Natur­opath who treated child with ra­bies-in­fected saliva sur­ren­ders li­cence

She will keep work­ing as an un­reg­u­lated home­opath

Times Colonist - - The Capital / B.c. - KATIE DeROSA

A Vic­to­ria natur­opath who con­tro­ver­sially used ra­bies-in­fected saliva to treat a child has sur­ren­dered her li­cence with the Col­lege of Natur­o­pathic Physi­cians of B.C. How­ever, Anke Zim­mer­mann will con­tinue to work as an un­reg­u­lated home­opath.

The col­lege in­ves­ti­gated whether Zim­mer­mann “met the stan­dard of care in her treat­ment of the young boy with lyssinum,” Howard Green­stein, the col­lege’s reg­is­trar and CEO, said in a state­ment.

The col­lege also con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Zim­mer­mann’s use of CEASE ther­apy, an acro­nym for “com­plete elim­i­na­tion of autism spec­trum ex­pres­sion.” Ad­vo­cates of the ther­apy claim that home­opa­thy can be used to elim­i­nate autism, based on the premise that autism is caused by vac­cines, some­thing that has no ba­sis in sci­en­tific ev­i­dence.

The col­lege in­ves­ti­gated whether Zim­mer­mann’s prac­tices were in line with their im­mu­niza­tion stan­dard, which says natur­opaths must not pro­vide pa­tients with anti-im­mu­niza­tion ma­te­ri­als, nor can they coun­sel pa­tients against im­mu­niza­tions with­out a prop­erly doc­u­mented med­i­cal ra­tio­nale.

Zim­mer­mann vol­un­tar­ily sur­ren­dered her li­cence and agreed not to ap­ply for re­in­state­ment for at least five years.

She will con­tinue to prac­tise home­opa­thy, an “al­ter­na­tive” prac­tice that has been crit­i­cized for its lack of sci­en­tific proof.

In a pub­lic no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the col­lege said Zim­mer­mann told an in­quiry com­mit­tee that com­ply­ing with the col­lege’s by­laws on im­mu­niza­tion would make it dif­fi­cult for her to serve her pa­tients with in­tegrity.

“The reg­is­trant un­der­stood the col­lege’s stan­dards of prac­tice and that her ap­proach to prac­tice does not align with the col­lege’s reg­u­la­tion of the pro­fes­sion in that area,” the col­lege wrote.

Zim­mer­man told the Times Colonist: “I swore an oath to be of ser­vice to hu­man­ity, not to the col­lege.”

In a post on her web­site, she said she will not stop speak­ing or writ­ing about what she’s hear­ing from par­ents, “that vac­cines hurt their chil­dren and even caused autism.”

Zim­mer­mann crit­i­cized the col­lege for ban­ning her from pro­vid­ing ma­te­ri­als to pa­tients re­gard­ing con­cerns about vac­cines.

Green­stein said the is­sue of whether home­opaths should be reg­u­lated is not one for the col­lege to ad­dress.

“How­ever, the col­lege strongly rec­om­mends the pub­lic choose a reg­is­tered health pro­fes­sional when seek­ing health care,” he said in an email. “A reg­u­lated health pro­fes­sional needs to meet ed­u­ca­tional, train­ing and eth­i­cal stan­dards that can help in the de­liv­er­ing of safe care. Pa­tients should check with the ap­pro­pri­ate col­lege to en­sure their reg­u­lated health­care provider is reg­is­tered.”

Zim­mer­mann wrote on her web­site this year that she had treated a four-year-old pa­tient with a non-toxic rem­edy that in­cluded lyssinum, a prod­uct said to be made from ra­bies. The boy had been bit­ten by a dog years ear­lier, and a pop­u­lar course of treat­ment in the homeo­pathic world is to use lyssinum.

Zim­mer­mann’s ac­tions at­tracted the at­ten­tion of pro­vin­cial health of­fi­cer Dr. Bon­nie Henry, who ex­pressed “grave con­cerns” and asked Health Canada to re­view its ap­proval of the prod­uct. Lyssinum could po­ten­tially put pa­tients at risk of con­tract­ing ra­bies, Henry said in a state­ment in April. Health Canada is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

Anke said on her web­site she filed a for­mal com­plaint about Henry with the Min­istry of Health, MLAs and the premier.

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