Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Called Criminal Medical Quackery

"We never said we were curing people and we never admitted to curing people, because we haven't."
"We don't believe that. We have an educational program here."
Brian Clement, co-director, Hippocrates Health Institute
Brian Anna Maria Clement
Brian and Anna Maria Clement are co-directors of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. (Hippocrates Health Institute)

In the opinion of Mr. Clement, his institute, licensed by the State of Florida as a massage parlour, is once again being unfairly scrutinized, found wanting, and penalized by their free-enterprise rights guaranteed under the U.S. first amendment being violated; in short they are being hounded unnecessarily and just because of some critics refusing to recognize the superior health opportunities his health team is offering to people, to take control of the quality of their lives and take responsibility for the state of their health.

So, the Florida health department has fined Mr. Clement as head of an alternative health clinic for practising, as they put it, medicine without a licence. As proof they cite his "unproven and possibly dangerous" treatment of two 11-year old girls from Ontario, diagnosed with childhood leukemia whose First-Nations rights were undermined when they were forced to under conventional medical treatment to cure that malady. What doubtless brought the situation to the attention of state licensing authorities was the investigative journalism reportage from Canada.

Not only do Canadians flock to the state during the winter months bestowing the largess of their vacation dollars, but the clinic itself sees Canadians representative of a high proportion of their client base. Florida does not appreciate its reputation being besmirched, and no doubt saw fit to react to what can only be termed negative publicity arising out of the reported operations of a charlatan claiming to have a medical degree enabling him to prescribe appropriate therapies for various diseases.

In its original Boston location, the Hippocrates Institute was 'persecuted and prosecuted' by the state of Massachusetts as well. Over claims they were capable of curing deadly diseases with wheat grass and additional alternative therapies to remedy and cure dread diseases. In the early 1980s its founder and president "unequivocally stated that her diet would make terminal cancer patients, diabetics and burn victims well", according to a state prosecutor at the time that Mr. Clement was the institute's director.

Of the two young aboriginal girls whose parents raised the $18,000 required to have them undergo a three-week assessment, indoctrination and introduction to the institute's personalized therapy designed to cure their leukemia, one little girl has died, the other, claimed her mother, is now cancer-free. The little girl has not been identified by name, only through the initials "J.J.", unlike Makayla Sault whose odyssey with traditional aboriginal medicine and the institutes's alternative medicine hastened her death.

"(J.J.'s) mom is very strong. She doesn't want her daughter to relapse in any way", said a self-styled wellness advocate from Ontario, Jane Schweitzer, who personally considers the Hippocrates Institute a superb healing clinic. As for J.J.'s mother, in an earlier interview she spoke of the place with wonder: "It's like a resort". She spoke admiringly of Mr. Clement: "What struck me most was he was not afraid of cancer. Cancer didn't shake him like it shook me", she said; little wonder, it wasn't he struggling with a cancer diagnosis.

Brian Clement
Brian Clement, the owner and director of the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla., tells CBC News's Connie Walker to get off his property. Licensed as a health spa and massage facility, the institute treated the two First Nations girls with leukemia. (CBC)

When J.J.'s mother was referred to the Hippocrates Health Institute, she telephoned him from McMaster Medical Centre, where she found his words reassuring, so much so she was convinced to take her daughter off the chemotherapy which medical science had proven had a 70% to 90% percent chance of successfully curing her child's cancer. When he assured her that leukemia was "not difficult for them to deal with", she was convinced. "By him saying, ‘Oh yes, no problem we can help her,’ that's the day I stopped the chemo."

Makayla Sault's parents are both pastors in an evangelical Christian church. Their preferred method of treatment for their child was traditional, a treatment called "Ongwehowe Onongwatri: yo". Sounds arcanely obscure, and it is that, perhaps impressive but it appears it is beyond explanation; not even the Institute of Aboriginal People's Health was able to clarify what it was, how it worked, other than faith in aboriginal tradition. But it, and the power of Jesus, and a stint at the institute would cure Makayla.
Hippocrates Health Institute
J.J. prepares a 'green drink' of wheatgrass and juiced raw vegetables, part of the diet recommended by the Hippocrates Health Institute. (CBC)

Except that it did nothing of the kind. J.J.'s mother too believes wholeheartedly in traditional aboriginal medicine, yet even so, she took her daughter to the 'alternative cancer treatment facility' in West Palm Beach whose license is for a "massage establishment", though its website declares its function is "to assist people in taking responsibility for their lives and to help them internalize and actualize an existence free from premature aging, disease and needless pain." This, then, is the 'educational program' that Mr. Clement speaks of.

He has, however, when his guard is down and his boastful rhetoric is most extravagantly useful -- when addressing a gullible audience of people afflicted with dire disease, persuading them that conventional medical treatment has failed them but his institute will heal them -- repeatedly claimed that his institute helped "thousands and thousands" of advanced-cancer patients heal themselves, even though their prognosis and their state of debilitation due to cancer's advance left them without hope.

His cure consists of a raw-food, vegan diet, high-dose Vitamin C, stress-relief exercises and other useful remedies to help his clients live a long and healthy life. The Florida Health Department has ordered Mr. Clement, nonetheless, to "cease and desist", levying a fine of $3,738, which certainly won't do too much damage to his bank account reflecting the $1-million combined salary in 2014 earned by himself and his co-director wife at the Hippocrates Health Institute.

In response to Florida's move, an institute spokeswoman, Vicki Johnson, stated that the citation and order were based on "hearsay allegations" extracted from derogatory investigative media reports. "We deny these allegations in their entirety and will vigorously contest these allegations through the administrative process."

And the aboriginal community in Ontario which has placed such faith in the alternative-type "natural" response through the institute? They continue to have faith in its purpose and promise, and will continue to seek out its curing therapies, alongside traditional aboriginal healing methods. In a public relations video Mr. Clement claims his institute teaches people to "heal themselves" from cancer. 
"We've had more people reverse cancer than any institute in the history of health care. So when McGill fails or Toronto hospital fails, they come to us. Stage 4 (cancer), and they reverse it."

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