Letter to Claire Harvey

On the weekend, journalist Claire Harvey wrote an article about naturopaths. Not only was it ill founded, disparaging and downright ridiculous, but I would have expected a journalist of her background to present a more rounded or at least an unbiased view. I hope you all join me in condemning her attack on the Natural Health industry.

Claire,

I really feel sorry for you. If your article in the paper yesterday was really your point of view then you are profoundly misguided and I really hope that you never end up with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lyme or multiple chemical sensitivity because the medical fraternity would run countless tests and tell you there was nothing wrong with you and in the case of lyme they wouldn’t even acknowledge its existence.

Your article had so many faults and untruths it was laughable. Do you really think there are no quacks in other industries? How about your beloved medical field with Dr Patel in Bundaberg QLD who was linked to 87 deaths, or the cocaine addicted neurosurgeon Dr Nair who killed 2 people with cocaine overdoses – you support these people do you? You think they were doing a great job? There are ‘quacks’ in every industry.

If we are being really serious here, the truth of the matter is that the medical fraternity are brilliant at acute care – emergencies, ruptures, breaks, etc but they really don’t have many answers for chronic illnesses. The naturopaths that are well trained are really good at supporting patients who have chronic illness because they know about diet, stress management, emotional support, balancing key nutrients and prevention of serious disease particularly when there is a family history. The medical Dr’s don’t know and don’t have the time to address these issues because medicare dictates they see a patient in 15 minutes, so whats the easiest solution? A Pill.

That brings me to the point about your beloved pills – are you aware that medications kill more people in the developed world than any other avenue of medicine? In 2011 the Los Angeles times released data from the US Centres for Disease control and prevention and showed that prescription drugs were killing more people than illegal drugs in the US. For the first time more people were killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents. That year 37,485 people were killed by prescription drugs. So for you to promote drugs over natural alternatives is just plain ridiculous. Obviously there is a time and place for everything but the reason the natural alternative is often better is because you are using the full constituents of the plant and not an isolated ingredient.

In my practice I advocate a collaborative approach between us and our patients GP’s. I work together as a team and that’s how it should be addressed. GP’s are good at diagnosing and treating acute and we are much better at supportive long term approaches for treating chronic disease. For example to just give someone who is pre-diabetic a pill without changing the diet is counter productive. They have to have a complete overhaul of their diet and lifestyle if they are to see any change in their condition.

There are many Dr’s who really get the need for well trained, sensible naturopaths to be a part of their team and we work with many of them often. They get the better results for their patients. Patients who feel well supported and well looked after by their Doctors and Naturopaths often do better in the long term.

What you really fail to realize Claire is that the public DO NOT share your sentiment. Medicine is failing our really sick patients. There is not the resources, the time or the know how to treat chronically ill people. Medicine these days is about the pharmacological solution.  And it just doesn’t work long term, because you end up with too many side effects and more drugs have to be added into the pot. We need to work together for the betterment of our patients.

As a journalist, I really would have expected a more unbiased approach and it disappoints me that you would write an article so unresearched, so false in many ways.

Carolyn Ledowsky
MTHFR Support Australia