Articles

Ottawa paper claims 'Naturopath' Kills Girl: The Facts

The following is a reproduction of a Millennium Health Centre editorial article which appeared in the Seaway News newspaper in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The content is shortened to accommodate a newspaper space allotment. As such, it is not academically cited with references. These are available, so please feel free to email your questions.

Regards,

Dr. Stephen F. Jones B.Comm., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

As current federal politics will demonstrate, you can not always believe what you read in newspapers or watch on T.V. (I'll atone to my editor for this observation later). Errors, misunderstandings and misrepresentations can occur.

Such was the case with a recent article in a prominent Ottawa newspaper. The article reported on a Supreme Court ruling sentencing a Quebec woman by the name of Louise Lortie to 3 years in jail for manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death.

The concern over this article is that the newspaper referred to Louise Lortie as a 'Naturopath' and indicated that she contributed to the girl's death while practicing naturopathic medicine. The problem is that Lousie Lortie is not and never has been a 'Naturopath'. The paper in question received excruciatingly clear clarifications about this point back in 1999 when it defined Ms. Lortie as a 'Naturopath', has received several letters to the editor since this recent story, but continues to knowingly misrepresent this fact.

As readers of this column may be aware by now, the title of 'Naturopath' (or 'Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine' and / or 'Naturopathic Doctor') is protected by governmental licensure. As with a 'Medical Doctor', 'Doctor of Dentistry', 'Chartered Accountant', 'Lawyer' (etc. etc. etc.), one can only use the title if one has completed the accredited educational program, passed extensive licensing examinations and been registered by the appropriate (governmentally appointed) regulatory body.

Louise Lortie did not have the pre-requisite 7 years of education to be a 'Naturopath', she was not licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Health's appointed regulatory body for Naturopathic Doctors and did not 'practice' any aspect of naturopathic medicine.

This unfortunate circumstance is brought up in this column as I have received countless emails about this story. The public is confused and worried and are in need of some facts.

So why did the paper call Ms. Lortie a 'Naturopath'? I wish I knew. I can say that Ms. Lortie lived in Hull, Quebec, 'practiced' some 'alternative' treatments and reportedly called herself a 'Naturopath' or 'Naturotherapist'.

The 'background' here is that Quebec is not a province that regulates naturopathic medicine. As such, the 'title' of 'Naturopath' is meaningless in Quebec. It's not protected. Any reader of this column could go to Quebec and 'hang out a shingle' calling themselves a 'Naturopath' or 'Naturotherapist' with no legal risk of repercussions. The province has 'Associations' for unregulated individuals wishing to call themselves 'Naturopaths' (mainly the 'Association of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists' - which those living in Ontario can still join), but these 'associations' and their members are not regulated in any manner by the Quebec (or any) Ministry of Health. There is no public protection regarding members of these associations.

The key point is that these practitioners simply do not offer the same education, skills, treatments or services as a licensed Ontario Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.). In Ontario, the N.D. runs conventional blood tests, does regular physicals examinations (annuals, PAP etc.), is able to diagnose conditions, is a primary care provider and is the only licensed health care provider whose specialty is natural medications. Those using the titles 'Doctor of Natural Medicine' (D.N.M.), 'Naturotherapist', 'Homeopath' etc. are not regulated (anywhere in Canada), do not have licensure by the government and can not provide any of these professional services.

What did Ms. Lortie do to warrant jail? Well, she told the mother of a 12 year old girl to stop giving her insulin for her diabetes. She did so mainly because she said she communicated with the Archangel Michael and 'he had never been wrong'. Instead she told the mother to give the girl cane sugar and some homemade herbal teas. The girl died 3 days after stopping her insulin.

Suffice it to say that this woman's conduct and 'treatment' is not naturopathic medicine.

Hopefully this information will encourage all readers to be careful when seeking health care. Be sure that the practitioner is a regulated and licensed health care provider. Contact the regulatory body for Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario (the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy - Naturopathy at 416-866-8383) to check if your 'Naturopath' really is one.

Next column, we will resume our exploration of intravenous therapies.

Best of health to you.

Readers may write the EMC newspaper or email Dr. Jones at dr.jones@millenniumhealthcentre.com with any inquiries.