Have You Ever Inquired About Services at a Naturopathic Clinic?
The Case of Ezekial Stephan has received a great deal of media and public attention. And it should because a child’s unnecessary suffering and death should raise questions in people’s minds about the responsibilities of parents, families, the medical system and also of the many alternative and complementary providers who enter the marketplace to sell services which they claim to be of benefit to people’s health and well-being.
Recently a member of the community (based on the email thread shared with CFI Canada, the parent of a young child) shared with Centre For Inquiry Canada an extended email exchange that they had with a Naturopathic Clinic. We have deleted the names and details both of the person who shared the exchange with us as well as those of the clinic. The specific clinic involved is not pertinent. The pertinent matter is whether any of these service providers readily provide clear, informative responses when potential clients contact them.
We think the line of inquiry by the community member provides a valuable template for inquiring with any service provider who may be offering health services.
The initial inquiry.
Hi, What age do you advise making a first appointment? Do you have a special section for this age group
The First Response
We start seeing patients as early as newborns.
We would schedule an Initial Consultation that is one hour in length and the fee is $220.00.
If you would like to schedule an appointment please visit our website (omitted) and click on Schedule Now. This will let you compare the current openings we have to your calendar and also list all our prices.
Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Follow-up Questions Email #1
Sorry, but that’s way more than I expected.
My pregnancy has been okay, and there is nothing in my family history that is at all complicated. You make it sound that there is something really complicated about the first visit. Are the other naturopathic doctors charging that much?
Clinic Response to Follow-Up #1
Good morning, Yes all our Naturopathic Doctors fees are the same.
Can you tell me a bit about what you actually do for the $220 at the first visit for a newborn baby? Where did your NDs study well-baby care? What about shots?
Response to Follow-up #2
For newborns we still go through health history including labor, delivery, breastfeeding, digestion, bowel movements, skin, allergies, sleep, temperament. We evaluate through testing organ function, then go through and test for stressors on the body including food sensitivities, immune challenges, heavy metals and environmental toxins. We then work to re-balance anything that is showing to be out of balance and will outline a recommended treatment plan. Treatment plans can include dietary changes and/or supplements. Supplements are an additional cost.
If you would like to speak with the doctor directly in regards to more specific medical questions her email is (withheld).
Follow-up #3 (Addressed to the Naturopathic Doctor)
Dear Dr. (withheld)
Sorry again. Your response raises some other issues. I hope you can answer them. How do you test a newborn for organ function, stressors, immune challenges, heavy metals and environmental toxins? How can a newborn have those problems. Are you just making this stuff up? Did they teach this to you where you went to school? How do you re-balance things? This is not what my paediatrician would do, is it?
I used to live in the States, and my father had health problems. His complete physical only cost him $200. How much does third-party cover for the first visit here in Alberta.
Response to Follow-Up #3
We recommend that you bring your child to see a pediatrician which would be covered by Alberta Health Plan, as we do not think that our clinic will be the right fit for you.
Have a great day,
Final Comments From Community Member
I guess that in your professional opinion that as a pregnant mother, I would not be a good fit in your naturopathic practice. You could be right.
But, you have not tried to answer my questions, have you? I would expect that your regulatory college would never ask you those same questions, would they? You have to be truthful with the claims made on your web site, don’t you? So let’s pretend that I would send the same questions to them and asked them to explain your answers. What would they say?
Practicing naturopathy is a right granted by our government. But, if claims made by a ND can not be relied upon, what course do the people of Alberta have? Sorry, but the claims made on your web site for the treatment of infants, including newborns are indeed worthy of review.
Before paying any service provider, always ask detailed questions regarding fees charged and services offered. Always ask the service provider about specific details of how their services will help and how they work. While asking the service provider your questions, ask your physician or other registered health care providers these same questions and compare the answers. If you aren’t receiving consistent information, you should be concerned.
As the case of Ezekial Stephan demonstrates, as parents and community members it is not only our right to understand how to care for the health and welfare of children, it is our responsibility.