Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Daughter Wants Answers About Death of Mother

Daughter Wants Answers About Death of Mother

Betty Harlan

Thu 11/03/2005 -

76 year old Betty Harlan lived with multiple health problems including a leaky heart valve and diabetes that led to a leg ulcer. In January, one of Harlan's doctors said the ulcer was so bad, the leg may have to be amputated. Harlan wanted a second opinion, but instead of seeking a traitional medical opinion, her daughter Laura brought her here to the Wellhouse Center in Windsor.

"They said if you make some changes you will probably see improvements, and within a week she was making continual progress." Says daughter Laura Lee.

Over the next several months, Harlan signed on for multiple services...
including detoxifying foot baths for 65 dollars each, multiple sessions in the hyberbaric oxygen chamber - at 35 dollars each, saliva analysis - 50 dollars...
a retreat, including colon cleansing, 600 dollars, and Harlan spent hundreds on wellhouse brand herbs, oils, and moisturizers. In less than four months, she had spent more than 8 thousand dollars out of pocket. Daughter Laura says - it was worth it.

"My husband and I told her, Mom if this is what you want to do, we support you. you're seeing progress, you're feeling better." Lee says. She documented her mother's progress and says her mother's leg ulcer was healing, and her spirits were improving.

But not all of Betty Harlan's family members were so enthusiastic. Laura's sister Linda Harlan Post says her mother stopped taking all of her doctor prescribed medications and believed her leaky heart valve was healed - and her diabetes - was gone.

"We tried to encourage her to see someone else just for peace of mind for the family and she basically told us this was working and really to stay out of it." Post says. She believed her mother's health problems were getting worse.

On May 9th, Betty Harlan died.

"The day she passed away, she had come home from treatment in a wheelchair. She wasn't able to stand on her own." Post says.

Since there was no autopsy, there is no way to know exactly what caused Harlan's death, but her vascular surgeon, who last saw her a month before she died, says she didn't look good. Dr. Bill Evans of Wisconsin Heart says Harlan looked bloated and the ulcer appeared infected. He, in part, blamed the lack of medication.

"I expressed to her at length that that her leg did not appear to be making much progress, that she appeared to be much more swollen all over, she didn;t appear to have control over her fluid balance, and I shared with her that some of her previous medications that no longer taking those how they could be adversely affecting her." Dr. Evans says.

He says Harlan told him, on the advice of a new "quote" doctor... she was taking herbs instead.

Renee Welhouse tells 27 news she would never tell a patient to go against their Doctor's advice, and stop taking medications, even though she believes many medications contain toxins that taken in the long term, can be detrimental to your health.

"I do not diagnose, treat or cure anybody.that is strictly for the medical community. I am a classic, traditional naturopath." Says Welhouse. She is the Wellhouse center founder, and herself a cancer survivor.

At the Center, Welhouse told us of several cases of female clients who she claims showed significant improvement from breast cancer, by following her advice, and changing their lifestyle.

Still, Welhouse says she does not cure.

"If people made lifestyle changes and they get better - i just consider it a gift from God." Welhouse says. She admits, much of her schooling is by correspondence course, but according to the state, naturopathic doctors don't need any training at all.

"Naturopaths are not licensed by the state." Says Eric Callisto of the Department of Regulation and Licensing. He says they have investigated the Wellhouse Center 11 times in 13 years for allegations of fraud and practicing medicine without a license, but no action was taken.

"For the most part, the practitioners in this area are fairly well-versed in the law and recognize where that line is and where they can cross it and more importantly when they can't cross it." Callisto said.

He declined to say whether the Wellhouse Center is currently being investigated, but said for a Naturopath to tell a client to stop taking prescribed medications would probably be crossing the line into practicing medicine.

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