Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Local "Naturopathic Doctor" Shut Down

Our own Providence Journal reported that the RI Health Department shut down the office of a "naturopathic doctor," John E. Curran, after federal agents raided two of his offices. Before reading the news article, it's instructive to look at Curran's web-site, which was still up, at least through today.
On it he:
  • claims he can treat "catastrophic" or "unusual or rare" diseases;
  • implies that his treatments are harmless, and, in comparison to standard medicine, "Treatments are more natural, gentler, and more easily accepted by our bodies;"
  • implies he is a licensed ND, naturopathic doctor;
  • claims that his version of naturopathy is "evidence-based;" and
  • provides a testimonial of a patient who seems to say that Curran put his Stage 4 head and neck cancer into remission.
The Providence Journal reported that Curran is under federal investigation for wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. The order to shut down his office came after a patient with liver disease was "sickened" by an alcohol based medicine that Curran prescribed. Undercover agents who visited Curran were subjected to a "live blood analysis," which Curran said revealed "parasites" in their blood, or malformed blood cells; and a "biomeridian stress assessment." The treatments Curran proposed for these problems would cost about $10,000.
Curran's practice is listed on a this web-site which has links to a variety of New England based "holistic" practitioners. Some make claims to treat real diseases that seem far from evidence based, for example:
And the claims found on the web-site for the Tai Sophia Institute, the organization that recently announced a formal collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, are only somewhat less sweeping (see our previous posts here and here.)
At a time when health care is derided for its rising costs, declining accessibility to patients, and stagnant quality, I wonder why do there is so little concern about the costs incurred by these so-called complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, and so little skepticism about the expansive claims they make about the tests and treatments they provide?


Anonymous said...

Contrary to your posting, The Providence Journal did NOT report that John Curran was indicted. John Curran is under investigation by several federal agencies. He has NOT been indicted. --Felice Freyer, Medical Writer, Providence Journal

Roy M. Poses MD said...

Sorry about that. It was indeed "investigated for," not "indicted for." Main post changed. Thanks for keeping an eye on us, Felice.