sorry but not being a legal professional I believe I erred in using the term “slander”. It seems the appropriate term for the defamation that occurs regularly on this blog is “libel”. See It is a fact that I am a naturopathic “doctor”, regardless of a statement to the contrary, and thank you very much, yes, I do have “good intentions”, besides primary care competency after 10+ years of practice (but you will likely dispute this because that is the purpose of this blog – to discredit any and all naturopathic doctors, right?). Like any other primary care provider, the purpose to my practice is to help individuals by providing competent primary care medicine, continue to advance my knowledge so I can that, support public health measures like the Vaccines for Children Program and thus hopefully contribute to the health of the population. It is true that I am not a hospitalist, I am an outpatient primary care doctor. As with any competent primary care doc with the knowledge of vaccination as an effective tool in controlling vaccine-preventable disease, I actively work to increase uptake rates and have always endeavored to do so. Besides my clinical work, I will note that I recently completed a voluntary term on the WA State Dept. of Health Vaccine Advisory Committee representing the WA Association of Naturopathic Physicians (WANP) during the last Pertussis epidemic. It was truly concerning and certainly I agree that it will continue to be a problem if the severity of whooping cough is overlooked. The DTaP and TDaP vaccines are not great for providing longterm immunity, but they are the best tools for preventing epidemics, and that means maximizing vaccine uptake by the population, to protect those that cannot protect themselves (namely those under 6 months of age and others susceptible to severe disease ). I actively support not just the childhood vaccination program, but also continue to advocate for the creation of a WA state, and hopefully federal, adult vaccination program. In our clinic we fully implement the VFC program and carry adult vaccines, despite that it costs us financially to do this. Again, we also do our best to convince vaccine hesitant individuals to immunize, and I use the “ND” credential to it’s advantage here, because alternative medical seekers sadly seem to trust NDs more than MDs. In my experience there are effective Primary Care Providers, and effectiveness isn’t dependent on whether the title is ND, MD, DO or ARNP. I imagine that some day the archaic system of medical education will change so that there will be a unified “PCP”title because there really is only one kind of medicine, medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t and hopefully that will become more transparent with an evidence based system. Regardless, Vaccination is a primary care modality that works and is naturopathic- what is more natural than using one’s own immune system to prevent disease? That is an example of the naturopathic philosophical concept of “The healing power of nature” as well as “prevention”. Pretty simple concept.

        To answer the question of what I would do to help a patient with Pertussis- please see UpToDate, which would be consistent with what I and, I guess, other primary care docs would do. I have treated people early in the course of pertussis infection found by rapid testing, or suspected because of exposure, with antibiotics and when the window of opportunity for treatment ends, with palliative care measures that are consistent with all primary care guidelines (also naturopathic “First Do No Harm” and follows the Therapeutic Order concepts) For treatment see:

        Unfortunately I am too busy practicing and committed to improving people’s lives to have the time or desire to argue but thought I would attempt to help alleviate some of the vehement anger that Britt has fanned against her former ND colleagues through this blog. (I wrote a personal note to her some months ago that seems not have been responded to). Certainly I agree that naturopathic medicine should continue to evolve as a profession but it certainly applies to conventional medicine as well. Naturopathic medicine has lent a lot to general medicine over the past century such as the simple concepts of nutrition, lifestyle improvement, therapeutic exercise and physical medicine, holism (mind/body relationship), specific vitamin interventions, ecology of the gut, least force intervention, herbalism, etc, etc. I recommend working to improve a broken medical system and integrating useful knowledge, not go about defaming others, especially minority health professionals that are trying their most to be part of the solution. I do fully agree with skepticism though and certainly agree that a physician should always question the safety and effectiveness of diagnostic and treatment methods, and certainly our own presumptions as physicians. A medical scientist should also be open minded otherwise we don’t pioneer new, or utilize older, treatment modalities that may be helpful to our patients. Sure, there are likely naturopathic diagnosis and treatment modalities that should be evaluated and perhaps discarded, as is certainly the case with the medical world in it’s entirety. We need to focus on the goal of improving patient outcomes. As an “ND”designated PCP I am not married to all or any modalities that do not contribute to this goal. I follow an evidence informed approach and follow standard of care for all primary care providers. Although I follow a naturopathic philosophical approach to medicine, I myself tend towards utilizing what would be considered on this blog as conventional diagnostic and treatment modalities in my own practice. I am certainly one of many NDs that you would be surprised to find (and disappoint some of you) are not the “quacks” you take us for (sorry but I don’t have any data on how many, if it is just some or most?). It seems that Britt had a bad experience and did not learn to integrate the necessary conventional tools into her practice of naturopathic medicine. It seems that she encountered issues and decided not to improve her practice but to discard it all and move on. I don’t question her decision, as it seems that it was right for her to leave her ND title behind, but it certainly has not been mine. I don’t do IV therapies, use homeopathy, put people on crazy diets, or keep a formulary to make money from. I think these were the main issues that people had with naturopathic medicine? There isn’t anything that is considered alternative in my PCP role other than treating each person as an individual as well as a member of a larger human community, giving enough time to figure out the issues, diet/lifestyle counseling and practicing in a way consistent with naturopathic philosophy. I work with collaboratively with MD, DOs and ARNPs that I seem to practice similarly despite their different educational backgrounds. The lines blur when providers are simply just trying to do best medicine for their patients. I am open to anything that will help a patient, conventional or alternative, that has been vetted appropriately although evidence may be lacking in the interim but that appears safe historically or from a testimonial from a competent colleague I trust or in medical journal. This is true for all medical practitioners, I suppose. I don’t often have the time to evaluate or judge how others practice if they are having positive outcomes for their patient’s health but if something is working for them I certainly am interested in hearing about it. We all must acknowledge that it is at times difficult to properly study “alternative medicine”. Many studies are difficult to do and require vast resources that are not readily available. The evidence based system is only worth the quality of the evidence obtained/obtainable, and of course the bias of the study designer and evaluator. I agree that we should still endeavor to use what evidence exists, with scientific honesty to improve medicine in general.

        1. You’re still off the mark on libel. There is a high burden of proof which includes proving 1) false statements of fact, 2) harm to reputation, and 3) lack of an attempt to represent the truth.

          I believe you are overstating the influence naturopathy had on medicine. Please provide evidence that naturopathy has had any contribution to medicine over the last century. It seems that because medicine focuses on nutrition and is now unraveling the role of the microbiome, you attribute a spurious influence to naturopathy, somehow. I think real medical scienctists were well equipped to develop hypotheses on these topics and investigate them without any help from naturopaths. Yes, even over large lengths of time. I have seen naturopaths often try to take credit for medical developments that happen wholly independent from them. That is pretty disingenuous.

        2. Quote: “… because there really is only one kind of medicine, medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t… ” This is correct and at the same time the huge problem of NDs, because their education contains entire branches that do not work, e.g. homeopathy. However, even branches that do work partly contain huge amounts of treatment modalities that don’t work. Herbalism is a good example. During history, herbalism has been part of mainstay medicine (an not given by naturpaths !) as long as chemistry was in it’s infancy. Indeed, plants still are a very valuable source of drugs and might well provide the next generation of antibiotics in form of antimicrobial peptides. However, herbalism as practised in naturopathy suffers greatly from lack of scientific evaluation during discovery. This means that a large amount of knowledge that has come onto us via herbalism is erroneous, with the errors caused by psychological bias, placebo effects or magic thinking. Given the fact that even modern studies are to a large extent fraught with errors, I guess that approx. 80-90% of herbal tradition would not hold water if scientifically tested. This means that a student in Naturopathy wastes at least half of his time, if not much more with subjects that are either falsified or have a high probability to be wrong. Taken together with the residency requirements, this results in very poor training. You are correct that a title does not make a good primary health care provider and I am sure a few NDs are good PCPs. However, here is it probability that counts. Given the poor training of NDs, both medically and scientifically, the probability of encountering an incompetent ND is much much higher than encountering an incompetent MD. In short words, NDs are good healers by chance, MDs by design.

          1. The trouble with herbal medicines is the lack of testing to show their safety and efficacy, whether used individually or in combination. Granted, they continue to be used in many parts of the world in primary, primitive heath care, perhaps by as many as 60–80% of the world population, but that doesn’t mean they are either safe or effective against the diseases they are being used to treat. Naturopaths may have adopted herbalism, but they can hardly be said to have advanced its practice.

            1. That is not entirely true. See f.i

              J Clin Pharm Ther. 2010 Feb;35(1):11-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2009.01096.x.
              Phytotherapeutics: an evaluation of the potential of 1000 plants.
              Cravotto G1, Boffa L, Genzini L, Garella D.

              Surprisingly, for roughly 50% of the plants ae at least some data available, for 15% even clinical studies. Roughly 1% displayed considerable therapeutic effects.

              1. By focusing on the plants with the most data, they left out many others with substantial evidence of therapeutic efficacy, if only with less data. However, had they been included, the final percentages would not be much different.

        3. ” I too endeavor to be the best medical scientist I can be but it seems to those participating in this blog that having a designation of “naturopathic doctor” disqualifies the ND title holder from having any useful knowledge of medicine.”

          It’s more that any useful knowledge of medicine they might possess is coincidental, rather than a consequence of being formally trained in naturopathy.

          “A medical scientist should also be open minded otherwise we don’t pioneer new, or utilize older, treatment modalities that may be helpful to our patients.”

          What would that ‘open-mindedness’ look like in practice–surely it wouldn’t take the form of embracing treatment modalities where no evidence demonstrating safety and efficacy exists?

          “It seems that she encountered issues and decided not to improve her practice but to discard it all and move on.”

          It seems to me improving naturopathic practice requires discarding all treatment modalities which have not been proven to be both safe and effective (i.e., all treatment modalities embraced by naturopathy which are not also integral parts of standard of care evidence-based medicine). Would that have been your advice to Britt?

          “There isn’t anything that is considered alternative in my PCP role other than treating each person as an individual as well as a member of a larger human community, giving enough time to figure out the issues, diet/lifestyle counseling and practicing in a way consistent with naturopathic philosophy.”

          Treating each person as an individual, diet/lifestyle counseling, etc., aren’t ‘alternative’, however: they’re integral parts of standard of care evidence-based medicine. I’ve never had a physician who failed to treat me as an individual, take the time to understand issues, or offer recommendations regarding improvements to my lifestyle and diet.

        4. ” I too endeavor to be the best medical scientist I can be but it seems
          to those participating in this blog that having a designation of
          “naturopathic doctor” disqualifies the ND title holder from having any
          useful knowledge of medicine.”

          The problem with NDs is that they spend considerable time with studying subjects that are either outdated and/or have been falsified. THe majority of them does not realize this which in turn sppeaks volumes about their scientific capability. In a science driven field this is a disqualification, whether you want it or not.

          “A medical scientist should also be open minded otherwise we don’t
          pioneer new, or utilize older, treatment modalities that may be helpful
          to our patients.”

          You would be astonished about research projects being done in “conventional” medicine to investigate socalled alternative approaches. The problem is that most of those either do not stand the test of science or result in drugs that are perceived as chemicals rather than herbals. A prime example is Paclitaxel.

          “It seems that she encountered issues and decided not to improve her practice but to discard it all and move on.”

          Britt simply realized the severe deficiencies in her degree and wanted to correct that. It would be extremely advisable to Bastyr as a whole to streamline their curriculum and drop their Hogwarts School of Wizardry courses.

            1. Based on a a quick look at Bastyr’s curriculum I’d say nothing except the physiological classes.

        5. “To answer the question of what I would do to help a patient with Pertussis- please see UpToDate, which would be consistent with what I and, I guess, other primary care docs would do.”

          This looks very interesting although I can’t read all the source without subscribing, but it just begs another question:

          If you’re promoting vaccines as a preventative measure, and antibiotics as a curative, in what respect is anything you do naturopathic?

          1. He is just a poorly trained primary care doctor then. Better off seeing an MD or even a nurse practitioner

            1. In most cases, a nurse practitioner is a great person to see. No “even” about it.

          2. Hi Vaccinetruth,

            Your question, “If you’re promoting vaccines as a preventative measure, and antibiotics as a curative, in what respect is anything you do naturopathic?”, is perfect and gets to the heart of exactly what many licensed NDs want those ignorant of our profession to know. Simply put, it is not the modalities that make naturopathic medicine, it is the philosophy. I know that may sound like obfuscation but it truly is not. The tools don’t matter so much as they conform to this most excellent medical philosophy. The “naturopath” that is the subject of this Whooping Cough blog entry, as Britt points out, is not a licensed “ND”, and if she was, she did a negligent job addressing pertussis. She did not apply naturopathic philosophy and has shunned the best treatment tools in this case, which happen to be allopathic. Yes, as Thomas Mohr points out correctly, many of the traditional “naturopathic” tools are often ineffective. I so very much agree with you, Thomas Mohr, that the tools found to be unhelpful with sufficient evidence based study should be stricken from the naturopathic curriculum and the time made available for more useful clinical work. Anti-vac naturopaths should also be held accountable for their views, most especially when that does harm. Yes, it is true that the AANP, the national ND organization has a relatively weak supportive stance for vaccination. There is a strong group of evidence informed NDs, including myself, who are working on changing this antiquated stance. Please support us! If anti-vaccination is being taught in the naturopathic schools, those schools should be held accountable and change it, but is burning down the whole of naturopathic medicine, most especially in a time where we are looking at a primary care provider shortage, useful? Doesn’t it make sense to improve ND primary care education and thus be additive to solving the shortage of PCPs? Remember the Beatles song, “Revolution”? Let’s consider what would happen if we eliminated licensed NDs? I hypothesize that it would cause more patients to seek serious quacks, that are less accountable than NDs. The states that don’t license NDs have these unlicensed “naturopaths” like the one you describe in this case of whooping cough and if you look at what they are doing it is truly very scary. So perhaps opposing ND licensing doesn’t make sense? Evolving the ND profession makes sense. Why not have NDs take the USMLE? Why not advocate for that as accountability? Why not offer NDs that want to become family physicians, MD residencies like DO’s now do? It wasn’t always that way for DOs, similar to where it is now for NDs. Oh, I forgot, how about the case of ARNPs? Should they do residencies?
            Lastly, in looking at this all fairly, is there any studies on NDs doing harm? What’s the malpractice rate for NDs? Surely that data exists right? Let’s get scientific here, eh?

            Getting back to you, Vaccinetruth, one “naturopathic” tool that might be useful with whooping cough is “humidification” = “hydrotherapy”. Chronic cough is difficult to treat in all of medicine. So that some of the trolls on this blog don’t exploit holes in what I am trying to say, I want to make clear that I suggest “humidification” in addition to proper evaluation of the cough. Of course all coughs should be evaluated because they can be symptomatic of other dangerous diagnoses. So let’s just say in the case of pertussis that we are treating the “100 Day Cough” that commonly results. The mainstay is suppression, so using narcotics can be effective. Does that fit into naturopathic medicine? Very much so, along with anything that can help the patient get through the course of the cough like using demulcent herbal teas and such. If the cough is not suppressed, it ends up causing other issues like chest wall muscle spasms and such besides interfering with sleep and a much more prolonged course thus suppressing the cough can allow the person to sleep and heal. Obviously it behooves the physician to help suppress this cough and yes, that is naturopathic because it “prevents” further disease so it fits to use narcotics short term. See, naturopathic philosophy happens to be the philosophy underlying all great clinical medicine! As one of the bloggers stated, “my doc listens to to me, gives more time, etc etc” – well, I would say that your doc is just a very excellent doc and practices in a way that is congruent with naturopathic medical philosophy. Make no mistake, not all naturopathic doctors practice according to naturopathic philosophy but ironically, at least here in Seattle, a lot of MDs do practice naturopathic philosophy without even going to school for it and not realizing they are doing so. In Seattle there are many MDs that would testify that NDs are competent primary care providers, although I am sure there are some that have had bad experiences with an ND because like I have asserted prior, competency goes beyond the title: MD, DO, ND, PA or ARNP…

            I want to further point out that naturopathic medicine emphasizes “right force” and safety of interventions given the cost/benefit in the given context. To contrast this for the crowd of the “Infallible MD” (I am happy to admit that I am married to an MD and have lots of MD friends and colleagues) is the example of a common MD non-evidenced mistake= treating viral bronchitis with antibiotics. Despite the evidence based recommendation against antibiotic treatment for viral bronchitis, plenty of “well trained” conventional providers will prescribe antibiotics.
            I ask you why, in the context of the MD hero of Scientific Medicine is this happening? Should all MDs that wisely don’t treat viral bronchitis with antibiotics be lumped in with the many that do practice better evidence based medicine? Of course not! Then why lump all “naturopaths” together as anti-vac, non-evidenced quacks? It is obviously more convenient to vilify the entire ND profession. Perhaps the people bent on hating naturopathic medicine see things as black and white, not grey? Can you say, perhaps this might be a case of bigotry?

            For those of you interested in understanding more of what I am trying to say about naturopathic philosophy regarding vaccination (I posted this website before on Naturopathic Diaries blog a couple of months) please read below what I wrote on the blog responding to my colleague, Mary Alison Higi:

            “Why is vaccination “naturopathic”? As Dr. Higi states, it certainly fits into naturopathic philosophy: “First Do No Harm”, “Doctor as Teacher” and “Prevention”. I will add that vaccination fits into another principle of naturopathic medicine- “Treat the Cause”. What’s more natural then giving the immune system experiential education (teaching the immune system to recognize a pathogen so that it can be ready when it encounters it). As Dr. Higi also highlights, the main reason why naturopathic physicians support vaccination is that it makes scientific sense! Vaccines decrease the reliance on antibiotics, antivirals, and other medications, as well as hospitalization, that often becomes necessary with severe illness that vaccines help prevent. Besides decreased incidence of disease, or severity of disease, from HepB, Measles, Pertussis and Influenza, how about Hib, Rota and Pneumococcal disease? Seattle Children’s sees far less disease caused by these pathogens because of vaccines. There currently is an overwhelming amount of scientific literature demonstrating that vaccines have proven to be safe and effective, that is what has changed the modern naturopathic perspective of vaccination.
            Thank you both for demonstrating that advocacy for vaccination transcends all health professions. For Community Immunity to be effective, it requires that we work together as providers and patients to increase immunization rates. What we communicate to our patients directly effects their decision to either vaccinate or not. It is well known that attitudes and beliefs figure prominently into many people’s decision to vaccinate but as physicians it is our role to refocus the conversation on medical science and integrate that into our patient discussions. Regardless of our primary care titles, our responsibility is to utilize scientific evidence to guide our work, and the most current science supports vaccination as a very effective way to decrease communicable disease. Using our clout as licensed primary care providers that have expertise in natural medicine, naturopathic doctors can be very effective in advocating vaccination, most especially to alternative medical seeking patients suspicious of vaccination.”

            1. Simply put, it is not the modalities that make naturopathic medicine, it is the philosophy.

              I could not agree more. The problem is the fervent philosophy is what leads to the widespread teaching and use of unproven modalities.

              I so very much agree with you, Thomas Mohr, that the tools found to be unhelpful with sufficient evidence based study should be stricken from the naturopathic curriculum and the time made available for more useful clinical work. Anti-vac naturopaths should also be held accountable for their views, most especially when that does harm.

              This change is long overdue. When ND schools were getting started with accreditation in the early 1980s, they had a perfect chance to adopt a scientific standard. They did not. They institutionalized homeopathy, cranio-sacral therapy, herbology, and hydrotherapy as mainstays for a wide range of conditions for which the scientific evidence was extremely weak or had shown these to be ineffective. Why is now the time for change? It’s like NDs started the clock back in the early 1900s. Change according to evidence is part of the core of science, but given NDs track record, this seems unlikely to change now.

              Yes, it is true that the AANP, the national ND organization has a relatively weak supportive stance for vaccination. There is a strong group of evidence informed NDs, including myself, who are working on changing this antiquated stance. Please support us!

              That is setting the bar low, in my opinion. Vaccines are the most effective medical intervention for preventing disease in the history of medicine. If you all cannot rally behind them, then the profession is doomed.

              Why not have NDs take the USMLE? Why not advocate for that as accountability? Why not offer NDs that want to become family physicians, MD residencies like DO’s now do? It wasn’t always that way for DOs, similar to where it is now for NDs. Oh, I forgot, how about the case of ARNPs? Should they do residencies?

              They should absolutely take the USMLE or COMPLEX. If NDs want to be called physicians, then they should go through the same accountability process.

              Make no mistake, not all naturopathic doctors practice according to naturopathic philosophy but ironically, at least here in Seattle, a lot of MDs do practice naturopathic philosophy without even going to school for it and not realizing they are doing so.

              This is the second time that you’ve written about how ND philosophy or practice is somehow informing what medical doctors do. Medical ethics already have everything good about what NDs also happen to do (i.e., copying from MDs) and contains none of the bad (most of what NDs do).


              1. ….oh, and I will add that the attitude I observe amidst many bloggers on this post is so very similar to the attitude of he Anti-vac patients when I am trying to discuss the benefits of immunization and get stone-walled. They have stubborn attitudes that resist hearing anything contrary to their position. It is unchangeable. In Clinical Vaccinology we differentiate vaccine “refusers” from the vaccine “hesitant”. The hesitant are able to change their views but the refusers will not change. For info on this concept, see:
                I have encountered, both within and without the naturopathic profession, a similar unscientific, stubborn, close-minded attitude that makes it really difficult to evolve things. Sure, be “hesitant” about naturopathic medicine, be skeptical but also be open. Help improve that which needs improvement in naturopathic medicine by being open to questioning your preconceived ideas about us instead of just trying to defame us.

                1. I am happy to embrace new ideas for the advancement of medicine, regardless of origin, as long as they actually work. I just have not seen any contributions from naturopaths.

                2. There are many people here telling you why your justifications for why you think you’re part of the solution do not hold water.

                  You’ve remained stubborn and close-minded to the possibility that what you’re doing is at least unethical and have now flounced off after accusing your critics of being the ones with an attitude problem.

            2. Dear Jonathan, let me just reply by commenting on the principles of naturopathic medicine.

              Vis Medicatrix Naturae, or trust in the healing power of nature and “nature is the best physician”. Essentially this represents an argumentum ad naturam or appeal to nature which is a scientific fallacy. The body defends itself against infections, wounds etc. but does so only to a limited extend. If this capability is exceeded there is no way back. You can very easily see this by comparing the life expectancy of predators at the top of the food chain in the wild vs. under proper medical care. It almost triples. Additionally, only very small wounds heal in the sense that the tissue structure is reconstituted. Bigger lesions are patched up with fibroblasts and scar tissue. That means nature does a actually a very poor job in healing, and – astonishing as it might sound – this makes sense in the light of evolution.

              If you look at many modern drugs, they are doing wonders with regard to healing. Look for instance at a light disease like pneumonia. Before the advent of antibiotics (even with herbs and homoeopathy) pneumonia was feared as a potentially deadly disease.

              This principle also demonstrates a huge misconception among naturopaths, namely that mother nature created something for us. Nature is one of the worst mothers one can have, because she cares not one single bit about humans or the earth or even the solar system. If f.i. camomilla acts antiinflammatory, this is because the plant developed a defense system (etheric oils) which coincidentially are capable of interfering with inflammatory pathways of cells.

              Primum Non Nocere: This is also observed in classical medicine with the difference that difference that classical medicine recognizes that it is sometimes necessary to inflict harm in order to prevent greater harm. I am not sure if naturopaths stick to the principle.

              Tolle Causam – identify the cause. Naturopaths constantly violate this principle – a huge bunch of naturopathic modalities are not aimed at identifying the cause, because for many diseases the ultimative cause can not be identified. Cancer is a classic example. Some people get it, some don’t. Even if these people smoke, etc. ist *still* remains a stochiometric process just with changed probabilities. The same goes for e.g. chronic inflammation. Some people are susceptible, some are not. For medical treatments that means that the primary point of action have to be the cellular mechanism(s). None of the naturopathic drugs comes even close to an effectiveness of an f.i. intiinflammatory drug.

              Tolle Totum – treat the whole person. First, in the age of family physicians this was already the case without having to explicitely state that. Our family physician knows us very well. So that is NOT an invention of Naturopaths.

              Defendere (prevention) – HUGE amounts of money are poured into that. This is also NOT an invention of Naturopaths.

              Docere – teach patients. That is also NOT an invention of Naturopaths since any good primary care MD will do that.

              With regard to NDs as a mean to alleviate the primary care provider crisis. Take a look at Europe. With an ND you could practice in only two countries, Germany and Switzerland. For the rest of the European Union you need an MD to practice as primary health care provider. The problem with the US is that you have THE by far most expensive health care system in the world, with per capita costs nearly double than that of the European Community. That points towards massive structural problems which should be the primary point of action.

              1. I don’t know the scope of practice of heilpraktikeren in Switzerland, but in Germany they are limited to using homeopathy, herbs, reflexology, iridology, and acupuncture among other non-medical modalities. This means that they do not practice medicine and have almost nothing positive to contribute to healing disease–just like American naturopaths or to be more specific naturopathic “doctors.”

                Yes, solving the US’s healthcare crisis has nothing to do with giving more authority and legitimacy to naturopathic “doctors,” a profession which give its practitioners an inadequate education and indoctrinates them in a lousey philosophy.

                1. OK, I give up trying to dialogue with you all. I have tried to help open your minds and tried to find a place for discussion but you twist statements and arrive at your preconceived conclusions. There is no dynamic nature to this blog, It’s a rant-fest. You know, my “MD” and “ND” friends told me it was a waste of time to try to use reason on this blog, because it is too subjective and not objective, not scientific. They were right. From what Thomas Mohr and Taylor have just written, I see that you both don’t really understand naturopathic philosophy and resist seeing any merits in it. Your sole purpose it seems is to portray naturopathic medicine as quackery and conventional medicine as perfect. That in itself is your trap. In science that is called “Confirmation Bias”, a common scientific error.

                  Posting on this blog thus is a waste of time and if I am not careful I will end up proving you right and become a bad physician and my practice will suffer if I waste any more time with you bigots on this adolescent oppositional-defiant theme, “I failed as an ND and am now I am going to hate all things naturopath”. Britt, I feel awful reading about your $333,000 loans and then failing in practice making it difficult to pay off! That is awful and wrong! I too have loans but nothing approaching that. You have every right to be angry, and I understand that you feel betrayed by not being best prepared for ND practice. The worst part is the feeling of being duped by yourself and the Bastyr Admissions Committee. I am willing to provide them frank feedback about the loan issue and I will continue to advocate for improving their curriculum and clinical training. I also feel sadness that these blog trolls have exploited your bad experience and helped set up a home for hatred, not science. What has ensued is a witch hunt against all naturopathic medicine, burn it all down…we need to work on solutions and not destruction. Hate and fear-mongering are pervasive obstacles in human evolution, and true science can get us beyond it. Science that isn’t to be found on this blog because there is to much anger here.

                  So it is that I will move on to my Sunday ND PCP catch-up activities. In my context here in WA state, fully credentialed to practice primary care with insurance and medicaid programs, it means doing all the normal extra PCP duties that occur outside of direct patient care. These are the pain in the butt things such as Prior Authorizations for medications, imaging and referral letters, along with staying up on the current medical literature. Yes, this of course means working on weekends too. Fortunately for myself I love practicing medicine and helping my patients. I don’t like the paperwork that comes with it but again, it’s things we need to do, just like giving kids shots (yes, I do this myself, not a nurse or MA), identifying cancer and informing the patient, hearing sad narratives, etc. I don’t need to go to deep into this and I don’t know what it is like for the “naturopaths” that you use in this blog as targets, but primary care NDs like myself are just too busy doing the above to be reading depressing blogs like this one and so you are missing their commentary. We individual NDs have our deficiencies and our strengths, like any other medical provider, but a reader of this blog will not understand that from what has been posted by those self-righteous critics who wish to destroy the ND profession, not help it evolve.

                  My conclusion is that what happens on this blog is not science, nor is it well intentioned. There is clear confirmation bias going on that anyone with any knowledge of scientific method can see. Why has Britt presented this story about a non-ND? Why a post on Donald Trump and supplements? Weird wacky posts on laundry detergent? What the heck is all that about? Is it an accurate depiction of what an ND like myself and others do? Heck no! Let go of your pseudoscience, your bigotry and work towards building relationships, not dividing. Help Britt move on but don’t create more crap. For myself I am committed to my PCP role, working to evolve naturopathic medicine, decreasing Vaccine Hesitancy and overall doing what I can to mend our ailing U.S. medical system. Please don’t get in the way of those of us that are trying to be part of the solution, not the problem. Do some real effective work besides propagating negativity.

                  1. Jonathan, the difference between us and you is that we do not base science on a certain philosophy. For me there are only treatments that work and treatments that don’t. Treatments that work are ipso facto part of classical medicine. Also, a good primary care practiioner should know his patients, The fact that some PCPs don’t have the time for that is a problem of
                    classical medicine introduction of naturopathy will not solve. Therefore to present a holistic approach as part of a special naturopathic philosophy is a red herring. The same goes for the principle of safety.

                    The real danger of applying a certain philosophy in science is that one puts philosophy above data. Applying a philosophy in science almost always results in prejudice.

                    If you strip naturopathy of treatments that don’t work and strictly apply only treatments that do work you are working ipso facto as a classical MD, but without the training.

                  2. “For me there are only treatments that work and treatments that don’t.
                    Treatments that work are ipso facto part of classical medicine.”

                    “If you strip naturopathy of treatments that don’t work and strictly
                    apply only treatments that do work you are working ipso facto as a
                    classical MD, but without the training.”


                  3. Jonathan another thing I noticed: You “identify cancer” and inform patients. Coincidentially I work as scientist in the field of oncology. This sentence highlights the problems with NDs like nothing else. Identifying cancer is the task of specialized MDs b/c it is not a trivial task. The same goes for telling the patient. Why ? Cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease with very varying outcomes. I don’t think a PCP MD has the proper knowledge to be capable to communicate the fine points to the patient, much less an ND.

                  4. Scientific medicine is not perfect. This blog is not a scientific endeavor. You sure like to toss science around like you know what you’re talking about.

            3. A further note on “naturopathic medicine emphasizes
              “right force” and safety of interventions given the cost/benefit in the
              given context.” This argument is a red herring. The same applies to *any* medical treatment. The problem with naturopathic treatments is that naturopaths often treat quite serious diseases with treatments that are not tested, not effective and in many cases not even plausible. In that sense the argument with antibiotics used to treat bronchitis is invalid since this is *not* state of the art medicine.

              The main weakness in your argumentation is the argument that naturopathy is about a naturopathic philosophy. Actually this is also something naturopathy has to get rid of. Either you do the optimal treatment or you do not. If this treatment requires seeing the patient as a whole, a good classical medical doctor will also adhere to that. If it does not require that, a holistic approach is waste of ressources.

              If one strips naturopathy of all that, only the classical medical approaches remain.

            4. The TL:DR version of that is that you’d tell them to get treatment from their doctor then drink hot tea to suppress the cough. You may not be doing active harm, but I’m failing to see what you are doing that’s useful or necessary…

              This ultimately is the problem. You offer nothing except a shoulder to cry on for people who aren’t getting the support they want from their normal doctors. And this exactly refers back to something you say in your post:

              “Despite the evidence based recommendation against antibiotic treatment
              for viral bronchitis, plenty of “well trained” conventional providers
              will prescribe antibiotics.
              I ask you why, in the context of the MD hero of Scientific Medicine is this happening?”

              I’ll tell you why: because patients are pushy and demand the doctor DO SOMETHING. So doctors are worn down by patients who think they know better. If you really do have friends/family who are proper family doctors, you would know that.

              And this is where the naturopaths fit in and why what they do, even if not harmful, is still unethical. Because you’re charging for placebos. You’re charging to give uninformed patients what they want and demand rather than what they need. You’re charging to be a shoulder to cry on.

              I fully admit this is a problem with modern medical practice – the lack of time available to doctors and nurses to support every patient through their illnesses. But this does not give you the right to do what you do.

              This is why people are against naturopathy: because it’s a scam preying on the vulnerable.

            5. So…I have to ask after all of this, why not just be an MD instead of an ND? What to NDs offer that MDs don’t, given that apparently, many MDs practice naturopathically without even knowing it? I’ve certainly never had an MD object to my drinking hot tea when I have a cough. (And I do love my strong peppermint tea with honey when I have a cough!) Does that mean all my doctors have been crypto-naturopaths?

              As far as the argument of having more PCPs, I agree that many people seeking medical care don’t necessarily require someone with as much training as an MD. But that’s where nurse practitioners can fit in. Why do we need naturopaths? What do they offer that conventional medical professionals don’t or that can’t be worked in to the training of conventional medical professionals quite easily (if it isn’t already)?

        6. ‘Vaccination is a primary care modality that works and is naturopathic-
          what is more natural than using one’s own immune system to prevent
          Agreed, a lot of “alternative” type people criticize mainstream medicine for only treating the symptoms, etc. – and then they reject vaccinations, which are a really good method of prevention!

        7. There is nothing uniquely naturopathic about vaccination, Jonathan–it’s been an integral part of evidence based medicine for more than a century. Claiming it’s naturopathic is simply another attempt by naturopaths to co-opt successful science-based standard of care interventions such as exercise and nutrition.

    5. Even with vaccines, a child (or adult) can get pertussis. Please let us know what your advice as a naturopathic doctor would be when faced with a case of whooping cough.

    6. There it is again; puffing yourself up with “Naturopathic Doctors” where no capital letters are called for, as if to imply you were some sort of distinguished tribe of people. Get over it. Applying dubious treatments in uncontrolled experiments is toying with people’s lives. At the very least, that would require an MD with a PhD adequately versed in toxicology and with consent forms and protocols for clinical trials for the prescription of unapproved drugs. But thanks to a powerful lobby group, many of them from multilevel marketing companies in the Sate of Utah where dietary supplements put millions of dollars into State coffers every month of every year, you have the Dietary Supplement Health and Education act of 1994, which effectively allows naturopaths to prescribe, sell, and promote unapproved drugs under the guise of “foods”. For some reason, herbalists in the U.S. are not legally allowed to, whereas naturopaths can. Yet, neither group is sufficiently educated in human pathology to do so.

    7. Jonathan, it is good that you as ND encourage parents to vaccinate. However, modern medicine is science driven, therefore modern medicine can not support NDs, A large number of NDs practice quackery, and this practice is caused by their education. With all respect, but the curriculum of NDs is one of the most unscientific I ever saw. NDs in general are incapable to see this pseudoscience otherwise they would not swallow it.

    8. I truly am glad that you support the vaccine schedule and that your approval apparently gives “alternative” types the permission they need to keep their children safer and healthier. That is a good thing you are doing and credit goes where it is due.

      But, I’m sorry, that doesn’t make naturopathic medicine a legitimate medical system. It’s not about being unkind, it’s just about facing facts. Honestly, I would love it if naturopathic medicine weren’t bogus–just think of all the things I could cure with diet and supplements! Food is way more fun than most medicine. But there is no credible evidence that supports it.

    9. To quote from a commentator from Science-based medicine:

      Nobody said all NDs are anti-vaccine. It’s been said that most NDs are anti-vaccine. There are some research studies to back up this claim:

      -Wilson, K. (1 March 2005). “Characteristics of Pediatric and Adolescent Patients Attending a Naturopathic College Clinic in Canada”. Pediatrics 115(3): e338–e343. doi:10.1542/peds.2004-1901.

      -Busse, Jason W.; Wilson, Kumanan; Campbell, James B. (November 2008). “Attitudes towards vaccination among chiropractic and naturopathic students”. Vaccine 26 (49): 6237–6243. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.07.020.

      -Wilson, Kumanan; Mills, Ed; Boon, Heather; Tomlinson, George; Ritvo, Paul (January 2004). “A survey of attitudes towards paediatric vaccinations amongst Canadian naturopathic students”. Vaccine 22 (3-4): 329–334. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2003.08.014.

      Edit: The British Columbia Naturopathic Association has an epically weak stance on childhood vaccinations:

      “Given the pros and cons of the current vaccine schedule, the philosophical differences between primary care offered by NDs and MDs, and the concerns as outlined above, it is not possible to summarize a uniform position on vaccines shared by all naturopathic physicians.”

      The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors does not seem to have a public document regarding its stance on vaccinations.

      From Taylor at

      1. …and those research studies that you cite are outdated and are based on surveyed students, not practicing primary care NDs. Have you scientists heard of a concept called “Confirmation Bias”?

        1. If you take a random sample of 10 naturopathic websites. Which i did. All of them promoted nonscientific methods that you seem to speak out against. Such as homeopathy, live blood analysis etc.
          So it seems like you are in the minority. It seems as if naturopaths wish to be MD but cannot in most places. However when they get the right to be a PCP like yoursoelf, then some do forego what they know was to be garbage in the first place. Then they try to practice like an MD, without the training? This does not seem like a good answer. Again how is it that a naturoapth with no exposure to hospitalized patients and rare diseases is able to practice as a PCP physiciin after 4 years, yet an MD who even you would have to agree gets more intense and complete training, still requires 3 more years?

          1. David, has got a point. At least I actually cited something to back up my point. Have you got at least surveys to back up your point? After all if you don’t have any evidence, it looks like you are the one suffering from confirmation basis. You can’t just rely on your experience. The reason, I cited those student surveys in a quote is that was a quick way to get all the information I can find on the matter. I actually can’t find surveys with NDs out of school. This is the best evidence that I could find so don’t you dare judge me for judging on the best available evidence. Go ahead google “naturopath survey vaccines”. Do you see better evidence?

            I know, how about we randomly pick 500 NDs, and ask them to take surveys on vaccines? And let’s see what happens? It would be best for trained scientists to do that one.

            Ok. David, or anyone else, care to participate in a completely amateur survey? Ok. As amateurs let’s do a easy one… Um, I think we can manage at least 25 NDs at best 50.

            The rules: you are to pick a RANDOM ND(no one you know).

            You are not to tell the the true aim of this study.

            You are to ask kindly if they will particulate in the survey about vaccines. You are to record their name, country, and their email address, phone number, skype or whatever.

            The questions:

            1. Do you believe vaccines to be effective?
            YES/NO/DON’T KNOW

            2. Do you believe that in general, the risk for vaccines outweigh the benefits?
            YES/NO/DON’T KNOW

            3. Are vaccines dangerous?
            YES/NO/DON’T KNOW

            4. Is it true that in general, a person can receive too much vaccines at once?
            YES/NO/DON’T KNOW

            5. Do vaccines cause:(Say yes to all that apply)
            -sudden infant death syndrome
            -multiple Sclerosis

            -shaken baby syndrome
            -vaccinosis or chronic vaccine disease

            Record their answers.

            Ok, Searching “find a naturopathic doctor + (my country)” into google. Clicked a find a naturopath website(Australian Natural Therapists Association).Thank goodness for phones, I actually am no where near them!

            Ok, I found:

            Mrs Rabia Saraya
            Remedial Therapy, Naturopathy
            Phone: [REDACTED]
            view site

            Mrs Yvonne Seton
            Phone: [REDACTED]
            view site

            Mrs Lorena Valeri
            Phone: [REDACTED]
            view site

            This is going to take some time.

            1. I love this idea. I am actually working on a design of a similar survey of ND practice advertizing online. If you write to Britt at [email protected], ask her to forward the email to me. Perhaps we can work together.

              I redacted the addresses and phone numbers you posted. You may link to websites, but please do not post personally identifying information.

              1. Sorry about that. Did not know that it was not ok to post those things. I am far to busy with school to do such a thing. Sorry.

              2. Um, it would be easy to ring up 100 NDs(make sure they are actually credited NDs so the CAM folks have one less argument to complain with) and ring up 100 MDs and ask them their 5 most important tips for preventing dietetics.

                +2 points for at least a systematic review support
                +1 point for pretty good evidence(I’ll leave what constitutes as “pretty good” evidence to you)
                -1 point for insufficient evidence(preliminary, small sample size etc)
                -2 points for pretty good evidence for harm

                -3 points for systematic review of harm

                First we should define what “pretty good” evidence means.’
                Do the survey.
                Graph it.

            2. None of them wanted to take the survey. Mrs Lorena Valeri especially freaked out, by just freazing and hanging up.

    10. I would love to see naturopaths all take usmle 1-3. But I think you should also agree not to work until you pass

  29. If I had known about this when she was doing it, I would have called CPS. That is child abuse. Her husband is a coward and a failure as a father.

    1. The mother is clearly and obviously beyond all hope and I doubt anything could possibly convince her she is wrong. The father, however, is not a lost cause.

      I hope he sees these messages and the next time something like this happens (and with 3 kids it’s a sad fact that there will be a next time when some serious illness affects at least one of them) that he trusts his own instincts and takes the action he knows is right to do the best for his children.

      1. Yes, I agree. I wish I knew him and could support him in any efforts he may make to step up and act like a responsible, loving father! Or to bitch-slap him if he didn’t make such efforts…

          1. If he starts a Kickstarter to raise money for a good divorce lawyer, I’ll contribute.

    2. Apparently, he’s as ignorant of the dangers as the mother, err, excuse me, Board Certified NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR.

  30. I wonder if as these kids grow up and are exposed to mainstream knowledge outside of Mama’s delusional influence they’re going to come to understand what she really did to them?

    They were fortunate enough to survive but the lifelong medical and psychological consequences don’t look promising.

    1. I’d put money on at least one of those kids, if not all, having some serious beef with Mom down the road. That’s an experience that could traumatize children for years down the road, completely leaving aside the possible damage to their lungs.

      Of course, they’re homeschooled so they might not actually have much exposure to the world outside of their mother’s cultish thinking. (No teachers, no doctors, basically no mandated reporters in their lives, hurrah!) But they have to grow up and meet the real world some time. I have observed that raising children with such monopolistic parental control over every aspect of their lives–both their medical non-care and their education is squarely in the hands of Mom–and in accordance with such strict dogma, whether religious or otherwise, rarely seems to result in particularly harmonious relationships between parents and children once those children grow up.

      1. According to another site, veterinarians are mandated reporters, and her father the veterinarian should have (but didn’t) report her as required by law. So, there was at least one mandated reporter in their life, who failed those children (I don’t know if ND’s are licensed in her state, but I would think they are also mandated reporters….if so, then there are a total of 3 mandated reporters who failed these children.) What about the gymnastics teacher–that is another potential mandated reporter who failed these children. Not to mention common sense…..she was taking these children out in public with whooping cough and infecting others, mandated reporting or not, did nobody care enough to report and help these children after they talked to the mother and realized the mother would let them die before she’d take them to a doctor? These children weren’t isolated, as such, there were many people in their lives who failed to help them.

      2. According to another site, veterinarians are mandated reporters, and her father the veterinarian should have (but didn’t) report her as required by law. So, there was at least one mandated reporter in their life, who failed those children (I don’t know if ND’s are licensed in her state, but I would think they are also mandated reporters….if so, then there are a total of 3 mandated reporters who failed these children.) What about the gymnastics teacher–that is another potential mandated reporter who failed these children. Not to mention common sense…..she was taking these children out in public with whooping cough and infecting others, mandated reporting or not, did nobody care enough to report and help these children after they talked to the mother and realized the mother would let them die before she’d take them to a doctor? These children weren’t isolated, as such, there were many people in their lives who failed to help them.

    1. The whole disturbing story is back up and running. If her site is like Dr. Mercola’s any constructive criticisms one might go to the trouble of posting will be blocked, whether you have scientific references for the evidence to back them up or not.

  31. Reminds me of the time that a friend of a friend posted that she was treating her infant son’s croup with organic juices and sleeping beside him to make sure he could breathe. She didn’t ant to take him to a doctor who would ‘pump him full of antibiotics’.
    Having been through a couple of croup episodes with my baby, I was horrified. She is a herbalism student at a local college of natural therapies. I was still horrified but not surprised.

    1. Pump him full of antibiotics?!? We’ve done the croup thing a few times. If/when the steamy shower doesn’t work in just a few minutes, it’s off to the ER thank you very much. It’s amazing how quickly and effectively steroids can work… Sheesh.

  32. I’m glad she triumphed over absolutely nothing. She acts as if she was the one suffering

    1. Her natural treatments resulted in her children recovering over the same period of time children who receive no treatment whatsoever recover, and she interprets that as a triumph. I can’t wait to hear about similar naturopathic ‘triumphs’ over cancer, where the naturopathicly treated patients survive just as long as those left untreated.

    2. I do believe she really was suffering. It has to be terrible to see your children go through that. It’s just that her dogma was even more powerful than her horror of seeing her children suffer and that is terrifying. Nothing good has ever come of people putting ideology before human beings.

  33. And to add to everything that has already been a this study just came out which found that children who contract pertussis have an increased risk of developing epilepsy.

    If the mechanism for increased risk suggested by the researchers (brain damage from lack of oxygen during extended coughing fits) is correct, then the kids in this piece who (were having symptoms for twice as long as kids who take antibiotics for pertussis) are probably at even greater risk.

  34. I could not imagine what these poor children went through without treatment. I suffered whooping cough for about 60 days at the age of 15 before being diagnosed and then having the appropriate medication. (I would like to point out I reacted sevearly to the immunisation and could not be immunised). For these children, it should also be known that whooping cough is considered to be contagious until treated correctly and therefore she could have been infecting everyone her children came into contact with. This mother should also consider the fact that this can kill you. What if it was one of her elderly family members or a newborn who contracted it, the likelihood of survival without fast treatment is very slim, hence the treatment is available for a good reason.

    1. I am planning to write a book containing a character who can’t be vaccinated. So what’s that like? I am asking so I don’t accidentally misrepresent the people who can’t actually be vaccinated in the story.

  35. This woman is a hazard to herself, her children, an her community. She should absolutely lose her parental rights, and those kids should be examined by a doctor to evaluate the long term damage her witch doctoring has done to their lungs.

  36. This is plain wrong. I’m not sure what she’s trying to achieve in risking the health of her children. 5 months is too long and she should have just swallowed her pride and go to a doctor. I’ve started reading about naturopathy like it’s got some great points but it should not go against proven treatment.

    1. Quote from their website: “And lastly, contrary to what most people think, they also use
      scientifically-proven systems in herbs, drugs, exercise, vitamins and
      minerals.” Note the term scientifically proven. Quote from the review I cited below: “Nine [out of roughly 1000] plants had considerable evidence of therapeutic effect, viz., A.
      officinalis, Calendula officinalis, Centella asiatica, E. purpurea,
      Passiflora incarnata, Punica granatum, Vaccinium macrocarpon, Vaccinium
      myrtillus, Valeriana officinalis.”. A quote from their website regarding homeopathy: “It is effective in treating several health conditions like headache,
      back pain, anxiety attacks, menstrual troubles, migraines, kidney
      stones, urinary troubles, infertility etc. Homeopathy is best suited for
      allergies, inflammatory and painful conditions and chronic diseases.”. Homeopathy is not efficient in any of these conditions beyond the placebo effect and some conditions (e.g. inflammation and kidney stones) can get quite nasty if not treated early and properly.

  37. Is it possible to call child protective services and have the children removed from her custody?

  38. I can’t seem to find someone among all the blogs bashing this lady who knows the answer to this– does anyone know if she or her husband caught the disease as well?

      1. You’d think she would’ve mentioned it with how honest she was about her kids. And you’d think they would’ve caught it within the span of all three of their children’s sicknesses with how long it lasted. It would be interesting to know what each of their history is with pertussis. Whether they were vaccinated as children (I think it’s safe to say they definitely haven’t been vaccinated as adults), or whether they acquired natural immunity and when that might have been. I wish the original post of hers was up so I could ask her.

        1. Yeah, statistically most likely they WERE vaccinated as children, which even with waning effectiveness they didn’t catch the disease, which shows the effectiveness of vaccines.Obvious to everyone else, but themselves.

  39. This woman needs to be put in jail… Her children could have died. Couldn’t that be considered attempted murder as well as child endangerment?

    1. One wonders how much they can do with a self report from a year ago. But if they were to go out and interview her (as they should) and be a little cagey about it, playing to her ego, they might generate a case. If there are any other parties who had knowledge of what transpired and would answer truthfully, she’d have a real problem. If her two older kids were interviewed, she could have a serious problem.

      Many have stated that CPS was called. Anybody get any sort of response or hear of action taken?

  40. Hi Britt (I hope you are doing well in Germany),

    I would just like to publicly state that although this “Naturopath” (who did not graduate from an accredited school) is apparently willing to let her children suffer through Pertussis, that does not mean that the rest of us would make the same choice. As a naturopathic physician who specializes in pediatrics, I will state firmly and emphatically that I would NEVER allow this to happen to my patients. First, because I strongly support the pertussis vaccine (Montana is a hotbed for pertussis), and secondly because I swab every potential pertussis case and prescribe antibiotics appropriately.

    Though I know you disagree, this is exactly the case that most of us make for licensure. If she was a licensed naturopathic physician she would lose her license for doing such an irresponsible thing.

    Sigh. Even as a naturopathic physician I know that there is a time and a place for conventional medicine. Steroids and antibiotics can save a lifetime of lung damage. They just need to be used sparingly and appropriately! Not to mention the fact that getting pertussis does not convey lifelong immunity…they could end up back in the same boat in a few years.

    1. Although you seem like even one of the more reasonable naturopaths out there…I still find it infuriating that you think you know better?!? You still feel that it is ok to do vaccinations on a delayed schedule. So all the doctors and scientists at Harvard, Hopkins, WHO, CDC, etc. ….they are all wrong?
      They are all in big pharmas pockets. All these great minds who work in the field have all been corrupted by big pharma. They are all too stupid to know it. But you and other naturopaths who go to some hokey school (I can guarantee you could not get into Harvard medical school) have figured it all out?

      1. Ummmm, I said none of those things. But that is a very good way to set up a Straw Man. 😉

        You are correct on one point, though – I do vaccinate on an alternate schedule (and delayed schedule if parents request it). There is one very simple reason for this: in my town most MD pediatricians refuse to allow unvaccinated or partially vaccinated patients in their practice. In my opinion most “vaccine-hesitant” parents if given the choice between all vaccines or no vaccines will choose NO vaccines. I would rather welcome these families into my office, discuss vaccines thoroughly and get these kids started on some vaccines rather than none at all. Many times parents are willing to start with 1 or 2 vaccines, and once everything goes well are more inclined to continue with all the CDC recommended vaccines. I get a lot of criticism for having a number of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in my practice, but remember there is an enormous selection bias in play. Many, many families are willing to let me vaccinate their children simply because I am a naturopathic physician.

        There are many, many naturopathic physicians like myself who quietly go about our business of primary care for children and vaccinate kids on a daily basis. Because it doesn’t really make for very exciting journalism, I think it goes unnoticed.

        1. Do you disclose to patients who have an immunodeficiency or other serious condition that your practice has a high proportion of unvaccinated patients who could act as vectors of disease transmission and cause things to get really serious really fast at a much higher probability than other practices? Why do you think us medical doctors do not tolerate anti-vax patients? I heard about a couple of lawsuits regarding these situations, and I’ll try and find more information.

          In my questions above, I forgot to ask if you practice any kind of homeopathy. Do you?

          1. Currently I do not have any seriously immune compromised patients, but I will do that, thank you.

            No, I do not practice homeopathy. Or, I guess I should truthfully state that I extremely rarely practice homeopathy. Sadly when I do recommend a homeopathic remedy it usually works! (Irony!)

            1. I remember the issue being more than just patients with known issues. Often times, patients do not know they have a condition which would leave them more vulnerable. With bacterial and viral sequencing now, particular strains can be traced directly back to individuals who transmitted the pathogen. That means if a bunch of un-vaccinated kids are in your waiting room and grandma takes her grandson in for a visit, and she catches something from an un-vaccinated kid, you could be liable because you helped create the higher concentration of disease carriers, or something like that. I’d stop letting parents delay or put up a sign that says there are patients in this practice who are un-vaccinated, so enter at your own risk. That would be the honest thing to do.

            2. I find it amazing that a supposed “primary care physician” has no immune compromised patients. You must have the healthiest patient panel in the world!

            3. The power of placebo! Perhaps NDs do have a place in science-based medicine for encouraging the um.. (trying to find a non-insulting way to call them) those deep into woo to use scientifically supported medicine.

              Hey, when it comes to non-medically recognized diseases like adrenal fatigue. Perhaps you can help guide those sufferers to a medically recognized diagnosis so they can get effective treatment(well, that depends on how well researched the diagnosis is) for their illness.

        2. I know you vaccinate on a delayed schedule and that is why I was asking how you think you know better than all the research. Do you know how to critically read papers ?

        3. Jimmy Med has a point, it’s a great idea to keep vulnerable patients away from the unvaccinated. Good work for encouraging “vaccine-hesitant” parents to vaccinate. You are doing good. Wish all NDs were to be like you.

          We are just being skeptical( using Socrates’ method), I hope we didn’t hurt your feelings or disrespect you.

        4. I agree, any vaccines are better than no vaccines. Thank you for doing your part to encourage reluctant vaccinators.

    2. And for naturopaths policing their own—that is so untrue as well. Anytime a naturopath or chiropractor mistreats one of my patients or interferes with the standard of care treatment they are receiving, I immediately write a letter to your colleges. Nothing ever comes of it.

      1. The colleges really have nothing to do with licensure, David. You would want to contact the licensing body for your state. Though the polite thing to do would be to contact the physician directly and state why you believe they have interfered with your treatment. (That goes both ways, the ND should be communicating with you as well.)

        1. David is probably talking about the reporting to the licensing bodies in Canadian provinces, which are called colleges. I’d say that any ND regulatory board go big-time easy on violators that would otherwise be cast aside by a true medical board.

          Two examples:

          There is an ND in Alaska, Emily Kane, who was illegally dishing out HUNDREDS of prescriptions to her patients while she had already been warned by the state health department years prior that this was clearly out of her scope. She was told by the ND board to simply stop:

          There is the ND in Washington, John Catanzaro, who was making bogus cancer vaccines and selling them to his patients. He garnered a huge following despite, well, being an ND and not knowing anything about the molecular biology and immunology of vaccine manufacturing, and charging his patients thousands and thousands of dollars and calling it research. He got a one year suspension, and a fine of $5,000, plus, repayment of a total of $180,750 to ten patients. This was his second offense of giving out outright bogus substances, for which he was fined $1,500 in 2007. Catanzaro is back practicing.

          There are many other examples of NDs going easy on themselves, probably because they have very little understanding of medical standards, science, research ethics, or the law. Have you read Britt’s posts on

          I find it really frustrating that seemingly nice NDs, like yourself just don’t call complete bullshit on most, like 95%, of the profession. SO MUCH good could come from this if more had the courage like Britt to say, “I’m out” and proceed to critically evaluate what you were taught and subsequently do in practice.

          I mean, how do you know that you are competent at what you do? You went to an alternative “medical” school and took a naturopathic licensing exam? Could you pass any other real medical licensing exam? Did you do a medical residency of at least three years? Why do you not encourage your patients to get on track with vaccines? Do you tell all of them that their fears are misguided? Do you advocate for science and comfort their anxiety by telling them its okay, the vaccines will overwhelmingly help society and their baby?

          I really hope you answer, and I hope you understand that I am being genuine and mean to come across as polite and respectful.

          1. I agree, how can a naturopath think they are trained to be a PCP. They never step foot in a hospital, they never see sick patients and are taught by other naturopaths. Cardiology is taught by a naturopath, ophthalmology is taught by a naturopath. It is ridiculous. So what if you have read stuff in books or know how to use up to date. Somehow you know in 4 years what an md PCP learns in 7. Not only that, yiu also know all about homeopathy, herbs, flowers, vibrations, magic etc. even more telling is that when an md goes into practice at the beginning they are terrified because they have seen so many diseases and things that can go wrong. Whereas a naturopath with such limited training is bring it on…oh and maybe I will be a pediatric naturopathy or a cancer naturopath

          2. I appreciate your respectful response. I think I will limit my response to this one post, because I fear I have taken over the comments section in Britt’s blog here. Britt is a friend of mine, and I respect her deeply, even though I (quite obviously) don’t agree with her.

            I’ll try to answer as many as I can here:

            1) David – I am a PCP, but I am never claiming to be an MD or be “as good as an MD.” Primary care in my office is limited to my scope of practice – I see well children and adults for well-child/well-woman exams, I see kids and adults for coughs, ear infections, etc., I do naturopathic adjunctive care for patients with other conditions like asthma, depression, IBD, etc. That means that anything out of my scope of practice I will refer to a MD for. Asthma patients are co-managed by an allergist, depression patients usually by a PCP, IBD by a gastroenterologist, etc., (unless they are stable and I can manage it myself). I would never try to manage critical conditions myself. I refer early and often to make sure I don’t miss anything. Of course there is always the chance that I would miss something, but that can happen to all health professionals, we are not perfect. (Diabetic patient in my office this morning had 0/9 sensory testing for her diabetic foot check. She had never been tested by her PCP before! Instead she was prescribed Requip for “Restless Leg Syndrome.” Poor woman now has horrible neuropathy that was never diagnosed. I’m not even seeing her for diabetes! And I’m the one who told her she needs to start taking her Metformin again!)

            2) I don’t do “vibrations, magic, etc.” That would be your local Shaman. I also don’t do homeopathy regularly (see my other comment). Again, that’s a good way to set up a Straw Man argument, though. I do regularly use herbs, vitamins and nutrients in my office though. Many have excellent research supporting them. Some have never been researched but I see good clinical effects. (Much like many MD’s prescribe medications off-label.)

            3) I do encourage my patients to get caught up on vaccines. At least in regards to age and risk-factor. (I admit, I prioritize vaccines for diseases which these kids are actually likely to encounter, like tetanus and pertussis, and catch them up on the other vaccines, like polio, a bit later.) I do discuss that research has unequivocally stated that there is no link between autism and the MMR vaccine. And that there is no longer thimerosal in vaccines (and that MMR never had thimerosal in the first place). We usually spend a lot of time discussing the favorite internet myth of the day. (Lately the “Whistleblower” fiasco.) We discuss the findings from the JAMA article (Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States). Many patients erroneously believe that vaccines have nothing to do with decreasing mortality, that it is all due to “better hygiene.” (The JAMA article is great at refuting that.) Ironically, many patients in my office decide to vaccinate simply because I’m the first physician who took the time to explain what these vaccines do, why we do them, and what the risks are.

            4) Phew, this is getting long. Lots of fallacies in the arguments above, guys. My education is worthless because the teachers are not MD’s or have published research – I believe that would be appeal to questionable authority. Citing John Catanzaro and Emily Kane – that would be Cherry Picking. Same thing with the Alt Med Review article. I can give you lots of examples of high-quality research, but that would also be cherry picking if we want to! Now you just have to accuse me of Argument to moderation and we’ll be all set 😉

            Anyways, that will be all. I appreciate the respectful discussion, I really do. And best of luck to you, Britt, I really mean that. (But I still want to continue my practice, thank you.)

            1. Erika,

              I see you are trying to show us that you have read up on critical thinking and how to identify logical fallacies. That’s great!

              The others who have commented are not as guilty of the fallacies of which you try to accuse them as you are of “knocking down the straw man.” No one said that your education at Bastyr was worthless because the instructors do not have academic experience or a dismal publishing record. Those shortcomings present in the faculty of Bastyr are indicative of a poor system of teaching medicine. Your doctorate of naturopathy is worth something, but it is just small in value compared to a doctorate of medicine. That is all Thomas Mohr seems to be saying.

              Think of it this way: could a faculty member at Bastyr get an academic job teaching their “medical” specialty at any other medical institution? I do not mean an ND teaching ND topics at med. school. I mean an ND teaching gasteroenterology at a medical school. This is an easy litmus test, and it proves the point that Bastyr and the other accredited schools are not capable of teaching medicine, whether you call it “primary care” or “physician-level.”

              With respect to cherry picking, technically you are correct. Practically though, Thomas was highlighting the absurdity of alternative medicine as it tries to be scientific. He was not trying to represent all of alt-med research. There is some that is better than that, but probably none of it would be accepted in a journal with a respectable impact factor. Why do you think that is?

              NDs are really bad at regulating themselves. Britt wrote about this in Arizona, so perhaps she will revisit that topic and cover the issue with a broader scope of analysis.

              You are comparing the thin and absent evidence for supplements with off-label prescribing? That is just really ignoring the fact that real clinical studies support some off-label prescribing and so does scientific plausibility, not to mention Rx drugs have known safety dosages and contraindications. Herbs are like giving a person hundreds of pharmaceutical compounds with no concern for dosing, because the amounts of active compounds can change for every single one of them from factors related to geography and environmental fluctuations. For herbs, there is also a lack of concern for understanding of effects that all of these compounds could have. Most herbs are shown not to work, and are often more expensive than prescription drugs.

              About your use of homeopathy, you cannot actually know if it works when you give it to a patient. Because you give out homeopathy and think it has worked for you, you also are unaware of the strong scientific consensus that homeopathy is nothing more than a sugar pill and that you are suffering from a confirmation bias, magical thinking, and special pleading. You can literally just go through a ritual of dropping water under a patient’s tongue and get the same placebo effect as homeopathy. Now, that being said, placebo effects are not really medicine. They are not going to help someone overcome diverticulitis or cancer. Regression to the mean might, so you could also just do nothing instead of giving homeopathy.

              You seem like a nice person, Erika. But you are not aware of your own limitations and think too highly of your naturopathic training. Please start sticking to the real medicine for the sake of your patients, whom I can only assume you dearly want to help.

              1. “Your doctorate of naturopathy is worth something, but it is just small in value compared to a doctorate of medicine.” Exactly. However, given the importance of PCPs (see Daniels post bout misdiagnosing an aneurism (!!!!)) the question remains why naturopaths are PCPs taking into account the quality of education.

              2. Quote: “Think of it this way: could a faculty member at Bastyr get an academic
                job teaching their “medical” specialty at any other medical institution?
                I do not mean an ND teaching ND topics at med. school. I mean an ND
                teaching gasteroenterology at a medical school. This is an easy litmus
                test, and it proves the point that Bastyr and the other accredited
                schools are not capable of teaching medicine, whether you call it
                “primary care” or “physician-level.”” Exactly. In Europe, a PhD can be obtained in following ways: Either you do a research project, or you submit 2-3 papers published in peer reviewed journals (plus taking the classes, of course). The so-called venia docendi, (i.e. the permsssion to teach at university as an associate professor) takes another 2-3 papers. Given the abysmal reserach record of Bastyr, I estimate that at least 50% of the faculty of Bastyr would not be able to fulfill the criteria for a PhD at a European university, much less the criteria for even an assistant or associate professor. At Bastyr these people are chairs of Departments.

            2. I’m sorry, but if you need to refer out asthma, IBD, and depression, you’re not a primary care physician. These a Primary Care 101. You’re doing well-person physicals and treating the sniffles? What’s your point, then? There is a vast array of literature that shows the general uselessness of the annual physical, and most cases of the sniffles are viral, and you can’t do anything other than wait it out. You encourage vaccines, but do you actually administer them?

              All you’re doing is adding to the already very expensive health care tab of this country.

              1. There’s one simple reason for this: in Montana I have very limited access to pharmaceuticals.

                Yes, I administer them myself.

                1. I’m reading this as an admission you can’t provide adequate healthcare because you lack necessary tools (access to pharmaceuticals). Wouldn’t the solution be completing the requirements necessary to receive access to those pharmaceuticals (i.e., getting a degree in and being licensed by Montana to practice medicine?)

            3. With all Respect, Erika; but “but I am never claiming to be an MD or be “as good as an MD.” Primary care in my office is limited to my scope of practice” is only half ot the truth. In your website your childrens program includes autism and cancer. I highly doubt that you are competent counsel in either disease. Remember, I am a biotechnologist in cancer reserach with 20+ years experience and I have seen it all. In fact your point 4) is very revealing in the sense that apparently you do not grasp that lack of scientific experience is *not* an appeal to authority. For a teacher to be able to teach a subject a prerequisite is to display competence in this subject. At University level that means having done research. Your reply in fact reinforces my previous quote of Dunning et. al. Finally, if you really have high quality reserach, hic Rhodos, hic salta ! i.o.W. come forward and stand the scrutiny of science.

            4. I probably should point out what I mean with competent counseling. I don’t know if you known how a treatment team in pediatric oncology is composed. You have the surgeon (in case of a solid tumor), the oncologist and the psychooncologist plus a few further specialists if required (e.g. an immunologist). The key player in counseling in this case is the psychooncologist. In Europe there are several ways to enter that profession. *All* require a doctorate in medicine or psychology (6 years) plus 3 years residence plus 3 years specialized training in psychology or psychiatry plus training in psychooncology plus licensing in psychooncology. Now compare this to Bastyrs curriculum and the qualification of the faculty.

            5. The minutes of ND regulatory boards and the state disciplinary records show, at most, a handful of naturopathic doctors have been disciplined by ND boards for something other than their own drug abuse, for improper sexual conduct or for over prescribing marijuana. Statistically, you would expect to find more than a couple hundred malpractice lawsuits.
              Even when there was a $400,000 wrongful death judgement in Washington, that Nd received zero discipline.

            6. Re Cherry-picking & research output. A quick survey of pubmed with the keyword bastyr[ad] shows 16 publications with a cumulative impact factor of around 30 (for 2014). Two publications are in Journals that could be considered top-journals in their field (ranking in the top 25% impact factor wise). Neither the first nor the last author of these publications is listed as affiliated with Bastyr. In one publication, the only author affiliated with bastyr is listed as having conceived and planned the experiments (no practical work, no paper writing, no analyzing). The same goes for the second top-paper. I would really be interested in the high quality research you can presumably present.

            7. Hi Erika! Sorry I am late to the discussion. I have been following the thread, but distracted by other tasks. First, thanks for taking the time to comment, Erika. It is so great to have you here. We graduated together and therefore received the same exact training. When NDs chime in from other schools, countries, and graduating classes, it is hard to assess all their arguments and points because the education and training of NDs is not consistent. If you would like more room to make a point, you are welcome to write a post for this blog at any time.

              I think you brought up an interesting point, Erika. You are vaccinating the children of vaccine-hesitant parents. Maybe these children would not receive vaccines otherwise. But then again, maybe they would vaccinate on schedule if there was no acceptable alternative vaccine schedule available. I think it is hard to say for sure that parents would not vaccinate at all.

              The point made about you, and other NDs, creating a niche environment of under-vaccinated and therefore vulnerable patients is very interesting. Informing patients that there are potentially walking into an infectious disease zone is very important. Once, in AZ, an ND thought a patient contracted measles. An ND there had a cancer practice. If the pt really did have measles, it would have been a shit-show for the office. Thankfully, it was a drug reaction, and not an infectious disease. Strangely, this scare did not change the ND’s protocol regarding unvaccinated pts sitting in the waiting room with his very sick and vulnerable cancer patients. Another time in WA we thought a pt had pertussis. A pregnant mom had been in the clinic that day around the same time as the sick, coughing child. In this example, there were not immunocompromised pts around, but vulnerable pts, like pregnant women. I think NDs should think about these infectious scenarios more carefully.

              I’ve never made the point that a Bastyr professor, or graduate, could not get hired at a medical school or hospital, but I wish I had. This is a great point and litmus test, as Jimmy Med calls it. Of course an ND cannot work in these real medical environments; the ND training does not adequately prepare an ND to teach (or practice) medicine.

              Erika, while you are very clear in stating that our training is not as good as an MDs, and that you need to refer out primary care medical cases for proper management, many of our colleagues claim otherwise. You probably remember as well as I do from practice management rehearsing our elevator speeches. We practiced using phrases like primary care, just like medical doctors, all the same training…. we are taught in school to talk about our profession as though it is on-par with that of medical doctors. Most NDs continue to spew this misinformation to the public and their patients. Not only are NDs misrepresenting their training by using these phrases, they are potentially placing their pts lives at risk if a pt assumes that an ND could handle an emergency situation just like an MD. An ND would be way out of her league in almost all emergencies.

              You probably also remember many of our colleagues talking about whether or not they will apply to any residency positions. Common comments I heard from our fellow classmates were, “I don’t think I need a residency,” “I don’t want to work so hard for so little pay,” “You learn while practicing anyway, so I might as well work for myself while I am learning.” Many graduates feel that they do not need residencies to be competent naturopaths. This is just nuts.

              Lastly, until the group kindly kicked me out, you and I were part of a very small Facebook group of naturopaths who were in favor of vaccination. I will never forget Eric Yarnell’s message that prompted the formation of group. It was something along the lines of, “I am so tired of being villainized by my colleagues for being pro-vaccine.” As a result, a small group was formed for the NDs who believed in vaccination so they could discuss vaccine-related topics in privacy and not be ridiculed by all the other anti-vaccine NDs. If I remember correctly, there were about 12 NDs in the group. Hopefully there are more now. My point is, while pro-vaccine NDs show up on this blog, you (and Bell) are the minority. And I find it infuriating that the pro-NDs do not admit this fact even though it is glaringly obvious.

              If the entire ND profession cannot get behind vaccinations (and rid of homeopathy), I think there is very little hope for the future of this profession. And while I truly do not want to make you unemployed, I strongly feel that patients would have better medical care in the hands of a physician. I do not care if naturopaths continue to talk about herbs and tinctures in a non-medical context. But I do care that they are calling themselves doctors, trying to treat the sick, and risking the lives of their patients by using experimental therapies.

              Erika, I hope you and other NDs advocate for your profession to leave behind archaic therapies and embrace vaccines for the good of your profession and the patients you love.

              1. Wait. Hold the phone. You were taught “elevator speeches” to promote yourself?

                  1. These videos clearly show that these “Doctors” don’t have a clue how real medicine works. They believe that they treat diseases based on reasons of diseases and help the body to heal itself whereas real medicine only treats only symptoms. This is complete bullshit. Treating symptoms is done if the symptoms pose an large burden to the patient or are dangerous in some other way. Lets look a bit closer at “only treating symptoms”. In fact a large body of research in medicine is done to identify disease causes and how to counteract them. A classical example being infectious diseases. Antibiotics are a classical drug to remove the reason for the disease (i.e. the pathogen). The same goes for oncology. Primary aim of oncology is the removal of tumor cells. However, in both cases this is only partly possible, but the pathogen is reduced to the pint that the immune system can get rid of it by itself. The difference between naturopathic and real medicine is the rigorosity in identifying disease causes. the irritable bowel syndrome mentioned in one of the videos is a good example. Whereas the real reason is not known – it is believed to be a combination of genetic and psychological factors as well as a shift in the micorbiome, Naturopaths claim to focus on diet to remove the offending foods and claim that this the removal of the cause and that real medicine only treats the symptoms. This is complete bullshit. Irritable bowel syndrome is NOT caused by food (as mentioned above) and dietary changes are a standard treatment procedure in real medicine. These things show that nautropaths have a fundamental non-understanding how real medicine works and project this non-understanding onto the public by claiming things that are simply not true. This non-understanding is the primary reason that naturopaths and real physicians can and should not merge into a pcrimary care giver as mentioned by a naturopath in this trait.

                  2. Marketing per se is not bad. The infuriating thing are the false claims. If you read the textbook of naturopathic medicine which is as I understand the cornerstone of this profession you want to tear out entire chapters. Prime examples are the claims that treatment in real medicine leads to some sort of suppression of the disease because only symptoms are treated. Or how naturopathic treatments can be “scientifically” proven by adapting the models they are tested with. With that approach one can prove almost anything.

                  3. On rereading the whole thing I realized something. The IBS is also a good example that naturopaths don’t even understand their own philosophy. As I understand it, naturopathic treatent of IBS consists of dietary changes to avoid symptom triggering foods. IBS is a combination of anomalies of the gut very likely on a genetic level, exacerbated by psychological events. In order to treat the cause of IBS, one likely would have use gene-therapy. I strongly suspect that the same goes for allergies, acne and all the other stuff naturopaths claim to be able to treat successfully.

                  4. According to Deepak Chopra, we can control our genes with our minds, and this ND seems to agree having done Chopra mind-medicine training:

                    Then there’s this guy to likes to say he has shared the stage with Chopra and treats cancer with herbs:

                    Naturopathic medicine has a wide range of tools that are effective at treating cancer when used appropriately. His background in molecular biology has helped him to develop targeted supplementation which addresses the unique characteristics of the cancer.

                    I’m sorry, but I don’t think undergraduate training in molecular biology conveys expertise to treat cancer with stuff you can buy at Whole Foods. They all really *want* to treat the “root cause” but have no basis in reality to do so.

                  5. Actually,this Adam McLeod offers a few very old quackery acquaintances with regard to cancer “therapy”. Mistletoe, Vitamin C, Low Dose Naltrexone……

                    And you are correct. A BSc in molecular biology means you know the basics and don’t mess up everything in the lab. In a scientific context, BScs are neither fish nor flesh.

                  6. What a joke. No wonder my complaints about patient care go nowhere. These doctors claim they are on the quality assurance board for their province naturopathic college.

                  7. Maybe in the future you should CC to the authority the college is responsible to?

                    I just pulled this off the BC ND College site:

                    Naturopathic Physicians MUST NOT issue written statements, certificates or verbal discussions that could be
                    misconstrued or misrepresented, including but not limited to:
                    f. IMMUNIZATIONS
                    g. ALTERNATIVE IMMUNIZATION
                    h. ALTERNATE to IMMUNIZATION
                    i. FLU SHOT
                    j. IMMUNIZATION
                    k. NATURAL IMMUNIZATION
                    l. HOMEOPATHIC IMMUNIZATION
                    4. USE INSTEAD a term that explains that naturopathic treatment is generalized, such as:
                    a. IMMUNE SUPPORT PROTOCOL
                    b. NATUROPATHIC FLU SUPPORT
                    c. IMMUNE SUPPORT PROGRAMMES
                    d. IMMUNE OPTIMIZATION
                    f. HOMEOPATHIC PROPHYLAXIS
                    g. NATURAL FLU PREVENTION

                  8. Question for Britt- is this “We treat the cause of the illness, not the symptoms (which is what allopathic doctors do)” part of the standard elevator speech they have you practice?

                    I hear this all the time from alt med people.

                    In “allopathic” medicine, we treat the cause (if we know what it is). Unlike alt med, we admit it if we don’t know the cause or can’t treat the cause (like faulty genes). However, I’ve notices that alt med seems to have no problem making up causes. Stuff like guy dysbiosis, parasites, adrenal fatigue, heavy metal toxicity, etc.

                  9. Unfortunately this is not elevator speech. It is part of the philosophy. If you read the Textbook of Naturopathy you find that classical medicine treats symptoms, naturopaths treat causes. I begin to believe that naturopaths still are in the 19th century were classical medicine was indeed symptom oriented because causes were not known and/or not treatable.

                  10. I’ve never been able to understand how prescribing antibiotics or antifungals to eliminate the cause of infections could accurately be characterized as treating symptoms of infection, how removing an inflamed appendix is anything other than treating the cause of appendicitis, etc.

                  11. Hi PCD, yes, this is part of the standard marketing. I need to, and will, write a post about this point. I honest-to-god used to believe that MDs did not treat the “root cause” and that NDs did. I think this belief stems from chronic disease management, and symptom control, like with my psoriasis. I thought that taking steroid to control psoriasis symptoms was simply symptom suppression, and that the ND treatments (fish oil, no gluten, whatever) was curative.

                  12. Brit, taking steroids *is* in essence symptom control. However since psoriasis is a deep seated functional aberration of skin epidermic cells (likely with a strong genetic component) fish oil is not curative treatment. Naturopaths are caught within the thinking that classical medicine is *always* about symptom suppression, whereas their treatments treat the cause.

                  13. There are many diseases where we lack the ability to provide a cure but where addressing the symptoms results in significantly improved quality of life (e.g., epilepsy, Type I diabetes).

                  14. Naturopathy evolved in the 19th century when modern medicine was in it’s infancy. 19th century medicine is largely about fighting symptoms rather than causes because MDs did not know better. People felt this deficiency and this gave rise to naturopathy which claimed to fight causes – which in 19th century thinking seemed totally plausibe. However, medicine evolved a lot since these times. Naturopaths (as seen in the paraphrase from the textbook of natural medicine that antibiotics do not remove the pathogen but cause a somewhat shortened suppression) still seem to believe that medieince works like in the 19th century. It does NOT.

                  15. and what made naturopathy seem more effective than ‘allopathy’ was the fact that so much of the treatments offered in the 19th century were themselves harmful (heavy metal purgatives, bloodletting etc.). When standard treatments are actively harmful something that does nothing, like the plain water that homeopaths actually deliver, can only appear superior in contrast.

                1. This is so funny because I wrote that little anecdote without thinking anything of it and then Taylor basically made the same comment as you. Yes, we had a whole assignment of writing elevator speeches, and then an entire class where one by one, we stood up and rehearsed them. There were like 40 of us in the class so it took some time. Then at DCFLI, (the AANP lobby event) we had a whole workshop on elevator speeches: what should we include, what we should not include etc. Note: we were told to avoid words like alternative, natural, and naturopathic and instead focus on the similarities between us and MDs, our “on-par” training and so forth. I am going to see what notes I can dig up from this practice management course. It was taught by Kasra Pournadeali who served as president elect for the AANP. So of course we needed to get the lingo to falsely describe ourselves right….

                  1. Speaking of elevator speeches and the claim of equal training to MDs. Very few people are aware of the real structure of academic education. Academic education is a four level business. Bachelor – Masters – PhD – in Europe the habilitation, in the US and CA the tenure review. This means that an ND (as well as MD) is equivalent to a master’s degree and *not* to a PhD or other doctorate requiring a thesis and three years post masters. With the MDs this is counterbalanced by residency requirements which are sort of doing a practical thesis. For NDs there is no such requirement. In general, the PhD serves as a certificate that the holder is capable of doing unsupervised, independent research.

                    The level of education is significantly impacted by the quality of the faculty in research *and* teaching. This formula is the basics of the concept of university and has been successful since the 13th century.

                    For a naturopathic university that means that the faculty up to the highest ranking members consists of people holding a master’s degree equivalent. I guess the impact on the quality of eduction is huge.

        2. I am in canada and they are called colleges. For example I had a recent case where a naturopath saw a patient with blurry vision. He gave colloidal silver drops and sent to his chiro buddy. The chiro started manipulating the neck because he could see that the eyes didn’t seem straight. They ping ponged the patient back between each other for 6 weeks. I saw the patient and diagnosed a third nerve palsy and sent patient for same day cta to diagnose the expected brain aneurysm. I sent notes to both chiro and nat college and both practitioners were not reprimanded. Fortunately patient is still alive. Naturopath simply do not have the training to diagnose this which every md would catch

          1. Gotcha. I’m sorry you had that experience, that is horrible, and I’m embarrassed that she would be considered my colleague.

          2. Wow. You saved this patient’s life. He is damn lucky that the naturopath and chiro didn’t kill him. Third nerve palsy needing a CT- that’s like Medicine 101. Frightening that they didn’t know that they needed to assess for an internal carotid aneurysm.

            1. The ironic thing was that the response from the college was that they practiced within the realm that would be expected by another naturopath or chiro faced with the same decisions. That is why they were not reprimanded. So they basically claim that they are primary care providers until which time they are challenged and suddenly it is outside their scope of expected knowledge

              1. same thing in one of the pastebin archives that Britt posted from a naturopath mailing list. I believe Britt posted the link on her Twitter.

                  1. Thanks for the clarification–I meant that Britt posted the link. The pastebin file was created by someone else.

              2. As far as I’m aware there are no standards-of-care for naturopathy, which is why different naturopaths will treat the same disease with different modalities (homeopathy vs acupuncture vs herbal extracts vs dietary supplements vs IV vitamin C versus…) depending on what most appeals to them (which all to frequently equals the one they have on hand for sale or which generates the greatest financial return).

        3. I’ve tried contacting NDs directly. They are licensed to practice in my state. There was one who added on a bunch of labs to a lab slip that I had given a patient (my patient showed it to me). I had ordered lipids and a cmp. The ND added on bullshit stuff like insulin levels, homocysteine, copper levels, Lyme titers, etc. She didn’t initial or sign her name, just added them on under my name. Totally insurance fraud- trying to get the patient’s insurance to cover it.

          I called her multiple times. When I finally got through, she claimed that the patient must have written in the labs. Yeah, right. Liar.

          I couldn’t complain to the board. She WAS the board, basically- her and three other naturopaths.

          Her partner was a “Lyme Literal ND”. I had the honor of taking care of many cases of C.diff and esophageal candidiasis caused by his inappropriate antibiotics. Again, no one to complain to.

          1. You can go higher up to the state’s department of health or the state’s attorney, and you should. That is out of control.

            1. In retrospect, I wish I did. This was a few years ago, and I honestly don’t even remember the patient’s name anymore.

    3. Dear Erika, I doubt that graduating from an accredited school would have changed much. The key feature of a university is the combination of teaching and science. In medical school lectures are given by people which are up to date in their field. Compare that to the faculty of Bastyr. The chair of clinical sciences at Bastyr is a woman without *any* scientific publication, therefore it is safe to assume she has no scientific practice. Bastyr has assistant professors with a score of 12 Impact Factor Points distributed over 6 papers. People in comparable positions at the Medical University of Vienna – which is not even among the world’s Top Universities – score more around 120, if they are very well positioned even around 500 Impact factor points. I will now focus on the chair of clinical sciences. At a university this is a critical position directly involved in shaping the strategic goals of the university. Successful science depends to a large extent on experience and intimate knowledge of methods, a thing you will never find in any papers. To quote Dunning and Kruger: ““When people are incompetent [….], they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they
      reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their
      incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.” ( Now it is again probability that counts. The probability that the students of such people are way underpar is much, much higher. Therefore I doubt “Accreditation” means a lot in the field of naturopathic schools.

      1. Moreover, is the exposure to real diseases not just reading about them in a book. For example Erika, you are a supposed pediatric naturopath. But correct me of I’m wrong who would have taught you pediatric cardiology. Even as a third year medical student, we would have a small group lecture by a well known pediatric cardiologist followed by going to the wards at the children’s hospital so examine all the interesting patoents and look at their echos etc. In fourth year we would do a 2 week ped cardiology rotation where we would be the first examiner of these kids and stay in hospital overnight taking care of them. Then internship again with an increased level of responsibility. This is the same method of teaching with every aspect of medicine. Whereas I would think your pediatric cardiology would consist of a naturopath teaching you, and at best some md who couldn’t get on faculty at a medical school, with zero clinical exposure except for healthy kids.

        1. A propos pediatric doctors. In Austria the way to become an MD specializing in pediatrics is as follows (numbers are minimum):

          6 years medical school.
          3 years residency in general medicine
          3 years residency in pediatric medicine
          An exam and this exam equals knowing a 750 page book by heart and is so difficult that candidates study at least a year for it. Compared to that a naturopathic pediatrist is childrens gambolling.

    4. Another example how “science” works in Natrupathy is following paper:

      Briefly the paper tests one (!) subject with various tests against food sensitivities, among them such things as kinesiology and the vega test (which is falsified). The skin prick test is carried out with IgE Measurement which is not state of the art. As a result they “diagnose” the subject with multiple food sensitivities including up to 20% of the tested foods. From the description of the subject it could not be confirmed that an actual food sensitivity was present but some form of allergy and/or an autoimmune disease. With a protocol like this, i.e. removal of 20% of potentially troublesome foods (and I strongly suspect that they use it in their “Treatments”) the probability that people with stomach problems caused by some minor sensitivity are healed is actually very high. However this is a healing by coincidence and not by design because the food causing the problems is coincidentially included in the 20% foods excluded. Healing by coincidence is NOT proper medicine.

    5. Even as a naturopathic physician I know that there is a time and a place for conventional medicine.

      Yes, it’s anytime a person is actually sick. Naturopathy only “works” for the worried well.

  41. Also covered at Science Based Medicine in two blog posts:
    The horrible consequences of seeking “natural” immunity: Naturopathy and Whooping Cough by Scott Gavura and
    The suffering the search for “natural immunity” inflicts on children by David Gorski

    Searching Google News for “Heather Dexter” “whooping cough”, I found a hit not on this story, but one back in September, where she was featured on WTTV Indianapolis as a Naturopathic Doctor in a piece about making your own baby food.

    Apparently the reporter is/was pregnant back then and was doing a getting ready for baby series of stories. Anyone in Indianapolis up to talking to WTTV’s news director about the dangers of mommy docs and pseudo-science??

  42. I got a better idea for the naturopathy profession. How about they strip all the unproved things out… delete the naturopathic doctor thing(in australia, NDs are illegal).

    Look if you want to become a science-based ND. Here is what you do: just get a degree in medicine(do enough to become a GP), and counselling. Make contacts with at least one of each specialized medical professionals like psychologists and dietitians(in case you need to refer your patient to someone). Also make contacts with alternative therapists who therapies actually work(like a message therapist). Then integrate the stuff that actually works- try to get degrees in those areas too. Great now you are more competent than a ND and GP. With your counselling skills you can provide support to your patient(patient-centered). You are now actually the best of both worlds

    With naturopaths. You should become a pharmacist, get a degree in counselling and get a degree at least one these: message, art, play, or music therapy(the evidence for these looks kinda promising to me). Optional: become an accredited nutritionist or dietitian, physiologist, tai chi instructor, yoga instructor. Pick any you want. With your counselling skills you can provide support to your patient(patient-centered). You are now actually the best of both worlds.

    Seriously why did humanity make up a “new” profession made up of woo-based things and science-based medicine stitched up into a fancy “new” profession.

    Tag on the word: science-based integrative MD or therapist. DONE.

    1. I’m wondering why you consider massage to fall under the umbrella of alternative therapies.

      1. Well, I’ll only putting it there due to some CAM folks’ insistence that it was an alternative therapy. In my head, there is only medicine that works and useless things that shouldn’t even be regarded as medicine.

  43. These poor children. It scares me that many are returning to archaic practices and suffering through illnesses modern medicine has been developed to heal. I remember having whooping cough and I still have the mark from the blood vessel bursting in my eye. I would have passed away as a 5 month old because of measles. What saved my life was the early vaccinations that ensured the measles did not kill me because TAH DAH my immune system had prior exposure. Now when people start talking about homeopathy and such I treat it like religion and change the subject because my belief in science is going to offend you.

  44. I’m absolutely horrified by this story. 0_0

    I certainly feel for the children. I have never had whooping cough (vaccinated!), but I do have asthma and an unfortunate inclination to get respiratory illnesses. Being unable to breathe is one of the scariest experiences one can have. The fact that her children were “turning purple,” in her words…it’s inexcusable that she allowed them to suffer through that!

    I hope that the kids got through it completely unscathed. I doubt that this mom would ever admit it if they were permanently injured because of her poor decision-making…

  45. OK, this is an old article, but this can’t be said enough. What kind of monster would let 3 children needlessly suffer for FIVE MONTHS from whooping cough? I can understand (kindof) someone not getting vaccinated due to ignorance, I can even understand someone wanting to try an ND first (again because of ignorance), but I can’t understand a monster that would let her own 3 children suffer for 5 months instead of taking them to a doctor (if not the ER.) Ignorance can not be an excuse for that, just plain hateful callousness. I know the perpetrator of this does not care, she doesn’t care about her own children, why would she care what random people on the internet say? But I hope, that people in the middle who are considering her criminal child abuse nonsense will listen and know that normal, caring parents would never do this to a child. A normal,caring parent who was ignorant of getting their child vaccinated against the Whooping Cough (or whose child was too young to be vaccinated), would never let a child suffer like this, they would take them to a REAL doctor within a day or 2 at most. Children and their parents throughout history have been forced to suffer because of lack of an effective vaccine and lack of effective medical treatment for the whooping cough. There is no reason why children today should have to suffer. I have zero sympathy for a parent who would refuse any medical treatment for such a suffering child.

    Edited to add…..while the mother is the one bragging about her abuse of children, the father is just as much a monster for standing by and watching this happen. A loving father would have sought medical attention for his children, regardless of the effect on his relationship with the mother.

    1. I think that rather than hateful callousness, it’s likely True Believer(TM) syndrome, and then a massive failure downstream by others in her life, because relationships were on the line and they let her bully them or they knew that her psyche was too fragile to sustain any push-back (and you know what happens then…self-defensive nastiness…so maybe you were right, to begin with).You points about the mandatory reporters are quite well taken. Those people failed these children (and their community) as well.

      1. I thought about this, but I don’t see any caring about her children in her comments. See, I envision a true believer saying something like “I hate to see my children suffer, I can understand why parents would be tempted to go the drug route, but I know my children’s short-term suffering will help prevent their long-term suffering.” This is the kind of thing a true misguided believer who cared about their children would say. Instead, this callous person complains about her lack of sleep and says “sleep is for parents who drug their children.” …..she can only imagine parents using drugs to further their parents convenience, she can’t imagine people using drugs because they actually are worried about their children.
        So, I think you are right that someone could be do this, being sincerely misled and still care about their children (I hadn’t considered that possibility until you brought it up), but I still don’t think that is what happened in this particular case.

      2. I thought about this, but I don’t see any caring about her children in her comments. See, I envision a true believer saying something like “I hate to see my children suffer, I can understand why parents would be tempted to go the drug route, but I know my children’s short-term suffering will help prevent their long-term suffering.” This is the kind of thing a true misguided believer who cared about their children would say. Instead, this callous person complains about her lack of sleep and says “sleep is for parents who drug their children.” …..she can only imagine parents using drugs to further their parents convenience, she can’t imagine people using drugs because they actually are worried about their children.
        So, I think you are right that someone could be do this, being sincerely misled and still care about their children (I hadn’t considered that possibility until you brought it up), but I still don’t think that is what happened in this particular case.

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