Britt Marie Hermes is a former naturopathic doctor “trained in the ways of complementary and alternative medicine.” She called in prescriptions and even billed insurance companies. Eventually, she opened her eyes to what she now admits is an industry profiting from “magical ways of thinking.”
In an op-ed for Science 2.0, Hermes calls out her former “quack” profession in an effort to educate people about science versus pseudoscience – which sometimes could mean the difference between life and death.
While in practice in Tucson, Arizona, I discovered that my former boss, a licensed naturopathic doctor, had been importing and administering a non-FDA approved drug to cancer patients, many [who] were terminally ill. I had been helping him give various intravenous injections and drips to many of his patients because his schedule was busy. It turned out that under his orders I had unwittingly administered this drug to several patients.
Realizing what she had done, Hermes resigned from the clinic but was pressured by a former mentor and naturopath not to report her former’s boss’s “criminal activity” to the state regulatory board and attorney general.
His words suggested that ethical and legal transgressions, like the one before me, were prevalent in the naturopathic community and tolerated due to the special kind of medicine we were practicing.
When she dug deeper into her former industry, what she found horrified her.
When I started to look at licensed naturopaths across North America, I found appalling examples of professional misconduct and unethical treatments advertised online or discussed favorably on social media communities. I eventually learned that the drug my former boss was importing, named ukrain, had a sordid history at the hands of charlatan chemist in Austria, who is now facing criminal charges of commercial fraud. My boss ended up with a token punishment of a warning letter.
After finding out that her former boss wasn’t going to face any consequences for his actions, it was then that she decided to start speaking out.
Hermes is now completing a Master of Science program in biomedicine. She hopes more of her former compatriots in the world of junk science will join her now that she’s out of the “rabbit hole.”